8 Outdoor Products for Children with Special Needs

Ahhh… I breathe in and grin as the gentle smell of freshly cut blades of grass pierces my nose.  I close my eyes as the golden sun kisses my face and excitedly squeal: it is finally Spring! Eeeek!  It’s time to happily bid adieu to the frozen, gray skies and welcome the warmth of summer’s sweet embrace.  What better way to celebrate warm weather than with fun outdoor products for your kiddos?!

I could easily list off a catalog of products to entertain your children.  However, I wanted to highlight the following products as they are both fun and beneficial to a child’s developmental skills.

8 Outdoor Products for Children with Special Needs:

1. Scavenger Hunt:

Who doesn’t love a good scavenger hunt?  Even to this day, I still genuinely love scavenger hunts.  They always encourage socializing and exploring!

Scavenger Hunt game

The Family Scavenger Hunt game is no exception.  It features decks of cards that can be played both indoors or outdoors, making it a fun activity no matter the weather!

Features:

  • Contents:
    • For kids ages 6-11:
      • 1 deck of Indoor Kids (70 cards)
      • 1 deck of Outdoor Kids (70 cards)
    • For players ages 12+:
      • 1 deck of Indoor Adult (70 cards)
      • 1 deck of Outdoor Adult (70 cards)
    • Giant spinner board and spinner, pencil, score pad, and instructions
  • Kids can work together as teams or compete against one another to find required objects

Skills:

  • Works on executive functioning skills such as:
    • Focus
    • Attention
    • Organization
  • Encourages physical activity
  • Promotes socialization
  • Encourages turn-taking and working together
  • Children can work on language skills as they express what they’re looking for
2. Jungle Jumparoo:

The Jungle Jumparoo is a 3-in-1 toy that can be used both indoors or outdoors.  It is a climbing, bouncing, and swinging toy that may help improve overall body strength and endurance.

jungle jumparoo

Features:

  • For children ages 2 and up
  • Ideal for backyards, indoor playrooms, preschools, daycares, and playgrounds
  • Metal steel poles are painted with powder coating to ensure weather-resistant and rust-free frame
  • Does not come with tube cover, bumper covers, or rope swing.  Those are all accessories which are sold separately.

Skills:

  • Can help overall body strength and endurance
  • Encourages language and social skills
  • Provides a lot of sensory input
  • Jumping improves circulation and allows children to gain better body control and overall balance, stamina, and awareness of body positioning
  • Click here to read more about other health benefits
3. High Backed Full Support Swing:

Swinging is a favorite activity for individuals young and old!  The High Backed Full Support Swing Seats grant individuals of all abilities the ability to swing.

high backed full support swing

Features:

  • Extra secure and safe ride for children, teens, and adults; seat dimensions and weight limits vary on size
  • High backs, a pommel, and a safety harness help keep the user stable and in place
  • Made of highly strong and durable plastic that feels soft to the touch
  • Contents:
    • Swing Seat
    • Ropes
    • Hooks (for attaching to bracket)

Skills: 

  • Provides much-needed sensory input
  • Can improve motor planning, coordination, and organization skills
  • May help increase trunk strength and control
4. Handled Parachute:

I recently watched my little nephew at soccer practice.  One of the activities was the colorful, large parachute I used to do in gym class almost 20 years ago.  I remember always loving the parachute in gym class; we’d crazily wave the parachute and giggle, then we’d all run under it.  I remember how engaging and colorful the whole activity was.

handled parachute from flaghouse

But as I recently observed my giggling nephew under the swirling nylon rainbow, I wondered what are the benefits of parachute play?  And where can I find one?  (Note: This particular one is from Flaghouse, which offers a lot of resources for individuals with special needs.)

Features:

  • This one is 6 feet with 8 handles
    • “Every 1 foot of diameter accommodates about one user; so 12 students would need a 12 feet parachute.”
  • Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
  • Can be used in a standing or sitting position; differing abilities aren’t an issue
  • Sewn-in web handles around the edges make the parachute easier to grasp

Skills:

  • Encourages physical movement
  • Promotes social interaction
  • Reinforces turn-taking/sharing
  • Enhances language development
  • Helps develop a sense of rhythm
5.  BIG Bubble Thing (Plus Mix):

Another timeless product and activity for outdoors: bubbles!  Children of all ages love bubbles; the bigger the bubble, the better!  Bubble Thing offers a product that allows users to blow ginormous bubbles.

bubble thing

Features:

  • 90-inch open and closable fabric loop blows bubbles all shapes and sizes up to 20-feet long!
  • Available in different packages
  • Contents of Bubble Thing + Mix package:
    • The fabric wand
    • BIG Bubble Mix makes 2.7 gallons of bubble solution

Skills:

  • Visual tracking skills
  • Encourages gross motor movement, balance, and muscle tone development
  • Promotes hand-eye and foot-eye coordination
  • Promotes body and spatial awareness
  • Sensory processing skills
6. Spooner Balance Board:

Looking for a fun product to promote coordination, balance, and more?  The Spooner Freestyle Balance Board is a fun introductory balance board.  While Spooner offers a couple of different boards, they recommend for children under 4 feet to use the Freestyle model.

spooner freestyle board

 

Features:

  • Freestyle Board is ideal for children under 4 feet (around 3-8 years of age)
    • Slightly shorter and lighter than the Pro Model, which makes it more manageable for smaller riders.
  • Centered spoon shape allows for easy balancing, rocking, twisting, walking, and spinning
  • Dimensions: 22.5″ x 11.25″
  • Weighs: 2.5 pounds
  • “Safest balance board on the market. Safety gear is always a good call!”

Skills:

  • Promotes coordination and balance
  • Can help increase core and leg strength and endurance
  • Improves gross motor skills
7. Jabbit Set:

Looking for a simple catch and toss game?  Check out the Jabbit Set!  The Jabbit Set is a new twist and features an all-in-one catcher and launcher.  Simply flick your wrist to throw the ball and jab the ball to catch!

jabbit set

Features:

  • Includes 2 Jabbit Throwers and 1 Ball
  • Unique design features a launcher/thrower-in one and open-framed sphere ball
  • Underhand or overhand throws
  • Can be used as a training tool for lacrosse
  • Made of durable and flexible plastic

Skills:

  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Work on focus and attention skills
  • Can facilitate social skills and good sportsmanship in children of all ages
  • Encourages both fine and gross motor skills
8. Crayola Chalk, (anti-roll design):

Yep, you read that right.  Good ole fashioned chalk is a fun way to entertain children in the great outdoors!  This particular set of sidewalk chalk is especially ideal for kiddos with special needs because of its anti-roll design.  The anti-roll design prevents it from rolling down driveways or other inclined surfaces, thus ensuring children stay put.

crayola anti-roll chalk

Features:

  • 72 piece chalk in 48 bold, vibrant Crayola colors
  • For outdoor sidewalk and driveway art
  • Chalk washes off with water
  • For children ages 4 and up

Skills:

  • Encourages creativity and imaginative play
  • Drawing and handwriting work on fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills (e.g. balance, coordination, etc.) can be improved if children draw hopscotch or create other game(s) with chalk
  • Turn-taking, sharing and other socialization skills can be practiced using chalk too!

So what are you waiting for?!  Let’s go outside!