The idea of your child being in a leg cast for weeks might fill you with dread as you wonder how you're going to keep him engaged. If your child is usually rushing around at top speed, this time can be an opportunity for him to try out some activities that require more cerebral skills. You can also find ways to keep him active and social from the comfort of the couch.
Set up some craft activities that either teach your child a skill or provide him with something to occupy himself with when it is finished. Craft ideas that require learning something fresh might be knitting, small woodwork projects, making jewelry or origami. Young children might be able to learn some simple sewing, threading beads or winding wool to make pom-poms. Items to make could include a board game, a jigsaw puzzle using his own artwork, or some hand or finger puppets and a cardboard box stage, which he can then use to put on a puppet show.
You will need to discuss with your doctor what exercise is appropriate for your child. It might be that she can have fun with some very simple obstacle courses on her crutches. You can also devise some arm and hand workouts to keep her upper body active. Have her lift her shoulders up and down, circle her shoulders and head, move her arms in circles (maybe in opposite directions) and possibly try a few gentle situps. These will also stop the rest of her body from getting too stiff. Younger children could perform some movements to music while teens might like lifting small weights.
Invite one or two or even a group of friends over to keep your patient company. His pals could decorate the cast with pens and stickers and they could watch some films or play computer games together. Young children might enjoy doing some face painting on each other, while a group of older girls could apply make-up and nail varnish. The social event could include some cake decorating, board games suited to age group or circle games such as "Blink Murder."
Lots of toys and games can be enjoyed from the sitting position. Place the dolls' house on a table for her to "spring clean" or dig out the farm animals for him to play with. Encourage a teen to improve his chess or become an expert in some card games. Small building bricks can appeal to a range of children, from around 5 years to early teens. Suggest he tries building a skyscraper or a space rocket. You could also invest in a marble maze or other building kit for him. Set up a sand or water table for a younger child to play with, adding plenty of containers and toys as props. Give him dolls or soft toys and some tissue to use as bandages and encourage a game of hospitals. Encourage a teen to make a short animation using a camera, some modelling clay and a computer.
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