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Fun Summer Activities for Families with Special Needs

With the sun shining, birds chirping, and light breeze making the tree branches dance, it can be tough to keep your child indoors. Summer is finally here and your child has a lot of extra free-time to enjoy with you and their friends. The challenge is balancing family fun time with your adult responsibilities. It can be even more difficult planning fun family activities when your child is on the Autism Spectrum because of the added stressors but, we also know that it’s even more important for children with special needs to stay active and engaged in a routine. When that routine is disrupted, by summer or otherwise, it can be upsetting and difficult to readjust. To help with that readjustment we’ve compiled a list of fun family activities for families with special needs:

To keep with a routine, you can plan out activities by days of the week. That way your child always knows what’s coming up and nothing is sprung on them. You can also make each day something that can be done inside or outside in case of rain. Here are some suggestions for activities by days of the week:


Studying Safety on Sunday:

  • Teach your child important information in the event of an emergency like:
    • Your child’s full name
    • Your full name
    • Your street address and phone number
    • Go for a walk and help your child memorize streets nearby your home
    • Learn safety precautions for summer storms (tornado, rainstorm, fire, etc.)
  • Play hide-and-seek and teach your child to stay calm while you’re searching
  • Start swimming lessons
  • Learn how to cross the street safely
  • Practice asking for help with things that hot, sharp, or too high to reach


Mostly Home-Made on Monday:

  • Make a scrapbook page each Monday and at the end of the summer you’ll have an entire scrapbook!
  • Make dinner from scratch together
  • Take a class on pottery
  • Paint pictures outside
  • Go on a scavenger hunt and make something from the materials you find
  • Plant a small garden that you can watch grow all summer
  • Build a bird-feeder or fill up a hummingbird feeder and enjoy watching the wildlife from your window


Take a Reading Break on Tuesday:

  • Sign up for your local library’s summer reading program
  • Read a book together in a new location each Tuesday—under a tree, in a home-made fort, at a park. Pick places your child will enjoy
  • Make up a story together and write a few pages then have your child illustrate them
  • Have a book swap with friends
  • Start a book club for your child and their friends
  • Pick a new topic each week and find books about that topic


Water Time Wednesday:

  • Visit a local pool
  • Go to the beach
  • Play in the sprinkler
  • Make sailboats and turn your bathtub into a lake
  • Give the dog a bath
  • Splash in the rain
  • Go fishing
  • Go to the car wash


Get Thoughtful on Thursday:

  • Write a letter to a relative
  • Call someone just to say hello
  • Write a thank-you letter and mail it
  • Volunteer somewhere or donate things to charity
  • Pick up trash at the local park
  • Cook a special dinner for a sibling or parent

Field-Trip Friday:

  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to a movie
  • Go to a museum
  • Go to the park
  • Take a weekend trip somewhere
  • Go to a friend’s house


Social Saturday:

  • Practice social skills and expressing feelings
  • Ask family members the same question then share the answers
  • Practice making facial expressions based on emotions—mad face, silly face, sad face, disgusted face etc.
  • Look at pictures and have your child pick out the people in them
  • Look at pictures of people you don’t know and have your child invent stories for them
  • Introduce yourself to someone and have your child do the same

The most important thing is developing a routine. These ideas can be a starting point. You know your child better than anyone else so pick things that your child will enjoy but that will still be challenging. Enjoy the warm weather and make some memories!

The post Fun Summer Activities for Families with Special Needs appeared first on Chubuddy.

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