Summer Outdoor Activities to Try in 2023

Enjoy These Outdoor Summer Activities for Kids with Special Needs

As the summer approaches, parents of children with special needs might be looking for ways to keep their children engaged and entertained. Summer outdoor activities provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather while promoting physical activity, sensory exploration, and socialization.

At The Deron School, we understand the importance of providing inclusive activities for children with special needs. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of outdoor summer activities for kids with special needs.

Sensory Walks

Sensory walks are a great way to engage your child’s senses and promote exploration of the natural world. As you walk, encourage your child to touch different textures like tree bark, grass, and flowers. You can also point out different colors, shapes, and patterns in the environment. Consider bringing a nature guide or identification chart to help your child learn about other plants and animals.

Pack a sensory kit with sunglasses, noise-canceling headphones, or a fidget toy to make the walk more comfortable for your child. You can also adjust the length and pace of the walk to accommodate your child’s energy levels and sensory needs.

Water Play Activities

Water play is a fun and refreshing way to beat the heat during the summer months. In addition to traditional activities like splashing and swimming, you can incorporate sensory elements like bubbles, water beads, or ice cubes. These elements can help your child explore different textures and temperatures while developing fine motor skills.

If your child hesitates to get in the water, consider starting with activities like pouring water or using water guns to create a more gradual introduction. You can also incorporate toys or objects your child enjoys, such as boats or rubber ducks.

Outdoor Games

Outdoor games are a fantastic way to get kids up and moving while developing social skills. Many classic games can be adapted to accommodate children with special needs. For example, you can modify the tag by playing it in a smaller area, using a slower pace, or having a “freeze” rule. You can also incorporate sensory play into games, adding tactile elements like balls or bean bags.

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Nature scavenger hunts are a great way to promote problem-solving skills and attention to detail. To create a scavenger hunt, list items for your child to find in the environment, such as a particular type of flower, a specific rock color, or a particular animal. Encourage your child to use all their senses to help them locate the items.

If your child is sensitive to sensory input, consider creating a more detailed list or using pictures instead of words. You can also adapt the scavenger hunt to be more inclusive by incorporating items that reflect your child’s interests or background.


Picnics are a fun and inclusive activity that can be tailored to your child’s interests and abilities. Consider involving your child in the planning and preparation to make it even more engaging. Let them choose what snacks or sandwiches to pack, or have them help create a checklist of necessary items.

When choosing a location for your picnic, look for a spot with accessible amenities like picnic tables or a nearby bathroom. If your child is sensitive to sensory input, consider bringing noise-canceling headphones or a sensory-friendly blanket to create a calm environment.

Choose The Deron School

We hope these ideas inspire you to create fun and inclusive outdoor activities for your child with special needs. Remember, the most important thing is to follow your child’s lead and make adaptations as needed to ensure their safety and enjoyment. Contact us today to learn more about what The Deron School can do for your special needs child.

Join us at Kean University on Saturday, April 13, 2024 for Connor's Game at 1pm!
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