Modifying Easter Activities for Your Special Needs Child

Tired of your child coming back with an empty basket at Easter egg hunts? Is regular egg decorating too difficult for your child? Here are modified or alternative activities you can do with your child this Easter.

Easter Egg Hunt
An egg hunt is not fun if you never get the chance to find an egg. If this is your child, consider not attending your town’s local egg hunt and do your own. Here’s how:

Egg Hunt for Just Your Children
Hide your eggs in your own home or backyard. Consider having the eggs out in the open to make them easy to find. If you have several children in your home, select one color for each child. This ensures that everyone will get the same amount of eggs.

For children in wheelchairs, hide mini eggs and trinkets in a plastic container full of riceor Easter basket grass that is at table level, try using the tray on their standing frame. This is also a fun activity for kids working on sensory issues. For children with vision impairments, you can now purchase beeping or talking Easter eggs.

Work on Skills While Having Fun
Older children may enjoy a treasure hunt. Write clues on how to find deeply hidden Easter eggs. This is a good exercise for children learning to follow step by step instructions or working on vocabulary skills. Children can follow a series of clues (e.g. First clue: Look under the potted plant in the kitchen) or put together a riddle format (e.g. I’m hiding behind a small appliance that makes things toasty).  If done indoors, this would be a great activity to use a mobile stander to search for eggs…remember to hide them at eye level.

Neighborhood Egg Hunt
If you like the social aspect of the big egg hunt, you can host your own egg hunt for very little money. Invite your neighbors with kids to a backyard Easter egg hunt. Have every family drop off 14 filled eggs before the day of the hunt. Hide these eggs in your yard (ask your neighbor if you can use their yard to make the hunting space larger).

Remind kids that the rule is to find 14 eggs and no more. This allows everyone the fun of getting eggs. If you have it in your budget, put a number inside a few eggs. The kids can turn in these numbers for a small gift. This adds a little extra excitement to the egg hunt.

Educate the Community
Don’t have an accessible egg hunt in your area? Educate your local park district or other organizations hosting these events. Special needs children deserve to have just as much fun as other kids. Outline the needs of individuals with your child’s disability. Then follow up with a phone call. One person or local disability group can make a difference in their neighborhood. All it takes is one well placed call or email.

Special Diets
Children with juvenile diabetes, Celiac disease, food allergies and other dietary restrictions have a tough time on Easter with all the chocolate bunnies and eggs. Here are some gluten free and non-candy alternative treats. Also check out some ideas for what to do with all that leftover candy.

Decorating Easter eggs with special needs kidsDecorating Easter Eggs
Trying to pick up an Easter egg with those little metal egg holders is difficult for all kids, let alone the child with fine motor difficulties. Here are some alternative ideas. Use a crayon on a warm egg to make melted color designs. Try sponge-painting, stickers glitter or stencils. Click here for more ideas on decorating Easter eggs.

Meeting the Easter Bunny
Some kids, especially those in preschool, have big anxieties about meeting the Easter bunny.  It’s difficult for them to separate fantasy from reality. Never force your child to meet that giant furry thing with ears if he doesn’t want to. On the opposite side are children who still believe in the Easter bunny well beyond other children their age. It is a delicate task to break the news about the Easter bunny. And the day you do should also be the day you tackle Santa and the tooth fairy. Here is an article on breaking the news with your child along with a social story on passing traditions.

Easter Activities
Looking for fun Easter activities with your child?  Here are lots of resources! Plus click here for kid-friendly Easter Bible stories.

What fun Easter activities do you do with your kids? How do you modify those activities to meet your child’s specific needs?

Reprinted with permission from One Place for Special Needs.

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass

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