For a child 🧒, every experience is a new experience, and that can be terrifying. As a parent, we are meant to assist them with simple tasks and make sure that they acquire these skills as they go.
But for children 🧒 with physical and mental disabilities, making friends or properly being able to communicate their feelings can be tough, especially with the social stigma surrounding their disabilities.
As a society, we must ensure that children with disabilities deserve the right to get a proper education and a chance to play sports and games that accommodate their disability. Adaptive physical education caters to the needs of children with special needs.
It includes a wide range of sports, games, and exercises that kids 🧒 can participate in and get proper exercise.
Fascinating APE Activities for Kids
It is mandatory for public schools to come up with a separate physical education curriculum that accommodates the needs of differently-abled students.
You can also make sure that your child 🧒 is getting their share of physical activity by understanding your child’s disability, modifying activities to make them safe for your child, using the appropriate equipment to teach them the activity, and making the activities challenging yet achievable.
Hopefully, you are successfully able to engage your child in the following physical activities.
All the kids love to dance. But did you know that dancing 💃is a great form of aerobic activity? Dancing regularly, even if it is for 10 to 20 minutes every day, can improve cardiovascular health, increase lung capacity, and strengthen muscles.
To encourage your kids to dance, play their favorite songs and ask them to move their arms, legs, head, and torso around.
You can also teach your child choreography, use visual cues for visually impaired children 🧒, and increase the length of time for dancing 💃 every turn.
Practice your child’s aim and improve their hand-eye coordination with this fun game.
Set different-sized hula hoops at different distances around your backyard. Hand your child a ball or a bean bag and ask them to toss it in the hula hoops.
This is an incredibly engaging and competitive game that can be played by a lot of children🧒with varying levels of disabilities.
This game requires at least ten people and can be played sitting up or standing down. The purpose of this game is to develop camaraderie and team spirit amongst the participants.
To play the game, divide the ten people into two groups and make them stand in a line parallel to one another. Hand the ball to two people on one end of the line.
They must pass the ball to the people standing next to them without the ball ever touching the ground. Participants will need to extend the length of the corridor by going back to the back of the line. This game is super fun for young children 🧒.
Balloon dodgeball is the perfect game for children 🧒 with poor hand-eye coordination and children in wheelchairs. To play the game, divide the group of children into two equal teams and give them a bunch of blown-up balloons.
The objective of the game is to hit the opponents of the other team with balloons whilst simultaneously protecting yourself from getting hit. The team that is successfully able to hit all of the players of the other wins the game.
Increase or decrease the time of gameplay depending on the children’s level of enjoyment.
Seated Knee Raises
The seated knee raises is a wonderful exercise for children 🧒 in wheelchairs with some hip mobility as it strengthens their hip flexors.
To perform this exercise, help your child raise their knee a few inches above the ground. Repeat the process multiple times, and once one set has been completed, move on to the other leg.
Toss and Catch Bean Bag Edition
To improve your child’s upper body strength, play a game of ‘toss and catch’ with a bean bag. All your child needs to do is throw the bean bag up in the air and try to catch it either with both or one of their hands.
They can also alternate between their dominant and non-dominant hand to make the game more challenging and improve their coordination.
Bean Bag Bowling
Set up a game of bowling in your backyard for a game of bean bag bowling. You can use an empty plastic bottle for pins and a bean bag in place of a bowling ball for the game if playing with little children 🧒.
This game is a lot of fun and focuses on strengthening arm muscles, hand-eye coordination, and motor skills.
Slalom Wheelchair Roll
The Slalom wheelchair roll is an engaging wheelchair activity that can be played from the comfort of your home. In your backyard, place 10 to 15 traffic cones in a snake-like 🪱 shape.
Ask your child to weave through the cones to get to the finish line in the shortest time possible. When playing with two or more kids, make the exercise more competitive by penalizing touching the cone.
Play a Game of Twister
You can either play ‘Twister’ as it was intended or include children 🧒 with disabilities in the game by accommodating them.
To play the game, they must toss a bean bag across the “twister’ mat and make it land on the correct spot.
Design an Obstacle Course
Design an obstacle course for your child with hula hoops, ropes, old tires, traffic cones, and other items.
You can also involve your child in the designing portion of the obstacle course and record the timing of each of their tries.
Did you know that basketball 🏀 is one of the most popular games to play among wheelchair-bound people? It is true.
When played in a safe environment that accommodates the needs of people bound to a wheelchair, basketball 🏀 has been shown to create a sense of belonging, provide mental stimulation, help develop camaraderie, and maintain a healthy weight.
Familiarise your kid with basketball from the comfort of your backyard by letting them shoot the ball into the hoops. Adjust the hoop lower at first and then move it higher as your children 🧒 gain proficiency.
Play a game of ‘Simon Says’ with your children 🧒. This game engages a range of your child’s senses. For instance, their listening skill, reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and decision-making.
To play the game, ask your child to perform the action that Simon asks them to perform. They must sit down if Simon asks them to jump ten times or do ten squats, but whenever you instruct them to perform an exercise without saying ‘Simon Says,’ and they follow, then they are out of the game.
