Summer Activities to Supplement Your Child’s IEP Goals

As a mom of two boys with special needs I am always leery of summertime.  I worry that some of the milestones they reached during the school year may disappear in regression over the summer break.  This is why finding fun and interesting ways to supplement their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals is so important.

Speech and Language

Cotton ball races: Place 2 cotton balls on a flat surface and give your child(ren) each a straw. Then see who can blow their cotton ball past the finish line the fastest.

Blowing bubbles: Almost every child I have ever met adores bubbles.  Thankfully the act of blowing is great for building up mouth and cheek muscles.  So, blow blow blow to your heart’s content!

Sing: Music is a very powerful tool in promoting speech.  Some children shy away from speaking to others but will sing loudly to their favorite children’s song.  Practice picking songs and singing together!

Occupational Therapy

Color: Simply spending time each day coloring in coloring books can help greatly to keep the hand and finger muscles strong.  If your child doesn’t particularly like coloring try finding coloring sheets online in their favorite cartoon characters (i.e. Dora, Diego, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dinosaur Dan, etc.)

Homemade Lacing Cards: Punch holes around the edges of a paper (have your child cut out their favorite shapes from construction paper first) and have your child lace the shape with yarn.  If you put a hard piece of tape around the end this helps guide the yarn into each hole.

Who wants Chinese food?: Get some chopsticks from a local restaurant and bring them home to pick up small items and place in a small bowl.  Plastic tweezers or scissor tongs also work well for this activity

Physical Therapy

Yoga: There are many children’s yoga videos available for free through cable “On Demand”, YouTube, and at your local public library.

Balance ball: Using a large exercise ball help your child sit on the ball and bounce lightly.  Then move around on the ball by laying on the tummy and making small circles.

Swimming: Visit your local community pool and swim with your child.  Swimming is a great way to help your child become more aware of their body.  Practice floating, kicking, etc.

NOTE:  Always accompany your child in the water until they have taken a formal swimming class and you can be sure they are safe in the water without 1:1 assistance.  (My boys still wear life vests.)

Social Relations

Support Groups: Call your local support group and see if they offer social play times for children with similar special needs.  Its especially great if these play groups welcome siblings and “neuro-typical” peers.

Throw an ice cream party!: Nothing brings kids together like ice cream, lightening bugs and warm summer nights.

About the Author

Sunday Stilwell is the frazzled lady behind the banshee mask who can be found on her blog, Adventures in Extreme Parenthood, where she writes about raising two boys on the severe end of the autism spectrum while living to laugh and blog about it.

Sunday is one of the Reading Kingdom’s Summer Activity Guides. Be sure to check out the Reading Kingdom blog every Wednesday for posts from our Summer Activity Guides who will blog about parenting, and fun things to do with your children throughout the whole summer.