The trees are blooming, the temperature is going up, and the sun is beginning to shine more often. With summer weather quickly approaching, kids are making their way from their indoor activities to play out in the yard, or in their nearest swimming pool. Activities involving swimming or playing in the water are especially beneficial for children with behavioral issues such as ASD or ADHD. Here are a few ideas for you to add to your list of ways to cool off and have fun with your child.
Pool Noodle Race
Children on the autism spectrum find playing in the water to be a calming experience. Conducting a traditional swimming race may be a bit of a tall order for a child with autism, so adding the pool noodle for your child to use for floating with their arms allows this activity to purely be about fun.
Water Balloon Squirt Gun Race
This exciting activity is easy to set up and can be an absolute blast. All you need is a pool you have access to, some balloons (small balloons work best), and some small squirt guns. Blow up the balloons so they float on the surface of the water. Once the balloons and the participants are in position, you can start the race to see who can propel their balloon to the finish line first using only their squirt gun.
Swimming Pool Scrabble
You can combine having fun in the water with learning about spelling with this game. Take some rectangular sponges (preferably with no scrub side) and cut them in half to create your letter tile that will float in the water. Use a permanent marker to write letters on each of your tiles. When you have your floating game pieces ready, toss them in the water so they float randomly. Have your child practice spelling simple words by retrieving the corresponding letters to create words.
Lily Pad Toss
If you have extra frisbees and sponges laying around, here is a perfect DIY game that won’t cost you anything. Take three frisbees (best if you have different sizes) and number them 1-3 on the bottom. Take your sponges and cut them into square pieces to toss at your targets. Now you have a simple game where you can toss your sponges to try to land in the frisbees floating in the water and see who can get the most points.
Water safety is a concern for any parent but is especially important for those in the Autism community. Never leave children unattended when in or around water. All games should be played under adult supervision as part of family play. With a few precautions, a cool summer swim and these great games can be fun for the whole family.