With summer around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about ways to keep your kids entertained and active in the midst of this new normal because of COVID19. I raised my kids from my wheelchair and remember the struggle of trying to find activities that I could do with them, rather than sitting on the sidelines. Whether you’re in a chair or your child(ren) are, here are indoor and outdoor activities.
Wheelchair tennis is a sport that can be played while we continue to practice social distancing. If you don’t have a tennis court near your neighborhood, you could hit the ball with your kids on the driveway or the back patio. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except the ball is allowed to bounce twice. I enjoyed being able to play tennis with my able-bodied family members. For more information about wheelchair tennis go to the NCHPAD website by clicking here
Sport wheelchairs move easily due to the angle of the tires. There is a freedom of movement that you have in a sports chair that you don't feel in a regular wheelchair. If you're interested in a multisport wheelchair for your child look into the Motivation Multisport Junior. Numotion offers the Motivation Multisport Junior
in lots of sizes and colors, and it's perfect for tennis and many other sports.
Wheelchair cycling or hand cycling are both sports that kids with disabilities can practice in their neighborhoods while social distancing. There are two cycling options for kids with lower body mobility impairment. The first type is propelled by pushing the hand rims as you do with a regular wheelchair. This is an option for kids with good hand dexterity. You can ask your Numotion ATP about Invacare’s Top End pediatric racing wheelchair called the pediatric Preliminator
. The push rim type of cycle is typically the type used in Paralympic racing.
The second option for kids that want to start cycling is a handcycle that is propelled with a hand crank. Freedom Concepts makes an upright bike great for kids with Spina Bifida and other mobility impairments. The Freedom Concepts Upright bike is highly customizable. Hand cycling gives kids freedom and the ability to enjoy the outdoors on a nice summer day. Click here
to learn more about the Freedom Concepts Upright Handcycle.
Cycling of any kind is an excellent cardiovascular workout, strengthens arms, core, and upper body muscles. I enjoy riding my handcycle in the neighborhood with my kids. I can handcycle for longer distances than I could travel by pushing my wheelchair. I am using different muscles, which helps to prevent repetitive strain injuries caused by years of pushing a manual wheelchair. Your Numotion ATP can help you find the handcycle that will work best for your child.
Exploring Rough Terrain
Most wheelchairs don’t roll well on rough terrain. I had the chance to use the Grit Freedom Chair at an Abilities Expo last year and it plows through grass and gravel. Grit Freedom Chairs allows wheelchair users to enjoy the great outdoors independently. As local and state parks start to reopen, an all-terrain chair would be a fun way for the family to get outside, while continuing to observe social distancing. Grit makes all-terrain wheelchairs for kids of all ages- click here
for more information.
If you can't attend camp in person this year, try virtual camp! Many organizations are scheduling fun activities for kids to participate in online. For example, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has nationally decided to not hold in person camps, but will have virtual summer camps, and allow the campers to connect virtually with their friends and camp counselors. The MDA has also posted a list of fun family activities, like having family game night and making s'mores in the backyard or the microwave. To see the list click here.
Virtual Visits to the Libraries, Museums, Naional Parks, Zoos & Aquariums
You can find lots of fun online tours!
- Libraries - In addition to online books, libraries offer educational games and host virtual reading events.
- Museums - Did you know that you can take your kids on a virtual trip to the Louvre in Paris? You could even have a whole day of activities teaching them about French culture. Spend some time in the kitchen teaching them how to make French bread or some croissants.
- National Parks - Want to "get outside"? Take a tour of Yellowstone Park.
- Zoos & Aquariums - Watch the Beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium.
While this summer will be different from any other we have experienced, it can still be a summer filled with great memories. We can all choose to look at this extra time with our family as a gift. It takes some creativity to keep things interesting within the borders of our houses and neighborhoods, but it's possible. Spending time outside is good for our mental health, so soak up some sunshine!