Outdoor Activities for Kids of All Abilities to Enjoy Together, by Anne Jones

As the spring flowers emerge and flannel sheets are taken off the beds, it is exciting to get back outside and enjoy the warmer weather. With my son in a walker, I am always looking for outdoor play ideas or events in the local and extended community that
children of all abilities can experience together. I am sharing a few ideas as you make plans to adventure outside this spring and upcoming summer and would love to hear your suggestions too! This post contains affiliate links. Our ministry may receive a small commission when you purchase something through one of these links.

Enjoy an outdoor treasure or scavenger hunt.

During the winter “blues,” my daughter had fun hiding little treasures for each sibling and then giving them sequential clues they had to follow around the house to their treasures. This activity could easily be adapted to the backyard or to an accessible playground or walking trail. Scavenger hunts are another fun idea. These can be planned with a visual or word list of nature items to locate made ahead of time or made up on the spot using the letters of the alphabet. Playing “I Spy” is another way to turn a neighborhood walk into a fun game.

Explore accessible trails and National Parks.

Using trail apps or websites can help locate accessible trails in nature. Alinker Blog has information on these websites as well as links to the National Park Service’s accessibility information. Some National Parks as well as state parks are now offering all- terrain wheelchairs for individuals with mobility impairments to enjoy certain trails. The National Park Service has the Access Pass, a free pass open to individuals with permanent disabilities into over 2,000 federal recreation sites for the course of their life. All fourth graders can also get in free to National Parks and Historic sites through the Every Kid Outdoors Pass. It can be energizing to explore a new place, meet friends for a hike, and be out in the beauty of creation!

Play at inclusive playgrounds & fields.

Inclusive playgrounds and sports fields offer another opportunity for children of all abilities to enjoy the outdoors together. Inclusive playgrounds offer a rubber poured-in-place surface that is accessible to mobility devices and many include a wheelchair accessible swing as well as other accessible elements. Bring a picnic lunch along for another fun outdoor activity! Playing sports on an inclusive field may be another option for children of all abilities to enjoy a game together. Check with local park officials on usage regulations for inclusive fields when they are not in use. Some inclusive playgrounds or parks may offer events open to children of all abilities. Follow them on social media or sign up for emails to stay connected to events.

Play in water.

Check with beach or tourism offices to determine what local or destination beaches are accessible and if beach wheelchairs are available to borrow. Another option for children of all abilities to play together in water is through water sensory bin play. Set up a storage bin (long length but smaller height works best) outside on the ground or on top of a table and fill it with water. Add in water toys, plastic animals, or kitchen measuring cups for water play. For additional suggestions, Busytoddler.com adds pom poms to water bins and MacaroniKID gives instructions on how to build sailboats from pool noodles.

Bubble Fun

There is something magical about bubbles that entertain kids of all abilities and ages. For giant bubble play, HGTV’s website offers an idea how to make a large bubble wand at home as well as homemade bubble solution. Or a bubble machine can create a fun cloud of bubbles for dancing and play.

I hope this spring and summer finds you exploring the outdoors, taking new adventures, and enjoying the beautiful nature God created. Happy playing!

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