7 Ways To Entertain Kids With Special Needs Over Winter Break

Winter breaks are rarely a vacation for parents, but they can be even harder on ones who have kids with special needs. Children can be thrown by the lack of their familiar school schedule. Meanwhile, there’s that age-old question: What can you do? I threw out the question on Facebook to special needs parents; here, their reality-checked ideas.

Pick up a new version of a familiar play fave. “Right now, our Aspie is into Legos so we are getting him a big set and plan on building it together.”—Molly W.

Find a fun, accommodating space. “Our local indoor play space NEST Philadelphia has discounted winter rates for classes and membership. We signed up for class with our wonderful instructor, who has adapted class for my autistic son without my asking. We need to get out of the house, but it’s so important to escape to a place where my kids feel safe, supported and competent.”—Anna P.

Make a schedule. “I plan a fun activity for each day (bouncy place, indoor swimming, train/trolley rides, etc.). I don’t share the schedule, though, until the morning in case it snows too much and we can’t get there. I also let my little one control the time we leave or where we have lunch (or at home or out) as often as possible.”—Ilyssa R.

Hit the dollar bin. “Collect a bunch of dollar items from the bins at Target. When boredom strikes, pull out one of the new items.”—Laura F.

Over-plan! “We’re north, so we sled and play in snow, go for day trips or overnights, play games, cook and eat all our favorite foods, and have family and friends over my son knows. He just wants to be busy.”—Rachel P.

Build up excitement. “Try to plan one activity or ‘moment’ for them to get excited about. I usually make a list with the kids.”—Valerie M.

There’s always IKEA. “We go and let my kids jump on all the couches and beds on display. Then we eat at the restaurant and go home.”—Melissa M.

From my other blog:

We had entirely too much fun at the doctor’s office

How not to pack for Disneyland

Those little big-deal accomplishments


Image of child jumping on bed via Shutterstock

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