skip to Main Content

Fun and entertainment, all in order:
Summer Tips

As a special education specialist with over 10 years at the SKILD Center and a mom of two myself, I know summers can be a rollercoaster for families with children who have special needs and behavioral challenges. School routines are disrupted, parents might be working longer hours, and the pressure to entertain and engage everyone can feel overwhelming. But fear not! Here’s how to navigate this break with flying colors, even on a tight budget.

Why Structure Matters:

Let’s be honest, leaving kids to their own devices often leads to meltdowns and frustration. Children with special needs often thrive on structure and predictability. Without it, anxieties can rise, leading to behavioral challenges. So, how do we create structure without breaking the bank?

Planning is Key:

  • Schedule Time: Dedicate specific times for activities, even if it’s just an hour of reading or going to the park. Consistency is key!
  • Visual Aids: Create visual schedules using pictures or simple words to help your child anticipate the day’s flow.
  • Themed Weeks: Pick a different theme each week – “Ocean Week” with sensory activities and documentaries, “Jungle Week” with a zoo trip and building a “jungle gym” at home.

Free & Fun Activities:

Embrace the Outdoors

  • Park Adventures: Pack a picnic lunch and head to the park for fresh air and play. Many parks have dedicated areas for children with special needs.
  • Sensory Walks: Explore nature! Find different textures, listen to sounds, and smell flowers. Talk about what your child experiences.
  • Backyard Games: Organize scavenger hunts or play catch with a beach ball (modify the game for your child’s abilities).

Creative Activities:

  • DIY Crafts: Use recyclable materials to create art projects. Get inspiration online for low-cost ideas.
  • Themed Baking: Bake cookies based on your weekly theme. Let your child help with mixing and decorating!
  • Board Games with a Twist: Adapt board games for your child’s needs. Use visual cues, shorten playtime, or create a simpler version.

Remember, You’re Not Alone:

  • Community Centers: Many offer free or low-cost summer programs for children with special needs.
  • Local Libraries: Libraries often have story time activities and reading programs designed for children with special needs.
  • Support Groups: Connect with other families for emotional support and ideas.

Self-Care is Crucial:

Taking care of yourself is vital. Schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes to relax. Remember, a happy parent equals a happier child.

Embrace the Journey:

Summer vacation with a special needs child is an adventure. There will be bumps along the road, but with a little planning and creativity, you can create lasting memories and foster your child’s development. So, relax, have fun, and enjoy this precious time together!

Taking care of yourself is vital. Schedule time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes to relax. Remember, a happy parent equals a happier child.




Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Reach out to teachers, therapists, or support groups for suggestions and resources. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Finally, as the summer unfolds, remember to celebrate the small victories. Maybe your child tries a new food during a themed baking session, or perhaps they complete a scavenger hunt with newfound confidence. These moments of growth and joy are what make summer with your special needs child truly special.

Jenny Safi

Jenny is a Special Education Coordinator with a passion for ensuring children with learning difficulties can thrive in school. She adapts curriculum materials to meet their individual needs. Jenny holds a Teaching Diploma in Special Education from St. Joseph University and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in the same field, demonstrating her ongoing commitment to professional development. In her pursuit of knowledge, she has also participated in workshops at the Center for Educational Research and Development. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys activities like cooking and swimming.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
×Close search