Great Summer Activities for Children Who Have Mobility Limitations


While many parents celebrate the beginning of summer and enjoy outdoor activities and outings with their kids, if your family is anything like mine and you parent a child a physical disability, finding accessible activities can be a challenge.

We have been in situations where there is no ramp or elevator to access an event. We have attended events where the people planning seemed frazzled when “the kid in a wheelchair” showed up. We have even visited “accessible” playgrounds to find out they had a “special needs” swing and called the playground “accessible” when it wasn’t.

I don’t want my daughter to feel left out. I want her to have an enjoyable summer and feel like she got to enjoy her summer months as much as any other kid. It’s not as easy to find activities that fit our family, but we have found some solutions that work for us.

Here at The Mighty, we often get parents asking us for summer activity ideas for their children with mobility limitations. So we reached out to our community and asked what has worked for them.

 

“A group in Massachusetts runs a beach wheelchair program. They supply chairs that can go over sand and into the water at numerous beaches in MA, southern New Hampshire and southern Maine. You can also borrow them to take with you on a trip. Most National Parks are wheelchair accessible to some degree via either boardwalks (woods, swamps, etc) or mats (for sand).” — Peg D.

“Our local library has a great story hour once a week that we go to, and they make a craft after the stories have been read. We also have a great Splash Pad near us that my daughter enjoys because she can sit and splash in the water and still interact with other kids. Our family also does a fun activity every Friday in the summer. We go visit a fun place together — tour of chocolate factory, riverboat cruise, art museum, etc.” — Ali D

“Our local indoor ice skating rink allows wheelchairs on the ice with an adult pushing them. It’s a great activity for my daughter and her sister to get to participate in together!” — Andrea LB

 

“My boys and I have been going on road trips this summer. Saw a few lighthouses and even a castle. We also do Vacation Bible School.” — Jessica B

“Most bowling alleys have a ramp for the bowling ball they can use from their chair. Good for smaller children without mobility issues, too. Splash pads are fun. I have hooked up a regular yard sprinkler somewhere paved for the kids to play in also, for a free option.” — Martha K

“Pick one night a week for ice cream night. Find local ice cream stands in your area and go to a different one each week. It makes ice cream a special event and something to look forward to.” — Peg D

“We love roller skating (via wheelchair) and bowling with ramps. Also walks to the ice cream shop and playing at the universal playground.” — Sarah F

“Swimming is our favorite.” — Jennifer S

One more thing to consider are the many camps available for kids with disabilities. There are some camps specifically designed for kids with physical disabilities. One of the best parts of camps like these is the connections our kids make to other kids who are like them, and spending time with kids their age from within their disability community.

I also learned most Park & Recreation Departments have programs for kids with mobility issues. They also provide the supports needed to make sure kids are included in their activities. I think I will be checking that out!

What activities does your child with a physical disability enjoys doing during the summer? Or, if you are an adult with a physical disability, what advice would you give to parents? Let us know in the comments below.

Thinkstock image by jarenwicklund

Great Summer Activities for Children Who Have Mobility Limitations

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to General Parenting

29 Secrets of Parents of Kids With Disabilities and Medical Needs

Parenting can be a joy and a challenge. No matter how much we love our kids, there are always good and bad days, and when you parent a child with a disability, the lows can feel really low, and the highs can feel really high. Sometimes we might wonder, “Does anyone understand what it feels [...]

A Letter to Moms Who Doubt They Are Loved

There are visions in my head of how life should be. I wonder if we all have them, the endless thoughts. When I wake up I have them, before I go to bed I have them. How is life going? Is it all I hoped it would be? What do my children think of me as [...]

It’s Not OK to Vilify a Child When You Don't Know Their Story

A Mama Bear shared on social media her young daughter hadn’t been herself for a few weeks and she finally found the reason why. Her child’s schoolmate had been seeking her out and saying unkind things to her. Mama Bear was rightfully concerned and contacted her daughter’s teacher. Many people responded with supportive comments for [...]

To All Our Dads...

The Mighty gives a shout-out to all the dads in our lives. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_kmr06N89_F962XJnx_div').setup( {"playlist":"https:\/\/content.jwplatform.com\/feeds\/kmr06N89.json","ph":2} ); Read the full transcript: Somewhere right now, a dad is sitting at a computer, ferociously crunching numbers, wondering what insurance will cover.  Another is Googling the name of a disorder even doctors have trouble pronouncing. One dad is preparing for an IEP [...]