Activities for kids with cerebral palsy to encourage movement can drastically improve a child’s skills both physically and mentally over time.
But what things should you do?
There are many activities to benefit your child focused on:
- Fine motor skills
- Strength and coordination
- Confidence and independence
Whether that’s playing music, going to the zoo, or getting crafty, the sky’s the limit with the engaging activities you can try!
With that said, we’ve narrowed it down to 8 of our favorite activities that are super fun for kids with cerebral palsy.
Benefit: Cooking stimulates creativity teaching a child to develop their mental skills and fine motor skills.
Whipping up delicious treats is a fun bonding activity to do together!
Allow your child to get involved with you as much as possible in the kitchen.
Begin your cooking session with designated “kid-friendly” utensils for them to use.
Set the tone for a fun cooking experience. It’s OK to get a little messy and silly. 🙂
If you need safe kitchen utensils that are kid-friendly, we recommend the adorable set below!
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Benefit: To enhance hand-eye coordination and fine motor development.
Crafts are a fantastic hands-on activity to develop a child’s fine motor functions like hand strength.
Here are three easy and cost-effective craft activities to inspire creative play.
Torn Paper Texture Art
Allow your child to get a little messy during this playful activity.
Have your kiddo go wild tearing the construction paper into all shapes and sizes.
Take the glue stick to glue the torn pieces onto a separate sheet of paper.
Egg Carton Painting and Banana Stamping
- Egg carton
- One banana
Painting is a great way to focus on fine motor development, but holding a paintbrush may be difficult for a child with motor disabilities.
If that’s the case, a banana does the trick!
The thickness of the banana is much easier to grasp onto.
Simply cut the banana in half leaving the peel on.
Take the exposed end to dip into the non-toxic paint. If the banana becomes too sloppy while dipping, take a small piece of saran wrap to wrap around the exposed banana end.
If Your Child Has Skin Sensitivities: Try a non-toxic paint, especially if your kiddo has allergies or chemical sensitivities. For a fun sensory experience, use it as finger paint!
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Colorful Large Chalk
Drawing chalk is one of the best outdoor activities for kids to enjoy on a sunny day.
Draw outside on the sidewalk, driveway, or patio.
If mother nature doesn’t cooperate, get creative coloring on a chalkboard surface inside.
The colorful pieces of chalk help kids learn colors. Plus, it improves and develops hand muscle movements while grasping the chalk.
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Benefit: To improve fine skills and challenge cognitive thinking.
Music activities are a wonderful form of therapy to encourage a child to use their body movements while learning.
Music encourages children to…
- Move and groove
- Learn new words through lyrics
- Socially interact
- Concentrate and focus
- Play an instrument
Instrumental music playing is also an excellent sensory activity to strengthen upper body functions like the hand, arm, and finger muscles.
Fun and interactive instruments to play…
Could be the drums, tambourine, maraca, and piano.
The pure enjoyment of music creates an environment of optimism which has many perks both emotionally and physically!
With that said, you may be wondering what music tool to use?
‘The Boxiki Kids Musical Instrument’ is one of our favorites to boost fine motor functions. It’s a beautifully crafted 16-piece set that’s safe for kids. It includes an assortment of instruments to focus on hand strength like the tambourine, shakers, maracas, and wrist bells.
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Benefit: For kids with or without speech development delays, reading is one of the best activities to do to improve speech and communication skills.
Books are an inspiring learning activity to do together!
Reading to your child is a helpful way to improve numerous things like…
- Word development
- Imaginary play
- Focus and concentration
Get your child involved in reading with you by letting them flip the pages, name objects or characters they see in the book by pointing.
As your child points with their fingers and uses gestures, it supports language development.
Here’s a fun fact…when a child says their very first word, it is usually a word they have pointed to!
Benefit: Swimming gives a child permission to be playful in a safe and effective environment to strengthen motor functions.
A water activity, like swimming, is a blast to do any time of the year indoors or outdoors.
Cerebral Palsy kids benefit from swimming in a few ways…
- Gain confidence
- Feel independent
- A soothing form of therapy
- Promotes physical function and concentration
- The buoyancy of the water allows freedom to move (without placing stress on the muscles)
If you need a life vest, we recommend the ‘Stohlquist Child PFD Life Jacket’ for added safety and comfort if your child is between 30 to 50 pounds. Plus, it’s coast-guard approved!