This game is another mentally and physically stimulating game with light motor skills requirements.
The goal of the game is for the children 🧒 to find different ways to carry a ball 🎱 from one end of the playground to the other without the use of hands.
Play a game of balloon polo with your children using pool noodles and balloons 🎈. Make different goalposts using hula hoops, old tires, and large open boxes in your garden, and ask your kids to follow the basic rules of polo to score the most points.
Heaving on movement and coordination and playing polo will foster a sense of team spirit in the children 🧒.
Bat striking is a remarkably easy yet fun activity for children and requires eye-hand coordination.
Using a string, hang a large ball from a tree. Ask your child to strike the ball with the bat as hard as possible. Visually impaired children 🧒 can also play this game with the help of visual clues.
The objective of this basketball 🏀 game is simple. In order to spell the word ‘horse,’ you must shoot the basketball successfully into the hoop. The person who can spell the word ‘horse’ 🐴the quickest wins.
You can also teach your kids how to spell with this game by spelling different words or your name.
Did you know that practicing your balance every day can prevent you from falling while going up and down the stairs or reaching up a high shelf?
Balancing activities engage our muscles, ears, eyes 👀, bones, and brain, and our ability to balance can be hindered by our vision and hearing. The great thing is that we can acquire the skill of balancing at any age.
The easiest way to improve your child’s balance is by asking them to stand on one leg, walk by bringing their knees up 🦵, and stand on one leg with eyes closed.
Play Wheelchair Soccer
Wheelchair soccer can be played with ten or fewer team members and with a smaller ball ⚽.
Rapidly moving around the field will improve your child’s cardiovascular health and increase their lung capacity, whilst coordinating between team members fosters a sense of team spirit and improves communication skills.
Improve your child’s core strength by modifying this core exercise according to your child’s disability.
Ask your child to sit on the floor and gradually lower their upper body slowly backward until they are lying down. Now, ask them to get up by gripping their knees or thighs and repeat the process until they get tired.
Partner Pass and Catch
Play a game of pass and catch with your children 🧒. Stand or sit at a distance from your child and pass the ball to them. Create a circle if more than four children are playing.
Divide the children into groups of two and designate one of the children 🧒 as the leader. The follower must copy all of the actions and movements of the leaders as closely as possible. Switch the roles after a minute and regroup.
The aim of this activity is to help the children socialize and engage with each other.
Bean Bag Balancing Activity
Improve your child’s balance by challenging them to balance a bean bag on one part of their body for a certain amount of time. You can also make the game more challenging by asking them to move the bean bag from one spot to another.
This is a wonderful activity for children 🧒 bound to the wheelchair as it helps them develop their core muscles.
Your child can also use a pool noodle or a book to balance their body.
Cup Stacking Game
Challenge your kids to make a pyramid of plastic cups 🥤 by stacking the cups. This activity aims to engage your child’s problem-solving skills and forces them to use their lateral thinking to figure out a way to make the highest pyramid.
Color Matching Hoop Game
In your backyard, assign a different color to each contestant and lay down a hoop of the same color in your backyard.
Give the children 🧒 balls, floaties, and other bouncy objects, and ask them to throw as many items as possible in the hula.
Item Retrieval Game
Scatter a bunch of random stuff in your backyard, and then carefully hide a designated item. Ask all of the children to look for the designated items one by one and record their time. The person who finds the designated item the fastest wins.
Corner to Corner
Corner to Corner follows the same rules as musical chairs 🪑, and the only exception to the game is that when the music stops playing, instead of finding a chair 🪑 to sit in, the children 🧒 playing must find a corner to stand in. Play the music faster or slower to confuse the players.
Simple Aerobics Activities
Any physical activity that increases our heartbeat and makes us out of breath is an aerobic activity.
These activities promote not just our physical health but also our mental health. Activities like swimming, walking, running, jumping, and dancing 💃 are just some examples of aerobic activities.
The pressure of homework, performing well at school, and conforming to societal pressures can cause our children 🧒 a lot of undue stress. Just like adults, children also need to be taught ways to relax their bodies and mind.
One of the activities that I make my son do whenever he feels overwhelmed is lying on the floor on his back and making him focus on opening and closing his mouth and eyes.
You can also ask your child to just focus on their breathing and wiggling their toes and fingers.
Another relaxation technique is asking your child to lie down and tighten various parts of their body in isolation and then release on command. You can also bring their knees towards their chest and pull it closer with their hands.
Place overturned traffic cones around your backyard and ask your child to throw balls into the cones’ openings and then retrieve them.
Start the game by placing the cones near your child at first and then increase the difficulty of the game by placing the cones further and further away from him as the game progresses.
There is a concerted effort on behalf of physically disabled rights activists, parents, and teachers to fulfill the physical education needs of children 🧒 with Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Muscular Dystrophy, amongst other disabilities.
The aim of this article was to provide parents, guardians, and teachers of kids with special needs with physical exercise ideas to engage their children 🧒 physically and mentally. Hopefully, I was able to succeed in this mission.
Let me know in the comments down below what your child’s favorite activities were.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.