An adventurous heart and playful soul are the core elements of being a child. Having a disability should never preclude going on an adventure, but it may need to be adapted slightly in order to include your child’s wheelchair as well. For children, an important part of their learning and development is to play and bond with family and friends through exciting activities and quality time spent together.
Many fun activities are already fully accessible to wheelchair users, or need only a small amount of adaptation in order to be both fun and safe. For example, many children enjoy the excitement of adaptive team sports like tennis or basketball, or solo fitness activities like adapted swimming and horseback riding. Part of the adventure is to switch on your creativity and come up with some fun and meaningful activities that will interest both you and your child.
Adventure is Important
Play time and exploration are an important part of personal growth and learning in childhood. You can learn a lot in school, but the lessons that you learn outside of the classroom while adventuring with your friends and family are priceless. This time spent together is valuable and creates happy memories that will last your child for a lifetime.
Not only are these activities fun, but they are also invaluable to the development of a well-rounded human. They allow children to develop their knowledge of the world, user their creativity, and build physical and emotional strength. This is vital for healthy brain development.
From a day at the park with friends to visiting your favourite animals at the zoo, here are some ideas to inspire your next great family adventure.
Inspiration for Your Accessible Adventures
Adaptive Team and Solo Sports
Many children reap the social and physical benefits of team sports. Being a part of a team teaches a sense of working together and camaraderie while developing lifelong friendships. Of course, sport is also a wonderful avenue for developing physical skills and keeping active.
There are a number of sports which have been adapted for players who use wheelchairs, many of which are accessible to younger players also. Although wheelchair rugby and basketball are perhaps the most commonly known adaptive sports, the options also include swimming, cycling, archery, bowling, tennis, and many, many more. Disability, Sport & Recreation Australia runs several activities for children including sporting camps, leadership courses, and hospital programs as well.
Children playing basketball in RGK Club Sport wheelchairs
Art, Craft, and Design
Arts and crafts are a rewarding way to explore creativity and nourish the part of the mind that likes to build, design, and analyse. Creating things can be a freeing outlet for emotion and stress, and helps to regulate mood and positively influence general wellbeing. Your child may even enjoy making some decorations for their wheelchair - maybe they would like to turn it into a throne fit for a king or queen instead!
To incorporate a more social element into your child's crafting time, why not set up a some supplies on a table outside and invite some of their friends over to unleash their creativity together?
All children dream of having a beautiful horse to care for and ride. For children with disabilities, horseback riding is a fun and effective form of physical therapy as well as recreation.
In Australia, Riding for the Disabled (RDA) run programs for children and adults with disabilities using gentle, well-trained school horses and qualified instructors and support personnel to deliver animal therapy in a fun and affordable way. The program is volunteer-run to keep costs for participants to a minimum. Riding for the Disabled offers a variety of programs to suit different individuals, including horseback riding, carriage driving, dressage, mounted games, Special Olympics training, and even non-competitive showjumping.
Build a Fort!
If you fancy a quiet, cosy day at home you can easily make your own living room into an adventure fun zone with the help of a few sheets and maybe some fairly lights. Designing a fort with your child is a wonderful bonding experience, and once you’ve built your little palace why not put on some popcorn, sit inside, and enjoy a movie or two together?
Grow a Garden (and Sell Some Seedlings!)
There is nothing more beautiful than watching a garden blossom, and getting your hands dirty to cultivate some plants or vegetables is always fun. Depending on the height of your child's wheelchair, you could use a raised garden bed, plant trays on a table, or even a rustic wheelbarrow filled with potting soil for them to plant their favourite flowers in. Once the garden is planted, you will need to put aside time together each week to spend out in the garden watering the plants, pulling out weeds, and watching your little plot of land bloom.
As an extra way to make some pocket money, your child could grow seedlings in small containers and sell them either online, at the local market, or at a stall outside your house. This will provide a great avenue to teach some valuable lessons about money and savings, as well as a way to get out into the community and be involved in your neighbourhood.
There are countless accessible activities out there to feed your child’s mind and soul. Whether it’s adaptive sports or gardening, you’ll have many opportunities to have fun, stay active, and create some lifelong memories together.
Do you love Sport? At Sunrise Medical we have a line of sports wheelchairs that come with the option of customising yours with Built-4-Me to tailor yours to your game. Let us help you to find the best one to fit your favourite sport!