Children with disabilities can often feel excluded from group activities. Playing games can encourage social skills, numerical skills, logical reasoning and critical thinking. Games for children with disabilities not only helps to improve overall strength and agility, but also enhance hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills.
The below games can be fun for children in wheelchairs or who must sit down for longer times due to physical exertion. It is essential to adapt games to suit the age and development of the child involved. Often, a caregiver can be involved in assisting the children and have fun along with them.
- Guess the Object: In a big cloth bag, put in a number of different objects, such as a pair of sunglasses, flower, comb, mobile, bottle, tissue and many more. Without looking in the bag, the child has to feel inside the bag and guess one object. If they have identified it correctly, they have to remove it out of the bag. Continue till the bag is empty. Give them hints along the way, if they find it difficult.
- Blowing the Candle: A set of twenty candles are arranged on a tray. Each child gets the opportunity to come forward and blow three times. The objective is to blow as many candles as possible. This game also helps children learn turn taking, and improves oro – motor skills that are required for feeding, as well as speech.
- Bowling: Many children in wheelchairs are capable of bowling with little help. There are also a wide range of adaptive bowling equipment created for wheelchair bowlers like ball ramps, ball grip handles and ball pushers.
- Board Games: Everyone loves board games especially favorites such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Chess, Backgammon and many more.
- T-shirt designing: Bring in basic white t-shirts and lay out some acrylic paints or markers. This activity brings out their artistic side and gives them a souvenir of their own from the event.
- Wheelchair Basketball: This is perhaps the most popular sport. The basket goal is lowered for children in wheelchairs. Wheelchair HORSE is also a popular game where children line up and take turns to throw the ball in the basket. When a child scores a basket – one letter of the word HORSE is given to them. The first child to finish the full word wins the game. The game can be continued until all kids spell the word HORSE. Shortened words like Fun or Cat can be used as well.
- Water balloon relay races: Children carry the balloon in their lap and either someone can push them to a certain line or they can wheel themselves there to hand it off to the next person.
- Musical Ball: The musical ball game is similar to musical chairs, except players get points and no one ever gets “out”. Arrange the children in a circle and cue children’s music. Instruct the children to begin passing the ball around when the music begins. Allow the music to play for 30 seconds or more, and then stop the music. When the music stops, the child holding the ball gets one point. Begin the next round of passing the ball and keep playing until one player reaches five points.
- Bingo: Kids with disabilities love bingo and it does well on the engagement scale. It requires that they listen, identify numbers, words, or pictures on the card; place a cover on the squares and recognize the pattern of covered squares.
- Decorating Cookies or cupcakes: Lay out cookies or cupcakes and decorating items such as icing, sprinkles and candy. Kids find this a lot of fun.
- Boccia: Boccia was first popular with people with Cerebral Palsy but is now is played by people with other conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy. Family and friends can play this game along with the child. The aim is to throw leather balls as close as possible to a target ball. Watch the video below of how Boccia is played.
Thoughtco – Games to support students with disabilities
AZcentral – Ball games for disabled children
Youth Group Games UK
Paralympic Games – YouTube