Whether it’s a child with visual impairment, Down syndrome, autism or any other condition, every child has a different need but they can all really benefit from creative play.
All children love to play and be creative, and with kids who have special needs it’s important to think carefully about how that creativity is drawn out. It’s all about acknowledging the individual need and finding ways that they can enjoy themselves. Let’s check out a handful of creative ideas you can try with children who have special needs.
Painting and crafts
When it comes to creative play and games, multisensory activities are a great way of providing children with a chance to experience different things. From bright colours and the tactile nature of painting to the crinkle of paper, snap of plastic and shimmer of glitter in craft, art is a great way of giving children a platform to explore their creative side.
“It’s all about acknowledging the individual need and finding ways that they can enjoy themselves.”
There’s nothing quite like the joy of music and this is another chance for children to explore different sensory experiences. High pitch, low pitch, different instruments, singing and dancing; they’re all a chance for children of any age or ability to learn new things and have a lot of fun in the process.
If you’re with a child who tends to prefer low-key and quiet activity, writing is perfect. All they need is a pen and paper, and some encouragement from you. It could be a diary, observations about the day or story writing. This is a chance for the child to immerse themselves in what they want to write about without noise. There’s a chance they’ll get so involved in the process and may mark their clothing, just any child would; time for you to figure out how to remove ink stains from clothes.
Imaginative play is a great way for kids to act out a myriad of different situations, both real life and fantasy. Role play provides children with an opportunity to explore different characters and settings, and even act out social situations that they might ordinarily find tricky. This type of play is more relaxed than real life and can play a huge part in helping children overcome everyday challenges.
That’s a selection of creative ideas to help you inspire children with special needs. The key aspects are to focus on each individual’s needs, give them the chance to explore different sensory experiences and engage with activities that they truly enjoy. Being positive, enthusiastic and encouraging are major components too. When you put it all that together, you’ll be playing a huge part in each child’s development.