Winter months can seem excessively long, and a lack of sunshine can bring out feelings of sadness and frustration. The season can become even more challenging when one or more of your children are developmentally disabled. Research shows that children with disabilities, especially girls, participate in a narrower variety of activities that involve fewer social interactions on their own than boys.
That is why finding indoor activities for children during the winter can play an important role in everyone’s mental health. The type of activities you choose for your children will, to a large extent, depend on their type of developmental disability. In fact, you may want to contact child disability services in Little Rock to help you discover different winter activities that you may have not considered before.
At Integrity, we understand that each child is unique; choosing activities for your child requires consideration, not only of their disability, but of their own individual tastes. That is why we provide treatment in Little Rock to help you choose toys and games that perfectly match your child’s intellectual level.
Finding the Perfect Activities
As previously mentioned, each child is unique; what is fun and engaging for one child may not be so for yours. However, we at Integrity have found that the following activities are great places to start. Consider these indoor activities when planning for winter fun with your child, and meet with one of our developmental specialists to see which activities are a perfect fit for your child.
Puzzles and Games with Large Pieces
Puzzles help children improve fine motor skills, coordination, and manual dexterity. Puzzles can also help develop upper body strength while improving problem-solving skills. When you choose puzzles and games with large pieces, it is important to use puzzles that are intellectually appropriate to the child.
Building blocks can be interacted with in a number of ways. They can build coordination and motor skills, but you can also use them to hone your child’s ability to decipher shapes and colors, if your child is young intellectually.
Building— With things Other Than
Children always love building forts where they can hide out. Depending on how creative you want to be with this, you can start out with pillow forts, or even build a secret room in the house, with secret treasures for your child to play with. Even setting up a sandbox in the basement, and then building sand castles after an afternoon of reviewing sandcastle pictures in a book, can be a source of skill building and problem-solving.
Musical instruments help your child stimulate both sides of the brain, which is especially important for children with intellectual disabilities. Allowing your child to create songs and perform them develops social skills, and the ability to discern between different sounds.
This one is an easy game for children, since you can modify it to fit what they know. For example, a memory test for adults might include questions such as “who are the five most recent presidents;” “what did you eat for breakfast yesterday;” or “what are the last five things you did regarding _______?” For children, the former two questions would be outside their realm of experience, and the latter one would not seem important.
You can modify the game by putting items in a lunch box or a refrigerator or freezer, and then asking the child to recall what you put in there. This would be a lot more relevant to a child, because he/she would be thinking about eating that food later on.
To make things a bit more challenging, ask the child which items were on the top shelf of the freezer, as well as the second and third shelf. Then, to increase the difficulty level for older children, ask how many portion sizes were associated with each freezer item.
Setting Up a Schedule
Indoor activities can be carefully planned out as a way to rapidly progress a child’s skills, especially when conducted with friends. For example, for one week, you could plan activities based on building skills. The key here is to focus solely on building skills for the entire week. You might start out by showing your child books on what they can construct with building blocks, which will spark their imagination. A few hours later, bring out the building blocks and see what they create.
On Day 2, review the books with the child and let them enhance their creation, or even build a new one.
Repeat the process for Day 3.
On Day 4, switch the building project to the sandbox for sandcastles. You might even watch some Youtube videos showing how it is done. Take plenty of photos along the way! These activities will be a fond memory you and your child will look back on for years to come. You might even call up friends to come over, and showcase your child’s architectural creations. Showcases like these can be loads of fun, and help develop social skills! More importantly, children with disabilities will feel that they are included.
On Day 5, invite some friends over to create to enhance each other’s sandcastles. This will allow your child to accept other people’s input and consider its validity to enhance their own work. Take additional photos that day, and go back to the books or videos for further instruction. Let your child’s process everything that happened today, and go to bed happy.
When Day 6 comes, it is time to create a new sandcastle in the basement. This one should be the best yet. Take plenty of photos, and consider inviting over family members and guests to share in the success.
Day 7 is a day off!
For Week 2, you can ask your child if they want more sandcastle time or building block time. If not, select another type of game that focuses on new skills. Remember that the brain loves to immerse itself in a subject matter and go deep in its synapse building, even for disabled children. If your child wants to do nothing but build all winter long, it will still be a great, productive winter.
Our child disability services in Little Rock can help you create some of the best plans for your family this winter. Contact us at Integrity today to learn more about intellectual disability treatment in Little Rock. We are here to help when you need clear strategies for your developmentally disabled children.