Changes in seasons bring along changes in weather, which means there are always new, fun wheelchair activities for kids. Spring allows for gardening and playing outside. Summer gives you beach activities and fun in the sun. Fall is enjoyable for everyone with baking or playing in leaves. Winter keeps us inside with board games and crafts, with the occasional snow adventure.
Five fabulous wheelchair activities for kids to do that can be adapted throughout the year, no matter what the weather
- Make some homemade play dough. Many recipes can be found online. Most are plain, but they can be changed through the addition of food coloring. You can think of ways to put a seasonal twist on this activity by using colors or mix-ins that coordinate with your holiday activities. Here is a good recipe that is easy to adapt. After you are done playing with the dough, you can turn it into Oobleck by adding water. Kids love the way this feels, but it does make a bit of a mess!
- Do some art with natural seasonal materials. In the spring, look for flowers you can press or dry to use in projects such as this bookmark craft for kids. In the summer, try collecting sand at the beach to use for sand art. In the fall, you can collect leaves to make crafts. Leaves are very versatile and can be used in many different ways. Here’s an article on 15 different crafts you can make with leaves.
- Make a Wreath. This kind of wreath doesn’t involve wire or special arranging skills. All you need are some natural materials, a paper plate, and glue. You can use leaves in the fall, flowers and grasses in the spring and summer, or evergreens in the winter. Before starting, go for a treasure hunt outside to look for the best materials to use on your wreath. Then your child can use their imagination to create a fantastic decoration without ever having to leave their chair. This craft is so simple that even very young children can do it with little help.
- Go on an excursion. What exciting destinations are near enough for you to travel to? Choose your destination according to the weather. When temperatures are nice, take a day trip to an outdoor historical site, or a local farm. Some farms may offer special dairy and sheep tours. Outdoor theater is another enjoyable activity when the weather is right. Colder months may be better for visiting indoor sites, such as museums, science centers, or local businesses and factories that allow for tours. Always call ahead to find out how accessible the sites will be, and if your wheelchair user will be able to see most of the attractions.
- Make an outside fort that has a secret path. Children love to make secret hideouts and secret paths. Find an accessible area of your yard and provide whatever materials your child might need for constructing a play area. Cardboard, branches, chairs, and blankets can all be used. If it’s winter, you could build up a wall of snow and dig out a secret path. Depending on your child’s mobility, you may have to help them set up the fort and then allow them to play inside it. If it’s fall, and you have to rake your backyard leaves anyway, you can use them to make a maze that is as simple or tricky as you want. The only consideration would be how difficult it is to maneuver over your ground. Not only is it fun to build an outside fort, but it’s also good exercise for both the body and the mind.
Besides these unique activities, there are many common wheelchair activities for kids that you can adapt for the season. Any seated art project can be changed to use seasonal colors or materials. Simple board games, such as checkers, can have the pieces replaced by acorns and corn kernels, sea glass or seashells. Cooking activities can have a theme by using recipes that include seasonal produce or are specific to holidays.
So go out and have some family fun with your child. Being a wheelchair user is no reason for them to miss out on the traditions and activities we all love to do, no matter what time of year!
Author: Annie Beth Donahue is a professional writer with a health and disability focus. You can find her at www.anniebethdonahue.com