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Play At Home

All of us here at Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration are here to support you during the COVID-19 health crisis. We know stress this pandemic has placed on our lives. It has been difficult to create a sense of normalcy. Children with disabilities often require an array of essential services which support their educational and physical development. These services have been cut significantly at this time, presenting the potential for a profound negative impact on the children we serve.

So, we created over 60 ideas to help spark playful learning, therapies, and fun projects in your home. Our Professional Advisory Board members and partners share ideas to help our families at home. We hope to be back on the playground again soon, but until then, we hope these ideas will guide you in ways to play together at home. We will continue to add new posts, so check back for updates.

Inclusion Matters

As we look out today at our ever-growing divided world, we realize how powerful the mission of inclusion is for our children.  Inclusion creates an invaluable opportunity to see beyond our differences, to begin to discover how many similarities we share. 

Sand Play

Kids can spend hours playing with sand. As summer begins, it’s important to get kids outdoors. So, give them sand to dig, pour, sift, scoop and use their imagination. Sand play provides a great sensory opportunity for tactile learning. And it’s fun!

Picnic & Play in your own Backyard

We have all been social distancing for months now, but children with disabilities experience this on a regular basis. So, as we start seeing friends again, we encourage you to include children with special needs. Being included will mean so much to them!

Moving Your Motor Skills

A child’s way of learning is in the form of play. It may look different with every child, but all children encounter the opportunity for motor and sensory development! Kids are often activating a bundle of skills just by using their sense of space and body.

Down for Dance

Down for Dance (DFD) is a nonprofit organization and dance program for individuals with Down syndrome – along with other physical and intellectual disabilities. Get your day moving and express yourself with their great hip hop warm-up!

How to be a Great Buddy

Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration creates inclusive playgrounds and educational programs for children of ALL abilities. We then support children on how to meaningfully connect with one another and be a good buddy. Our B.U.D.D.Y. poster provides 5 tips!

Niv Ashkenazi on the Impact of Music

Virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi has captivated audiences with his heartfelt musicianship and emotional performances. As a member of our Professional Advisory Board, Niv shares his thoughts on the importance of music for kids of all abilities and ages.

Let’s Play Pretend

Play can help children develop their imagination. When they pretend and imagine things, they’re becoming creative thinkers.  That’s a great tool for problem-solving in school and in life.  Imagination can also help children with reading comprehension.

Play with Slime

Slime is so much fun to play with. It’s squishy, slimy, and super-sensory! Slime is also science, so introduce slime as a play activity and sneak in a chemistry lesson, too. This is a great hands-on experiment that lets kids be messy. And kids love messy!

Water Play

Memorial Day typically marks the opening of public pools. However, with social distancing in effect, pools remain closed. So, we have some tips for water play! From backyard water games to indoor water activities, your kids can still have some summer fun!

The Power of Inclusive Play

When children play, great things happen! Play is packed with physical activity, sensory exploration, social-emotional learning, and cognitive development. It’s a fun way to exercise the brain without it feeling like work! The power of play benefits ALL children!

Why Your Child Should Hula Hoop

Hula hoops are simple, inexpensive toys that can provide a fun way to burn calories, strengthen muscles, and improve coordination for kids of all abilities and ages. Hula hoop moves connect brain and body, so it’s perfect for those with ADHD, ADD, and Autism.

Adaptive PE & Play Spaces at Home

Imagination and play go hand in hand. Creating play spaces to unlock imagination comes natural to children. It’s just as important as the play itself. And you can reimagine places in your home, no matter how small, for adaptive PE activities.

The Magic of Play with Alain Nu

We all love magic. From a very early age we are drawn to what we don’t understand. We want to discover the tricks. Let your sense of wonder light up your day with this special performance from Alain Nu, “The Man Who Knows.”

Storytime with Books and Cookies

Children who are introduced to reading at a young age tend to read earlier and excel in school. Try using multiple learning styles—visual, auditory, tactile, musical, kinesthetic, and more. See our friends at Books and Cookies share a book, “Be Who You Are.”

Play Like a Superhero

Superheroes come in all abilities! During these challenging times, empowerment is the important tool our young superheroes can use to thrive at home. They may need a little extra reinforcement and boosts to keep their minds strong and healthy.

Animal Therapy & Playing with Pets

Cuddling with pets or feeling a desire to interact with the animals in our environment can bring an immediate sense of calm and balance. That’s because our brains release chemicals that help combat any feelings of stress or anxiety at that moment.

Dress-Up Play is Fun Therapy

Getting dressed may be a simple task for most of us, but for our friends with sensory or mobility challenges, it may difficult. Teaching a child with special needs to dress independently has many benefits. So, let’s get creative and make dress-up play fun!

Play with a Purpose

We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym is a sensory gym franchise that is committed to providing a safe, nurturing, and fun environment for our kids by providing the support and amazing sensory gym equipment to create these safe spaces.

Take a Virtual Field Trip

Teaching kids from home can be a bit bumpy and boring, at times, for the whole family. Virtual field trips can lighten the load and provide learning while having fun. We’ve sourced out some wonderful sites that provide links for virtual field trips.

Over the Rainbow with Evan Ruggiero

Meet Evan Ruggiero, a Drama Desk-nominated actor, singer, one-legged tap dancer, and motivational speaker based in New York City. We honored Evan with our Courageous Spirit Award at our gala last year where he performed live with Grammy winner Jason Mraz.

Celebrating Your Special Mom

This Mother’s Day at home will be like no other we’ve had before, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as special! We just need to be a little more creative and come up with some playful ways to celebrate moms! Read this Letter to the Mom of a Child with a Disability from the Mighty.

Turning Clean-Up Time into Play Time

We have all been spending a LOT of time in our homes lately. Let’s invite the kids to help tidy up and make it fun for them! Household chores can be started with very young children, including those with special needs. Helping around the house can be playful.

Teens for Social Inclusion

Being included is important to everyone, no matter what their age or ability. Inclusion Matters. That’s why we created Teens for Social Inclusion, a volunteer mentor program that teaches children how to be buddies with friends of different abilities.

Creating Playful Messages

Right now is a perfect time to teach your kids about gratitude and how to create thoughtful messages. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, Nurse Appreciation Week, and Mother’s Day! They will have fun making playful messages for our essential workers, too.

Activities to Get Kids Moving

Looking to fulfill your child’s physical education requirements or seeking a playful workout that your kids can do at home? Our friends at Disney Family, The OT Toolbox, and Pink Oatmeal have put together some helpful videos, ideas, and downloadables to guide you and your family.

Support Learning Slump Through Play

Are you feeling a lull in the COVID-19 learning at home? Play can help lift the learning and make it fun for everyone! Family members can support the learning virtually, while providing variety for parents and kids alike. Check out how play can help any learning slump.

Star Wars May the 4th

The Force is strong today, as friends of all abilities and galaxies unite for #StarWarsDay! We are celebrating from home through exciting activities packed with your favorite characters and adventures from far, far away. #Maythe4th be with you!

Storytime with Four Bears In A Box

Are your kids getting bored at home? Well, we have a special story to share that will entertain and inspire kids of all abilities to use their imagination! Some very talented artists have brought the book, “Four Bears In A Box” to life in this video.

Spinning, Swinging & Swaying

Have you ever tried spinners on the playground and felt an immediate awareness of your whole body? Swinging, swaying, spinning, and climbing activate a part of your sensory system, too. These types of input support your child’s development.