Scientists and experts say that the most critical phase of child development is the first three years of their lives. During this time, the brain is developing rapidly, and it is highly recommended to help the kids learn through educational but fun activities.
Not only does this stage indicate a child’s development, but this is also where they first experience interacting with their peers. It’s the first time they experience how to follow instructions and try different activities which will help hone their skills.
Caring For Children With Special Needs
Although this stage is all about helping our children’s brain development, the situation is quite different for children with special needs. For example, children with autism and other disorders can be quite challenging to handle. With a different circumstance at hand, it is crucial to know the most appropriate methods to keep the child engaged without overworking their mind.
“The parent/child connection is our most precious and enduring relationship.” –Kimberly Hackett, LMHC
Teaching children with special needs is not the same as an abled toddler. There has to be more patience, understanding, and, most of all, compassion. When caring for children with special needs in their developmental stage, it is essential to introduce activities and learning games which can stimulate their minds without confusing them.
Fun Activities To Do With Them
Children with special needs can be a bit more sensitive than other children. It is crucial to ensure that the learning environment of the child facilitates learning at an optimum level. So that they can understand you better, limit distracting things in the classroom, simplify instructions, and take advantage of multi-sensory techniques.
“Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” says Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT. So to help you create a learning space for children with special needs, here are some fun activities which you can do with them.
1. Sensory Activities
Activities which stimulate a child’s five senses are suitable for children with special needs. By introducing different toys or activities related to visual learning, feeling, or auditory association, the child’s sensory skills improve. Sensory activities include Guess What’s Inside, Jack In A Box, and Shape Blocks. In the long run, these simple games help with their self-discovery and psychological and emotional development.
One of the best ways to approach learning with children with special needs is through roleplaying. Giving them instructions on what to be, how to do it, and which scenario to reenact gives them a taste of the real world while still doing it in a fun manner. Through roleplaying, kids can “live out” a day in the life of anyone they wish, and this helps with their social abilities and development at an early stage.
3. Physical Fun
Another way to get children with special needs to learn actively is through physical activities. The physical exercises and games you do with them do not have to be grand. Simple routines, such as yoga, exercising, and dancing, can help them be more active and enthusiastic. Through these activities, they can also improve their gross motor skills and enhance their hand-foot coordination. “There are many examples of physical activity that range in levels of intensity from light to vigorous. Maintaining your physical health can include yoga, bike riding, jumping rope, engaging in sports, running, walking, jogging, skiing, dancing, tennis, and gardening.” Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC, said.
There are more activities you can do with children with special needs other than the three we mentioned above. You can try experimenting as long as it educates them, helps them develop, and keeps them safe from harm.