Summertime in Arizona is very hot and often restrictive in what we can reasonably do outside with our special needs children. Creativity is often needed in choosing activities that are suitable and takes into consideration their special needs. There aren’t a lot of options for younger children and sometimes cost is a factor. However, I have put together a list of some activities and excursions that will engage and be somewhat cost conscious.
Bank of America hosts free admission to specific museums once a month. If there are specific museums that you would love to take your child to, you should research when or if they are a part of this event. You will have to be a Bank of America customer in order to participate, but it is a great opportunity for you and your family to have fun. Be prepared to arrive early and stand in lines for the more popular sites. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix is one of these museums that participates and is often packed.
National Parks typically have one or two days of the year in which they have free admission to the general public. Take advantage of this perk and visit a park that interests you and your family. If you weren’t planning on taking a vacation because of funds, camping is a wonderful option. Keep in mind that you will need to plan ahead to make sure your child can be accommodated while traveling. Even if you can’t stay overnight in the park or if you have to stay in a hotel nearby, it is worth the trip for quality time and fun with your family. Although people are looking at taking more “staycations” this year due to higher gas prices and higher airlines fees, this is a low key trip and you get to enjoy a national treasure! Getting away from the stress of your everyday life will allow you and your family a needed breather and you can handle your life better.
Library excursions are also a great way to allow your child a way to escape the heat. Check your local library for hours as cities adjust times again now that they are approaching the end of their fiscal year in July. Many libraries often free activities like puppet shows, story times, and many other cool things that your local library can dream up. By exposing them to books and reading, you open up a new world of opportunities and imagination. All libraries are ADA compliant, so your child can participate in most activities with some accommodations, if needed.
Swimming programs in local parks and recreation are often low cost options for families to introduce their child to the water. If your child is unable to walk or has additional physical disabilities, this is a great opportunity for them to feel free. Many children and adults with physical disabilities have expressed how important it was for them to be in the pool and how it made them feel to be free to move around without their wheelchairs or other aids. Even if your child is fully able to walk, this allows them a chance to explore other senses and abilities. And, it’s fun!
Check out local churches, synagogues, and temples to see what summer activities they might have available for the general public. Some offer tumbling times or special activities that are free. Many are open to special needs children and can offer them additional activities geared toward their abilities. You will be very surprised by what is offered in the community. It’s a great time to meet other families who might be going through some of the same or similar challenges that you are experiencing.
Although it’s extremely hot here, you can find things that will allow your child to explore other activities that will allow them to learn and have fun in doing so. Be creative and enjoy your time with your child!