School is officially over, parents can relax on the homeschooling aspect of life, and kids of all abilities can get outside and enjoy the summer sun…mostly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly changed our ability to interact in the usual ways with friends and family and many Canadians have already opted not to travel extensively for the summer of 2020. The B.C. government is encouraging families to travel within the province, but going outside of comfort zones is still a concern for most. The reality is staycation day trips and activities will be the norm for some time.
With no travel to prep for and many summer camps heading to the virtual realm, what else can you do with the family? For children and youth with developmental disabilities, making the transition from school to summer can mean a change in routine. That transition isn’t always easy, but there are projects you can do that appeal to those with or without developmental disabilities.
Those on the autism spectrum often like collecting their favourite things. Find something to collect; rocks, bottle caps, take pictures of different but related things to organize in a folder on your computer. This gets the family outside and takes advantage of social distancing rules.
Go for a hike!
Here in B.C. we are blessed with a literal spider web network of trails and climbs that help get us in touch with nature and the great Pacific Northwest. Some developmental disabilities come with physical limitations so make sure you research which trails are more accessible. In case you didn’t know, Stanley Park has reopened to traffic.
Inside or out, good old fashioned hide and seek or board games, play that involves critical thinking, memory, and coordination is key to growth and development in any child. Building puzzles together helps maintain focus and patience.
Putting together a big and involved meal doesn’t have to mean waiting for the holidays. This can be a day-long event if a berry pie is on the menu. Fortunately, in the Lower Mainland, we often have the option of picking the fruit (strawberries for example) and then creating the baked goods later in the day. Due to COVID, many local farms are employing strict social distancing measures even when it comes to harvesting your bounty.
DDA has no shortage of fantastic artists both young and old. Art inspires the imagination and allows for the development of fine motor skills and manual dexterity. Speaking of art, the Vancouver Art Gallery is open for business.
Keep the COVID calls coming!
If your social bubble has not expanded yet make sure your child remains connected to friends and family through Skype, Zoom and Facetime calls. Schedule play dates where possible within your bubble.
Go for that proverbial Sunday drive!
Nothing screams social distancing like staying in the car as a family. There are lots of great drives in B.C., like going up the Sea to Sky highway or even popping over to Bowen Island. With provincial parks back open there are many places to stop and have a family picnic.
The B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan is another great option to practice social distancing. Take a train ride while learning about forestry in B.C.