Like it or not, in most areas, the long summer break from school is just a few short weeks away! 

This break from the regular routine of the school year can wreak havoc on any family, but the struggle is even more real for special needs families.

Just when our special kids are finally getting used to following their school year routines, along comes summer to throw a monkey wrench into their plans!

Many families dread the idea of the long summer holiday.

It's not because they don't love and enjoy being with their kids!

It's simply because they don't know what to do to keep their kids happily occupied all day, every day, for days on end!

 

If  you are the parent of a child with special needs who is dreading the upcoming summer vacation, I'd like to make the following suggestions that may put your mind at ease and reduce your anxiety just a little . . .

> If you think your special needs child would be better off without such a long break from their school routine, check to see if your school district offers extended school year services for kids with disabilities.

> Many areas have day camps or even overnight camps designed especially for children with special needs, so check with your local and national disability organizations to see what programs might be available where you live!

> Check with your local playgrounds and parks to see if they offer summer programs your child may be able to attend.

> Establish a regular summer time routine similar to your child's school year routine and stick to it!

 

For those at a loss of things to do with your child this coming summer, I'd like to offer the  following ideas for fun activities you might like to include in your summer time routine!

- Make Garden stones. There are all kinds of simple and easy kits available online and at most craft stores.

- Set up a nature scavenger hunt.  Have your child look for items such as: pine cones, feathers, sticks, flowers, and rocks. There are so many things your child can look for outside.

- Set up an obstacle course indoors or out!

- If you're worried your child might lose the academic skills he worked so hard to achieve during the school year, purchase some educational materials and “play” school with your child for an hour every day!

- Purchase several paint brushes of different sizes then fill a bucket with water and let your child “paint” the house!

- Draw with sidewalk chalk.

- Take your child on a nature hike.

- Start a leaf collection.

- Purchase a flower press and start a flower collection.

- Dig for fossils in the back yard!

- Build a fairy house.

- Take regular trips to the library.

- Join the library reading program.

- Make a nature collage.

- Grow a mini garden or container garden.

- Set up an outdoor sloppy sensory station. Include containers of shaving cream, pudding, cooked spaghetti, rice, beans, finger paints, mud, sand, and jello!

- Check with your local parks for free outdoor concerts.

- Take regular trips to the park or playground

- Set up the sprinkler then run through it to cool off!

- Set up regular play dates with friends.

- Set up your own backyard Olympics activities!

- Look for and identify bugs

- Go bird watching

- Visit your local pool.

- Plan a few days at the beach.

I hope this list gets you off to a good start and sparks your own imagination in keeping your child happily engaged, occupied, and learning this summer!

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