Who doesn’t love the crisp freshness of spring? The upward turn in weather and ripening of nature sets the perfect scene for springtime activities for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Nature is important for mental and physical health upkeep. Research has shown that access to green space, fresh air, and natural surroundings decreases stress levels, enhances physical fitness, and lifts mood.
So, now is the perfect time for you and your child or supported adult to get outdoors and immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings within your community. No matter where you live or what ability you or your child has, we guarantee that you’ll find a fun activity in our list below.
Springtime Activities for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities
1. Create a Sensory Collage
Using multimedia allows children and adults with developmental disabilities to experience a range of textures, colors, and shapes. To make your collage, collect a variety of materials that represent spring. You might like to include:
- Different colored leaves
- Woodland flowers
- Egg shells
You can also use pens, paint, and pencils to create pictures of springtime—whatever that means to you personally. Children and adults with developmental disabilities can participate at any ability level, whether supported or independent. The end result? A beautiful sensory collage that delights everyone who sees it.
2. Go on a Nature Trail
Hiking (or even just a brisk walk) can do mental and physical health a world of good. A nature trail through the woods, over a hill top, or just around the corner at the local park can brighten everyone’s spirits. This activity can also be enjoyed by children and adults with developmental disabilities, and it is one of our favorite springtime activities for its simplicity. To make the event more enjoyable, take a camera and try to capture the essence of springtime, or collect a basket of springtime items to use in an art project or sensory bin. Perhaps even try taking a bicycle, scooter, or skateboard, as these can help to improve gross motor skills, too!
3. Have a Water Fight
On a warmer day, get your heart racing by enjoying some fun time in the great outdoors. You can play and cool off at the same time, using Super Soakers, water balloons, a hose, or a sprinkler to get each other totally drenched. This springtime activity for children and adults with developmental disabilities is simple, cheap, and bound to draw some laughter.
4. Make Easter Snacks
Springtime is always accompanied by Easter, which is the perfect opportunity to bake a chocolate feast. Simple chocolate rice cakes or hot cross buns can be a fabulous way to spend time together and learn a new skill. Cooking can also be a great way to experience new tastes and textures. If your child or supported adult has autism, it can help them to overcome sensory challenges. It’s also great for teenagers who need to acquire life skills before moving into more independent living.
5. Wash a Car
Both children and adults with developmental disabilities can enjoy the process of washing a car by hand. Using a big bucket of soapy water, a sponge, and a hose, you can have fun getting wet while using logical thinking to get the car clean—and why stop there? Turning this activity into a car-wash fundraiser can help you to raise money for charity while learning new life skills and interacting with the general public.
6. Plant Vegetables
Learning how to grow a vegetable can be an empowering experience, and what better time than springtime to sow a few onions, tomatoes, and potatoes! Find a plot of land and teach your child or supported adult with developmental disabilities to plant a seed, cover it in soil, water it, and watch it grow over the next few weeks. Once harvest arrives, you can all enjoy a meal with your freshly grown veg.
This activity provides so many health and skill-building benefits: fine and gross motor skills are improved with the digging, watering, and handling of plants; communication between team members is built upon through the teaching/learning process; and gardening is physically quite demanding, so it helps retain a healthy weight and energy level. All of these benefits (and more) can help in your child’s or supported adult’s growth toward independence—and can give them a good dose of fun, too.
7. Visit a Farm or Nature Reserve
During spring, many animals are giving birth to their babies. What could be more wonderful than visiting newborn lambs, chicks, or even more exotic wildlife? Depending on what’s near you, there may be many opportunities to learn about nature and how animals breed. You may even be able to feed the baby animals or attend a talk on how they are cared for. To make it an educational trip, try learning certain facts about the different animals as you explore.
There is no end to what you can do during springtime. However, it’s also good to consider these important rules before committing to any particular springtime activity:
- Always ensure that any sensory sensitivities are considered. For example, if you’re organizing crafts for the developmentally disabled, remove or minimize any objects that might trigger a negative response.
- Ask your children and adults with developmental disabilities what they’d like to do. Give them a choice out of two or three activities; this way, they feel a sense of ownership over the task and are more likely to engage with it.
- Ensure safety measures are taken when venturing outside. Have the right clothing, equipment, and maps if you’re going into the woods. Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you’re expected to return.
We Can Help
We love coming up with ideas for crafts and activities for the developmentally disabled, as well as their families and caretakers. Our adult day programs are designed to stimulate and educate people with disabilities, and they include a whole range of fantastic activities. If you would like to learn more about receiving support for your loved one, get in touch with us today. One of our friendly team members will be glad to point you in the right direction!