My grandson, Henryk has autism. He is six-years-old and non-verbal. He goes to a special school to help him not only with education, but learning life skills, too. There are times during vacations that mom & dad need a break or help taking him on a special event or field trip. This is a great way for me, and any grandparent of a special needs child to help out. Below are several field trip ideas that, depending on your comfort level, you can take your grandchild to or accompany your adult child to help.
1. Trampoline Park
Head to the trampoline park to work on physical skills. It gives kids a chance to build and practice those gross motor skills in a controlled environment. Some trampoline parks will also coordinate games, especially if you come with a group, so be sure to inquire about that option. Bring your camera as there are sure to be plenty of laughs and smiles!
2. Go to See a Movie
If your grandkids have sensory issues, call the theater ahead of time and arrange to have the theater turn down the volume of the movie. Explain the need for more lighting as well so that they don’t dim the lights completely.
Arrange a Zumba class at the local community center or gym and take your grandchild to for a fun hour of dancing. They will have the opportunity to work on their gross motor skills while trying something new and different. Be prepared with water bottles as they will need to hydrate!
Head to the bowling alley for a fun day of bowling. Your grandkids can practice their math skills, tying shoes, social skills when ordering their shoes, and even sequencing by keeping track of whose turn it is to bowl. For some, this may be the first time bowling, so be sure to prepare them ahead of time for the noise of the lanes and the slickness of the bowling floor.
5. Grocery Store
The grocery store makes for a wonderful field trip as it allows kids to plan a meal out ahead of time and then shop for the ingredients they need. It is great to do this around holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Older kids get to work on budgeting, portion requirements and working together. For students who need visual cues, get their ingredients list ahead of time and snap pictures at the store of the items they should look for. When they get back to school with their items, cook the recipes they wanted to prepare, and then host a classroom feast!
6. Out to Eat
Learning how to behave in a restaurant is a social skill that kids need to learn. Not only will you be able to practice behavior expectations within the community, but add ordering a meal, using manners, paying for a service, and appropriate eating habits to the list of skills your grandkids will get first-hand experience practicing.
7. Go Fishing
Take your grandkids out for a day of fishing and a picnic lunch. Maybe they have never been fishing, so this first-time experience will be a big hit.
Whether you are venturing out on your own with your special needs grandchild or accompanying them with their parents, field trips can be great opportunities for growth – for all involved!