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Benefit: Technology allows kids to perform daily activities that are non-verbal, have a speech disorder, or suffer from hearing loss.
In our innovative world that is rapidly changing, technology is a game-changer to help a child soar.
Let’s explore several technology devices (also known as enabling devices) to help a child communicate and socialize.
A child with cerebral palsy may experience loss of hearing.
An assistive device, like a hearing aid, can benefit communication in numerous ways…
- Express emotions
- Increase vocabulary
- Gain confidence
Keep in mind these devices can be measured to fit and grow from an early age into adulthood.
Talk it over with your child’s eye doctor if this is something you’re interested in.
Eye Tracking Software
This type of device allows you to communicate through controlled voice-generated software.
It allows kids to interact in numerous ways…
- Play computer games
- Go to school
- Express thoughts and feelings
A child with speech delays can become frustrated not being able to communicate their feelings and needs.
A communication board is a solution to help a child interact with those around them.
It’s a wonderful way to express yourself more freely without limitations.
Final Takeaway: Technology breaks barriers for a child to socialize, interact, and communicate.
7. Toys and Games
Benefit: An engaging way to boost learning, develop motor skills, and inspire imaginary play.
Toys and games are a fantastic way to promote mobility through play!
We have found that kids who experience motor delays or movement challenges benefit from these three popular toys and games:
Psst, you may already have these things in your home. 🙂
If you need an engaging activity to calm your child, play-doh is the must-have toy to keep on hand.
Plus, it’s a wonderful sensory activity to develop strength and control in the hands.
Several ways to encourage your child’s motor skills while playing with play-doh:
- Ask them to break apart pieces
- Create different figures (like rolling a ball or flattening into a pancake)
- Construct make-believe things like an island or your very own pizza
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To build upon a child’s thinking skills, sorting objects is a great game to play.
Choose colorful items like M&M’s or paper clips.
Sort them into baskets or small bowls by color, shape, or size.
Sorting games help kids identify colors, build visual perception and early math skills. Using jumbo paper clips may allow your child to grasp onto it easier.
Sticker books provide a creative outlet for kids to have fun while developing their finger muscles.
They are a great tool to use to motivate action because it forces you to pinch, pull, and move.
For instance, place a sticker on the top of your kiddo’s shoe to spark their interest to bend over.
There are so many ways to entice a variety of movements through sticker placement!
Final Takeaway: Stickers are a great way to practice neat pincer grasp skills. For kids who are Disney fans, we recommend the sticker book below since it most likely includes one of your child’s favorite characters. 🙂
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8. Visit a Park, Garden, or Zoo
Benefit: A wonderful activity for kids with anxiety, sensory issues, or who become easily overstimulated.
Is your child sensitive to noises or gets nervous around lots of people?
If you answered yes, a park, garden, or zoo would be a great activity to do.
These large open spaces help to prevent overstimulation. Plus, visiting a large outdoor space that isn’t overly crowded, is a great activity for kids with sensory issues.
Generally, the atmosphere is pretty peaceful and there’s a lot to explore.
Pack a picnic, take a bike ride, or enjoy some quiet one-on-one time with your precious one.
We want to wrap up by extending our gratitude to thank you for stopping by today!
What other fun activities do you suggest for kids with cerebral palsy?
We’d love to hear about it in the comments below. ♥
Was this information helpful to you? If so, you’d make our day by sharing it! 🙂
About the Author
Lindsey is the co-founder of The LENN Foundation and content creator of the Intensive Therapy for Kids blog.
When she isn’t busy playing Godzilla with her son or chasing around her mischievous Rottweiler pup, she loves creating experiences and memories with her loved ones (traveling, watching a good flick, trying new n’ yummy restaurants). Speaking of restaurants, one of her favs is Taco Bell!
Most of all, she is grateful for her supportive circle of family, friends, and to live out her passion for helping kids with Cerebral Palsy (like her sweet nephew Lenny).
If you’re curious about The LENN Foundation, you may see the kids’ helped and feel-good content here. ♥
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