The importance of active games for special needs kids is undeniable. It helps their physical and mental development and develops their cognitive and emotional skills.
In addition, games help your kid understand their surrounding world, build self-esteem, and learn problem-solving, creativity, and social interaction.
Traditional competitive games can be difficult and overwhelming for a special needs child.
12 Active Games and Fun Activities for Special Needs Kids
So, here we will talk about games that are especially perfect for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Hopefully, these active games and fun activities help your kid stay engaged and spontaneously enjoy every game. Let’s look at twelve active games and fun activities that children with special needs will enjoy.
Playing gaga ball offers kids a healthy way to exercise, enjoy competition, and play with players; best of all, it does not require any specialized set of skills. Even a beginner can quickly pick up the rules of playing gaga ball. To play this game, you must require a Gaga pit.
If you arrange a game session for your kid at school, camp, or other recreational centers, you need not worry about the Gaga pit as those organizations already have their Gaga pits.
But you need to make sure that your organization should consider a commercial-grade gaga pit made from durable plastic for use at a school or camp setting. Otherwise, you will need to repair or replace it sooner than you realize.
As for the rules of the game –
- Every player must touch the side or wall of the pit before starting the game.
- One person throws the ball, and it requires to bounce 3 times.
- For the first two times, all the players sound ‘Ga,’ and the third bouncing time indicates the game starts now.
- Players can hit the ball only with their open hand.
- When the ball touches under the waist of any player, it means the player is out.
- If you are the first person to eliminate from the game, you need to open and close the pit gate for the other players who will also be out next to you.
- If you double-touch the ball, throw it above the waist of another player, or throw it out of the pit without touching any player, it means you are out.
- When two players are left, a player may hit the ball three times in a row.
- The last player remaining in the pit will be the winner.
Hopscotch is a tricky game for children with special needs. However, it is not impossible for them. Once the children learn a few techniques, the game will be a great way to learn how to coordinate hands and body together.
Through this game, they will also exercise and learn social interaction. Some techniques that help the kids improve their hopscotch gaming skills are focusing on one task at a time, color coordinating the jumping squares, hopping, and ingratiating children.
Hide and Seek
It is also a great game for children with autism as it helps them socialize and interact with other children. Thus this game helps your kid to develop analytical and social skills. This game’s rules are simple, giving the children a better playing experience. In this game, one group hides, and another group, in most cases, a single person, tries to trace their location.
A good practice for this game can be to make children aware of dangerous places; for instance, forbid them to hide near the oven, washing machine, refrigerator, or other electrical appliances.
Another good idea for this game could be to give the kids hiding a book or other quiet but interesting activity so they do not become frustrated and impatient while waiting.
Though horseback riding is not the cheapest or easily accessible to most people, it could be an enjoyable sport for children with autism. Horses and some other animals are used in therapy because their strong and calming nature inspires and resonates with calmness within humans.
The benefits of equine therapy are as numerous as the types of disabilities and conditions served. Research shows that equine-assisted service users experience physical, emotional, and cognitive rewards. The three-dimensional, rhythmical motion of the horse’s movement stimulates the participant’s muscles, thus providing great therapeutic effects for those with physical disabilities.
For individuals with cognitive or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship with the horse can increase confidence, patience, and self-esteem. In addition, each new skill learned creates new pathways in the brain and facilitates attention and learning.
Battleships game is perfect for children with special needs as it allows them to strengthen their strategic and planning skills.
The rule of this game is to sink the rival’s battleship by guessing their location first. Then they have to use their logical thinking to estimate where their opponent’s ships are. Thus, this game helps your kid develop critical reasoning and logical thinking.
Candy Land is a colorful racing game that has been popular for over seventy years. The kids require no reading skills to play this game because it does not involve verbal communication. It only requires a little counting ability and color recognition.
The game promotes the idea of turn-taking among kids. Plus, it is a good choice for kids who are on the level of 1 and 2 autism.
Colorful ice painting art is a sensory and fun activity for kids. Your child needs an ice tray and acrylic paint to play this game. You must fill the tray with these paints and let them freeze in the refrigerator.
Once they are frozen, you can take them out. Then give your kid a sheet of paper with this paint tray to draw beautiful and colorful patterns.
They can easily create unique paintings using these ice cubes and acrylic paint. The sensory feeling of using this ice can surely delight your kid and make them more engaged in painting.
It is a puzzle game where your kid has to look for the hidden words that make a word complete. In this game, they must find all the words independently by looking at the letters.
Thus, the game is an excellent way to improve their vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, reading, etc. This game also helps them to increase their concentration and focus on specific things.
Most online platforms, such as iOS or Android devices, make the word search game available for free. Plenty of paid options exist to find word games on more advanced levels.
Different types of parachute games fit children with special needs. As a parent, you need not worry about thinking you plan to skydive for your child. Instead, we are talking about these games that your child can play with both feet attached to the ground.
One of the creative ideas of this parachute game is making waves. It will be a great game for an ocean-loving child. In this game, all the children will hold different sides of the parachute and make waves using it.
As a parent or guide of the course, you can tell them a story about rough seas, calm oceans, or somewhere in between. This parachute game promotes social interaction, cooperation, communication, and, most importantly, laughter among the kids.
In this game, a group of children must stand in a circle holding each other’s hands. As an instructor, you need to throw a balloon above the ground. Then instruct the players to hit the balloon and keep it off the ground.
You can set some rules for this game like they cannot break the circle, must hold each other’s hand all the time, and cannot hit the balloon with their feet. This game encourages the children to think of creative ways to keep the balloons off the ground. They will also work together to find ways.
Through teamwork and cooperation, they can come up with hitting the balloon with their head, knees, chest, etc. When the whole group works together and cooperates, there is no chance of anyone losing the game. Thus, this game becomes a fun game for everyone.
Almost every child loves to keep blocks in their toy collection. Kids with special needs normally follow a strict schedule. It’s very difficult to keep them away from their repetitive behavior. However, when your kid has a block collection, you can motivate them to build different structures. You need to cooperate if your child cannot make the structure by himself.
At first, you can make a structure and then ask your kid to imitate this. Once they get used to attaching blocks perfectly, you can suggest new structures. When they repeatedly try to make new structures, it will eventually develop their creativity. The game will also promote confidence, social skills, and spatial awareness among your kid.
In this game, first, you must identify which items or toys are your child’s favorite. Then you must hide those things in a safe place for your child to access. Your cooperation and interaction with your kid can make the game more interesting.
Moreover, you can give them hints to help them find their treasures. It may be visual or verbal clues, such as telling your child not to find things in dangerous places like near electrical appliances. Or you can also draw some clues on a piece of paper.
To make your child more engaging in this game, you can offer them rewards such as chocolate, new toys, or anything they adore. Thus, this game helps them to improve their concentration and focus. It also develops their observation skills and keeps them engaged in indoor games.
To Wrap Up
If you are looking for active games for your kid, you have already found something here. Ensure that these games help your kid’s growth and productivity.
As a parent of a kid with special needs, incorporate different forms of active play and teach them how to interact with others. Also, discover the signs of anxiety in your child and find ways to cope. Though it is more challenging, it can eventually offer your kid a long-term future benefit.