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5 Summer Fun Activities for Children with Special Needs

We know that summer is here when the sun is up well into the evening. Longer days mean more time for summer fun activities. As a parent or caregiver of children with special needs, we understand that it can be challenging to come up with fun, interactive, and engaging activities all summer long. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We put together five activities that will keep every child engaged and entertained. 

Scavenger Hunt: Scavenger hunts don’t need to be elaborate to be engaging. Search for colors, household items, sight words and letters, or shapes—the key is to include pictures that children are familiar with and can match up. Firstly, review the scavenger sheet with the child before embarking on a fun adventure. Scavenger hunts give children the ability to move their bodies and minds in a fun and active way. 

Field Trips: If your city has a zoo or museum, we encourage you to check them out. Museums and zoos provide a fun and interactive experience for all family members. However, due to a number of variables, local museums or zoos may not be an option. No worries, there are great virtual opportunities. From animal live streams to museum virtual tours, there is something for everyone. Take a look at these resources: 

Reading Programs: Summer reading programs are a great way to keep your children learning and engaged while away from school. We recommend going to your local library for any summer reading excursions. If your local library isn’t an option Barnes & Noble and Scholastic all have summer reading programs.

Sensory Table: Grab various bowls and fill them with different textured objects (cooked spaghetti, rice, you name it). Blindfold your child or let them explore on their own and have them describe what it feels like. Shaving cream makes for a great sensory table addition––spell out words on a flat surface or bury toys under the cream. 

Homemade Goop: Head to your pantry for a fun and sensory engaging activity. Pull out that old 1-ounce package of Kool-Aid that you’ve been saving for a rainy day, add 1 ½ cup of cornstarch, and a cup of water. That’s it––you’ve got yourself a fun afternoon activity. Add the goop to your sensory table for an added surprise. 

For more ideas, visit your city’s website for a calendar filled with local summer activities. Movies in the park, fireworks, and parades can typically be found on the summer city calendar. Plug in your zip code here for even more summer activities in your area.

Switch up your routine and visit different parks in your area. Many parks have splash pads which make for a fun and refreshing afternoon. If the park has a grassy area, grab lunch and have a picnic in the park. 

However, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with local and state guidelines when looking for activities to participate in this summer. 

Activities for children with special needs in Greater Houston

We are excited to expand to the Greater Houston, Texas area. More information about our expansion can be found here. If you are local to the Houston area, we recommend checking out some of these awesome places. 

  • The Children’s Museum of Houston is a great place to spend a muggy afternoon. The museum offers over 14 galleries that the whole family will enjoy. Weighted lap pads, sunglasses, ear defenders, and quiet rooms are available throughout the museum for families who may need them. 
  • Space Center Houston is a budding astronaut’s dream destination. With over 400 space artifacts, the space center is the perfect place for the curious mind. Space Center Houston was the first space center to become a Certified Autism Center. More about the announcement can be found here.
  • Prehistoric exhibits and hands-on-butterfly exhibits, make the Houston Museum of Natural Science a favorite for families in the area. Measures to reduce sensory triggers have been taken and sensory guides, visual vocabulary cards, and sensory backpacks can be provided at the start of your visit. 
  • We Rock the Spectrum Gym was designed with children, especially those with autism, in mind. Moreover, sensory equipment is around every corner as well as trampolines, zip lines, climbing structures, swings, and craft areas. The whole family will be able to play in a safe and purposeful environment. 

Friends and family located in Fairfield County Connecticut, Kids Out and About has an awesome resource for you. Find local activities and entertainment throughout the summer, all in one place. The State of Connecticut has a great resource available as well for parents with children who have special needs. This section of the site has ideas for indoor and outdoor fun, places to visit, and summer camps and programs.

We hope you have a great summer!

More Resources:

Resources for Parents of Children with Special Needs During COVID-19
3 Advantages of ABA Therapy for Children


Constellation School Based Therapy & In-Home ABA Therapy services have partnered with private and public schools, school districts, and early childhood development programs for over 20 years to provide evidence-based behavior, occupational, physical therapy solutions, and management consulting services in Connecticut and now the Greater Houston area.

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