Activities for Special Needs Preschoolers
Preschoolers with special needs require more patience and time when it comes to performing activities. Depending upon the extent of the child's disability or need, he might be limited to doing only a few select activities or needing much assistance to perform a said task. Parents looking to help their children develop talents or skills can perform a variety of activities in the home, and teachers can incorporate these activities into the classroom learning time to help the special needs preschooler.
Many children with special needs have a penchant for art or drawing. This activity does not require much physical strength and can be done by children who are wheelchair bound or struggle with physical activity. Give your preschooler several pieces of paper, markers, crayons and paint. Allow your child to explore the different marks each art tool makes as he draws on the paper. Encourage him to copy a drawing you have made to improve hand-eye coordination.
Sorting and Matching
Children with special needs might need some help learning to sort and match objects, such as toys and blocks. Provide your child with objects of the same color or shape and request that she find items that are the same. Help your child to find the object if she is struggling or doesn't seem to understand the concept. Praise your child for a job well done and the effort she makes in finding objects that are alike.
Dancing and Music
Children with special needs will enjoy musical activities. Turn on your favorite song at home or in the classroom and jump and dance around. Challenge your preschooler to mimic the moves you make or create a dance chain to follow around the room. Form a circle and let each child perform his own special moves. Children who are wheelchair bound or cannot stand can use arm movements to join in on the fun.
Use a yoga or exercise ball to help your child learn how to balance by sitting her on the ball as you hold her. Move her back and forth so she can learn to orient her body to the different directions. Place your child on her tummy and play wheelbarrow for more practice with balance. Put masking tape on the floor in a straight line and challenge your preschooler to walk the line without falling off. These activities help your child learn to balance and will assist her with gross motor skills.
Preschoolers love bubbles. Blow bubbles and have the children chase after them and pop them. Give the children a bubble wand of their own and let them try to catch the bubbles on their wand. Let the children practice blowing bubbles; this will help strengthen mouth muscles and assist children who might have struggles with speech.
About Michelle Bless
Stay-at-home mommy and graduate student. I am the parent of a special-needs child with autism, so I understand the needs of parents and students alike. I've worked in education and therapy for over 15 years.