Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the brain that causes challenges with muscle control. Though severity may differ from person to person cerebral palsy is a neurodevelopmental disease which interferes with the brains ability to communicate with the nerves hence symptoms vary from mild to severe. There are many causes of cerebral palsy either pre-birth or post birth. Parents should know that cerebral palsy does not get worse with age.
Kids with cerebral palsy can engage in activities that allow them to enjoy, learn and slowly grow their motor skills and strengthen muscles. The activities performed must consider the child’s capabilities and restrictions. Allow to engage in simple play while challenging them slowly to develop fine motor skills, social skills and cognition.
Kids are a bundle of energy, they need to be stimulated with good content and keep physically active as much as possible. Parents and caregivers should know that this with Good diet, spiritual growth and social interaction helps to develop your child with cerebral palsy into a wholesome person. This way all activities benefit the child by molding their unique personality and interests. Here is a list of great activities
- Playing with toys
Kids learn mostly through play and repetition, best play activities for cerebral palsy kids include:
Games and building puzzles help a child’s brain develop by knowing what pieces go where. It helps a child with shapes, defining space, colors when fitting puzzles in place. Sometimes getting it wrong is good as it helps children learn how to express frustration. Sensory boards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Board games are a great social activity for your family to interact and appreciate your child’s accomplishments
Toys for cerebral palsy kids are more or less toys for other children. What you should be keen to look for is durability and softness. As kids develop fine motor skills they may drop the toys but worry not as with time and consistency they develop grip. Get toys with big pieces and bold colors that the child will enjoy.
Stacking toys is a great way to improve balance and coordination. You can use building blocks, letter blocks or magnetic stack blocks for kids with cerebral palsy. This is best done when child is not alone so you can celebrate every block or toy stacked
Kitchen toys are a fantastic way for your child to imitate what you do in the kitchen. He /she can scoop and chop and cook with their toys while you prepare meals, it also is a great environment to bond with your child
- Artwork and crafts
Give your child time to enjoy their creative side by engaging in activities such as
Drawing – A chalk board wall where they can draw on using chalk or a book with crayons when they are babies can be traded in for paint brushes and canvas as they grow older.
Beading is a great activity that is highly encouraged even in schools. When a child with cerebral palsy tries holding small objects like beads their concentration is high while they are able to develop their finger and hand skills.
Modelling using edible dough, scrapbooking and sticking cut outs can be a great way of enjoying their play time. With time the child will have developed a great imagination and interests based on what you expose him or her to. Anything your child enjoys should be on their routines and is a channel for child’s emotions.
Music activates brain cells and allows children to express their joy. Simple movements like tapping fingers or moving their heads to the beat of their favorite song. Music can also be a tool to learn names, objects, words, colors and memorize different daily activities. Music activities can be done alone or in a group hence developing child’s social skills. By repeating words and syllables over and over there can be great strides in language development.
Playing musical instruments such as drums, guitar or piano some toys instruments are enhanced to produce light and sound helps enhance this enjoyment further. However take caution with regards to loud pitchy music as it affects children negatively.
These boosts confidence while strengthening muscles. It is a great way for your child to learn to set goals and have realistic expectations. Sports should be made adaptive to the child’s physical activities
Tossing a ball into a basket or bucket is a simple way of enjoying sport, it is an avenue for other family members and kids to join in. it’s a great way to develop social skills and learn to take turns,. By having others engage the child is able to develop independence and a sense of pride in achievement. Balloon
Swimming helps child develop movements, as your child floats on water the buoyancy in water helps them move easily. Repeatedly swimming helps to strengthen the muscles in the neck arms and legs. It can also be a great social activity for your child.
- Outdoor activities
Splashing on a hot summer day is fantastic to cool off. Provide a basin with water, a bucket and a cup to scoop and splash and enjoy being near water. It feels good on the skin. Foaming the water allows the child to experience different textures and improve muscle control as they close and open the grip of their hand.
Family outings Take your child out for with their wheelchair or a road trip, go to the zoo or museum. There are many places you can go to so that they can enjoy being outside, seeing trees and birds. This is a great way to relieve any stress. As long as a place is accessible by wheelchair, take the initiative to enjoy a day out for lunch or in the park as a family. Let your child develop curiosity and interests by exposing them to different things
Sand pits are a great way for your child to develop their sense of touch and feel. Let them scoop sand into a bucket and pour it. Kinetic sand feels like real sand but doesn’t stick, have an area where your child can build different things and can be used indoors.
- Meal preparations
This is a great way to spend time as a family preparing meals. Have your child help you with things like preparing vegetables, setting time for the oven, preparing dough balls, salad decorations, decorating plates, mixing herbs and spices as you are doing the actual cooking.
This encourages kids to develop their feeling and coordination, helps in eating healthier and that also increases involvement.
Using a computer, tablet or phone is a great way for your child to enjoy time. Ensure its educative child friendly entertainment and limit screen time for kids as it affects their cognitive developments. Reading, typing a story, recording audio content are great ways to give your child a good start to using basic technology.