Your kid may need to use a wheelchair to get around, but a wheelchair doesn't have to define what your child can and can't do. In an increasingly wheelchair-friendly world, there's very little your child can't do right alongside able-bodied or other wheelchair-bound kids. Whether it's sports activities, dressing up for Halloween or going on typical kid-friendly outings, show your wheelchair-bound kid that there are no limits to the things he can do.
Modified Sports Activities
Kids in wheelchairs can play nearly any sport, typically with just a few modifications. Lower a basketball hoop, and your kid and other wheelchair-bound kids can play wheelchair basketball. Put up a net, and the kids can easily play dodgeball or tennis in wheelchairs. They can even play football from their chairs, tossing the ball to each other and tagging a person's chair to "tackle" them. Set rules to avoid wheelchair collisions. Sports wheelchairs with large, flexible wheels that have traction are ideal for fast-moving sports, but regular wheelchairs are just fine for small games between friends.
Recreational Wheelchair Games
Organize games that emphasize the importance of the wheelchair. For example, you could organize creative wheelchair races. Plan different types of races, including a backward wheelchair race, where they have to attempt to wheel backward to the finish line. You could also have a race where the kids can only use one hand to push their wheelchairs. Another idea is to modify recreational children's games. For example, to play crows and cranes, divide the kids into two teams facing each other in their wheelchairs across a boundary line. One team is crows, the other, cranes. If you call out "Crows!" the crows must chase the cranes to a safety zone. If a crow tags any part of a crane's wheelchair before they reach safety, that person becomes a crow and vice versa. The team with the most people at the end of a certain time wins.
Wheelchair Costume Creations
Help your kid come up with an awesome Halloween or costume party outfit that complements her wheelchair. For instance, your kid could be a race car driver by wearing a racing costume and covering the wheelchair with cardboard cut to look like a race car. You can also use cardboard to create a table or booth in the front of your child's wheelchair, which can be used for a number of creative costumes, such as a fortune teller or a person in a carnival kissing booth. Another idea is to have your child dress as his favorite wheelchair-bound character or celebrity, such as Professor X from the X-Men Series. To pull it off, cover the wheel spokes with cardboard Xs and have your child dress like a polished college professor. A bald cap and a chess board on his wheelchair tray table will complete the look.
Outings with Wheelchairs
Don't hold back on certain outings because your kid is in a wheelchair. Many kid-friendly attractions, whether it's a play gym or an amusement park, are required by law to be wheelchair accessible. You'll find ramps and elevators at just about any museum, zoo and aquarium you want to visit. Many modern rides at amusement parks are wheelchair-accessible and your kid can enjoy them like other kids, so long as your child meets the other ride requirements. You'll find many sports arenas wheelchair-friendly as well, if you want to take your kid to a ball game. Check out parks with smooth, wheelchair-friendly nature trails, perfect for exposing wheelchair-bound kids to the great outdoors and exploring nature. Look for parks in your community with playgrounds that are wheelchair-accessible as well.
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images