Here are 3 Kid Approved Adapted Activities for the Wheelchair Parent. Why are they kid approved .. you ask? At ages 4 and 6 years old my son adapted these games and activities on his own – right before my very eyes!
Playing in the dirt, playing catch, playing the latest child’s game craze like The Floor is Lava is what kids want to play. Often times, they want to play with their parents’! For a parent who has a disability these activities can be a challenge. At least, that’s what I thought until my son began showing me differently. Here are 3 activities that I play with my son. What’s unique is that he is the one that came up with how to adapt all 3 of these activities, so I could play along with him.
Playing in the Dirt
With the type of cerebral palsy, I have, getting on floor can be a bit of a challenge. But, not impossible – just not the easiest thing to accomplish. I believe my son understands this in some spiritual – extrinsic way.
When my son was about 4, he got into monster trucks and began asking for a “dirt box” to play with his trucks in outside. I remember when we told him to go out in the backyard and dig in the dirt, he said in his 4-year-old vocabulary, at the time, – then daddy can’t play. So, Rachel and I looked on Amazon and found this free-standing planter along with 2 bags of all-purpose top soil. Just like that, we had a wheelchair accessible dirt box. To this day, at the ripe old age of 6, he will say – hey Dad! let’s go play in the dirt. When I think about it; his ability to instinctively know my abilities is because my inabilities is his norms. Therefore, in his mind it’s not a disability nor an ability. It’s just Dad.
Every child likes to play catch in some form. Depending on one’s disability playing catch can be a tricky challenge. I’m no different! I can throw, roll, and even kick a ball. But, I’m not able to catch small balls particularly baseballs with or without a glove. But, that didn’t stop me from coaching his t-ball baseball team a couple of years ago! If you know anything about our son; you know he eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. I love working with him at home on his skills. Catching is the main area he needs to work on.
One day he came to me and asked to go and practice catching. After a few rounds of throwing and catching he realized I couldn’t catch to save my life. On his own, he began bringing me the ball after he caught the ball. After about 30 minutes we came inside. He didn’t boast or talk about bringing me the ball to Rachel. In his mind, he was just playing catch with dad. I took the his concept to bring me the ball a step further and jumped on Amazon and ordered a bucket of baseballs. Now, when we play catch, I throw him balls he catches the ball, he drops the ball on the ground and I throw him another. Once the bucket is empty, he takes the bucket and goes around and collects the balls. We go at it again.
The Floor is Lava
The Floor is Lava, is the latest craze in kids’ games. The way its played is at any given time a child will blurt out “the floor is lava” and all the kids around will jump on a couch, chair, or whatever is around in-order to get off the floor.
One afternoon, as a family, we were spending the afternoon at home just hanging out …. being a family. I was taken back a little when my son comes up to me out of the blue and says “DAD, the floors lava! So, I looked at him like … uhh … son what do you want me to do! Without skipping a beat, he says get to the carpet before I get to 10. He starts counting 1. 2.. 3.. as he sees me getting closer to the carpet he begins laughing hysterically and starts counting faster.
It’s said no one knows you better than your family. I’d like to take that up a notch for all the parents with disabilities. Your son(s) or daughter(s) know you better than anyone and quite possibly better than your parents. Because as infants and toddlers, they watch your every movement they watch and feel how you feed them, change their diapers and dress them.
Most importantly, your disability is not a disability to them it’s their norm! So, go out there and get your hands and wheels dirty in the dirt!