FUNtastic Summer Activities for Everyone in Your Crew
Summer is here, and that means outdoor fun. However, when you have children — especially when your family or social circle is comprised of both children with disabilities and those without — you may need to get creative to ensure that everyone has a good time. Fortunately, all it takes is a bit of creativity to get the job done. Keep reading for a few fun summer activities.
Before you begin any endeavor, it pays to prioritize safety. This is especially critical if you have a backyard swimming pool, as an average of 200 children lose their lives each year to drowning accidents. Make sure your pool is equipped with an alarm. Next, Angie’s List recommends a four-foot fence and gate with a self-closing latch. In many areas, all three of these will be required by your local city codes. In addition to the pool, your outdoor entertaining areas will be more comfortable if you take steps to reduce mosquitoes and other pests. Before having a group of people over, make sure to dump out any standing water and use a natural repellent, such as lemon eucalyptus oil, around the yard. Finally, make sure everyone understands the rules of whatever activity you plan to do, which will lessen the chances of an injury.
Now, onto the fun.
Fun In and Out of the sun
One of the best parts about summer is that you can spend much of your time outside. And if you are crafty, you can make your own backyard game room out of a few simple materials, including empty soda bottles, wooden cubes, and cardboard.
Backyard Yahtzee is one great example. A five-gallon bucket and five wooden cubes painted like dice can lead to an afternoon of family fun. Yahtzee is a wonderful game for children of all abilities, and even those with limited mobility will enjoy watching their friends and same-age family members scramble to help retrieve their cubes. Giant Scrabble is another option. Simply take 100 wooden or cardboard tiles, add letters, and find a flat spot to draw a board.
When it’s time to take a break from the heat, head indoors and straight to the LEGO bin. Earth Science Jr. notes that LEGOs can help children work on their creativity and problem-solving skills. Children with autism are especially drawn to building blocks since it allows them to maintain a sense of control over their toys.
If you’ve taken proper steps to secure your swimming pool, it will no doubt become the center of your outdoor activities. It is one of the few activities that most children can participate in on the same level. MyHandicap.com notes that swimming is a great way to strengthen the limbs and has a positive therapeutic and psychological effect on people with disabilities. Make sure that you have flotation devices available for children of all sizes and abilities, and never leave minors unsupervised. A backyard water slide is another option for hours of entertainment using your water hose if you do not have a swimming pool available. For about $60 (American dollars), you can get everything you need at your local hardware store, including a heavy plastic sheeting, garden staples, and a sprinkler. A water slide can be used at each child’s own pace, and those who are a bit more adventurous might even enjoy racing down using baby shampoo to speed things along.
While this is not a comprehensive list of all the possibilities that summer holds, it’s a good start, and might lead you to come up with other ideas that will entertain everyone in your entourage.
Text: Jenny Wise