Are you looking for fun ways that your special needs child can stay safe, gain confidence, and build their strength and fitness as well? According to the University of Rochester, a weekly workout routine can improve social skills, self-esteem, cognitive health, and more.
Read on for our top nine best activities for special needs kids to improve their fitness have fun!
1. Consider Their Interests
In order to make fitness fun, consider everything your child enjoys doing and incorporate those activities or hobbies into the workout. For instance, if your child loves to sing and dance, consider incorporating music and dancing. If your child loves certain stuffed animals, have them sit on a bench as the "audience."
By incorporating what they enjoy into the activity in small ways, you'll make it feel far more familiar and fun. If you're feeling overwhelmed, there are also essential tips that every special needs parent should know.
Jumping can be an easy way to motivate your child to get active and also have a ton of fun. It's also great for cardio for special needs children. Get some music going and do jumping jacks with your child. You can also invest in a mini trampoline to make it even more fun.
You can also layout a rug with letters and encourage your child to jump on the letters to spell out their name and other words. If you have a rug with pictures, have them jump on certain pictures and make a game out of it.
Twister is another great way to incorporate fun visuals and activities into a workout for your child as well as making fitness fun. It acts almost like an introduction to yoga as you hold uncomfortable positions.
The newer game also includes instructions like "hop on one foot" or "hold your hand in the air." You're also able to write in your own activities onto the spinner.
If your child doesn't have a fear of water, swimming may be a wonderful way to encourage them to get more active as well as to have fun. With some goggles and a few hoops or toys, diving for them in deeper water is both fun and challenging. You can also do laps with your child or play games like Marco Polo.
Swimming can even be as simple as tossing a ball back and forth in deeper water–it still takes a lot of energy and control to hold your body up!
Skateboarding, rolling blading, or bike riding are all fun ways to get to know your local area, enjoy nature, and also get in some cardio all at the same time. If your child has never ridden a bike or skated, they'll also be practicing a new activity that can help them significantly build their confidence over time.
Bike riding is an especially great activity for when they're older and you want to help them build their independence.
Everyone loves a good game of tag–the time passes quickly because it feels more like a game than a workout! Go to your favorite local park or backyard when the weather is nice and have a nice round of tag.
Since you'll be sprinting around, you'll find you get tired out fast, so feel free to intersperse the game with some swimming breaks or a leisurely bike ride.
Dance is one of the best ways to get a good workout in, have fun, and bond with your child! You can both enjoy upbeat music that your child likes while dancing together or having a dance-off. Consider Zumba or even other forms of dance, such as:
There may even be dance studios in your area that specialize in teaching special needs children. They'll be able to meet your child at whatever skill level they are so that they can have fun and learn something new at the same time.
8. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding may seem dangerous if you're not used to being around horses, but many horses are gentle giants. Stables that offer horseback riding for children also train their horses and choose those with gentle temperaments who don't spook easily.
Remember that they're not going to set your child on a horse and have them gallop away. Programs such as equine therapy focus first on getting the child used to the horse and how to balance properly. A skilled professional will be holding the horse while they walk slowly in a circle.
Equine therapy has a number of great benefits, such as:
- Confidence building
- Strength building
- Developing muscle tone
- Developing coordination
- Speech development
- Social skills development
If your special needs child already loves animals, this may be the perfect activity for them!
9. Individual Sports
Last but not least, sports for special needs kids are a wonderful way to build your child's fitness levels while also helping them build their confidence. This is because they'll be learning a new, enjoyable skill that they can take with them throughout adulthood.
Consider their interests and abilities and choose sports that suit them the best. These can be:
- Martial arts
- Track and field
Individual sports are great because they're measuring their ability based on their own best outcomes.
Improving Fitness for Special Needs Kids
When it comes to improving the fitness levels for special needs kids, the most important takeaway is to pay attention to their own interests first.
Even though you may think swimming or golfing may be great activities, if your child isn't enjoying themselves then you'll need to find an activity that suits them better!
The comfort and enjoyment of your child come first. Ready to enjoy more fun activities with your child? Browse our collection of products today!