Enjoy End-of-Summer Fun With Your Special Needs Child
A practical list of ideas to keep your special child busy until school starts.
Walk into any retail or grocery store and most likely you will find a variety of school supplies and “must have’s” for the first day of school — a sure sign that summer is almost over.
I don’t know about your family, but we are not ready to give in to the first day of school — at least not yet. We still plan day trips and try to take advantage of every break. I recognize this is difficult for some parents who need resources and school support, but with only about three weeks left of summer, there might be some items on this list that would be a favorable break for your child.
If you are tired of the heat and not sure where to go or what to do with your exceptional child, here are some entertaining options.
- Prepare for the winter holidays and make hand prints, thumb prints or foot prints now to use as Thanksgiving placemats or Christmas ornaments later. Parents can take their children outside to play in the sprinkler while the finger paint is washed off their hands and feet; taking care of the messy part now will save time during the holiday rush
- Invite some classmates over for a “water picnic.” It is never too soon to visit with your child’s friends and families from school. Hot afternoons with a sprinkler or hose are a fun and interactive way for our children to become familiar with his or her friends again.
- If you have a teen who is able but needs practice learning life skills, drop him or her off at the grocery store with a small list of items and enough money to buy what’s on the list. This may seem unusual, but teenagers love to feel independent and valued. Going alone to shop helps them feel confident. Most likely they will be encouraged by the independence, but don’t be surprised if your child comes home with something not on the list. Have fun with this idea. Parents will find comfort knowing their child can handle it.
- Explore E. Carroll Joyner Park at 701 Harris Road, Wake Forest. I love this park for exceptional children because it has an amazing variety of activities for the entire family. Accessible paved trails, amphitheaters, flower gardens, fishing, charcoal grills and plenty of space to have a good old-fashioned picnic. Parents will find an opportunity for a historical learning experience while touring and reading about the restored farm buildings on the property. Watch a great family movie under the stars on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. for free.
Photo of E. Carroll Joyner Park courtesy of Town of Wake Forest
- Check out Richard Childress Racing Museum at 236 Industrial Drive in Welcome North Carolina. NASCAR fans who don’t mind a bit of a day trip, will find this racing museum incredible. About two hours from downtown Raleigh, this museum has more than 50 race cars and trucks on display in its 47,000 square feet of race car history. It offers elevator access to the observation area. Tours are self-guided. It is recommended that guests call for availability and admission fees. Call 800-476-3389 for details.
- Visit the Clayton River Walk in Clayton, North Carolina. If your family loves the outdoors, check out the footbridge over the Neuse River. A 4-mile accessible trail runs along the Neuse River and connects to the Neuse River Trail. Enjoy a magnificent day of clean air and beautiful scenery. Adventurous families might want to visit other accessible trails in North Carolina. For a complete list, visit Trail Link.
C.C. Malloy lives in Greensboro and is a steadfast supporter of children with a disability. Any information here should not be considered legal advice and counsel should be sought for personal educational guidance. For additional support, please visit her website, Bizigal’s Exceptional Blooms.