The winter can be a difficult time for all parents, and especially for parents of children with special needs. Finding a way to keep children entertained when the weather outside is cold and icy is no small task. As such, we have put together a list of winter activities for children with Cerebral Palsy as an idea-starter for our parents, and we’d welcome any suggestions you might have as well!
Note: not all children with Cerebral Palsy will be able to manage each of these activities. Our goal is to provide low-barrier activities for children with Cerebral Palsy that we hope many parents can build from or implement today.
Start a Family Reading Club! Reading is the easy fallback for any parent looking for quiet time and can be a great way to motivate multiple children in your home. While children with Cerebral Palsy can experience a wide variation in their reading levels, the core goal is to suggest activities that involve reading or listening to someone else that may be reading. Whether using a tablet or a book, challenge each member of the family to reading goals suited to their ‘level’ and see how far you’ve come as a team when the cold weather disappears.
Create a Workshop. Modern Mom has a great suggestion that can make for fun winter activities for children with Cerebral Palsy: use Styrofoam with golf tees to allow for simple, effective ‘building’ that may be easier for your child if they have limited motor function. Building block toys, again depending on your child’s limitations, are a great way to explore different ideas, day in and day out.
Story Building. While it may not seem like it at first, a lot is going on outside your window. Ask your child to describe what they see or even take notes, if possible, on what takes place for a block of time and then create a story about what was “actually going on” for the dinner table. This simple winter activity will have value in building their creativity, self-esteem and confidence, as well as attention to detail, and more.
Recreation Centers. Here is a list of recreation efforts for people with limitations in Massachusetts– check and see if there are any options in your area!
Holiday Celebrations (Months in Advance!) Getting your child to make cards when holidays come around may be difficult, which means making them in advance can be a creative way to pre-plan those greetings. Depending on your child’s motor control, here are a few different techniques that can help them get into the fun. Have your child begin designing different birthday cards and other fun events and make them with different supplies – your friends and family will appreciate the time it took and your child won’t feel pressured to do something on the day immediately before the big event!
Weather Forecasting. Getting your child interested in the weather can be a great way to build confidence and make them the most knowledgeable kid on the block! Whether through surfing the Internet, reading the newspaper, researching weather trends or just keeping an eye out for what’s going on outside, asking your child to provide a weather update to whatever extent they may be able makes each day an opportunity for your child to be a weather expert.
These are just a few ideas for winter activities for children with Cerebral Palsy and we welcome your suggestions. How do you keep your child busy when the weather turns cold?