11 Effective Ways to Make Playtime Fun for Children with Special Needs
By Ben Sidman
To get the most from playtime activities you have to stick to a set of rules. The rules may change according to the child but generally these rules help to achieve constructive play gaining the benefits listed above.
Play it their way - Encourage them to pay the games they like to play. If they show an interest in a certain sport or activity then GREAT! Let them play their games and so that they can get the release that they will feel good about.
Exposure to new things - Children with social disabilities often seem like they are not interested in new things but sometimes exposure to new games and activities sparks of an interest that they really get enjoyment from. This also helps them to build on their experiences and broaden their learning.
Great mind think alike - Find other people that share the same interests. This may seem like an impossible task but you will be amazed at what goes on in the houses you are surrounded by. Other disability support groups are often a great place to meet like minded people who will share their interests willingly. This will be a great way for them to have a little social contact that doesn't end up in tears.
Go when the crowds are gone - If children show a particular interest in activities but are put of by the crowds then find a time when the crowds are gone. This is often good to help them do something they really enjoy.
Follow the leader - Let them take the lead. If they want to play in a certain way then you may find that letting them express themselves is a good way to help them vent their built up frustrations.
Take your time - Let them take their sweet time to enjoy an activity. If they are forced to rush through a game or sport then it may not be so enjoyable and the experience may start to go wrong.
Everyone makes mistakes - Let children make mistake after mistake because this will help build confidence and resilience to failure.
Don't conform - Don't force children to conform to social rules. Expression in their way will help them feel comfortable which is a good way to play.
Use their interests - Use the subjects they are interested in as a way of encouraging them to play other activities.
Quit if it doesn't work - You can force a child to play a certain way or do a certain activity if they don't want to. Encourage them of course, but if they really don't want to do something then don't force them.