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When you’re taking care of a child of all abilities, teaching them important life skills can be challenging as they see the world differently and understand things in their own way.

Children with conditions such as dyslexia, autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (This link will take you to a page on the healthdirect website about ADHD) may often have difficulty picking up certain social cues and developing important skills as compared to their peers.

This often leads to these children having low self-esteem and feeling like they don’t belong. With the proper approach, however, you can teach children of all abilities these essential skills and social cues.

Many children of all abilities learn by doing, so skill-building activities for children of all abilities are an effective way to teach children under your care important skills that they’ll need in life. 

Here is a guide to skill-building activities for children of all abilities to help them develop their skills and boost their confidence and self-esteem.

Drama

Acting is a good way for children of all abilities to learn new behaviours in a fun and exciting way. 

Through acting, the children under your care can improve their social skills by learning how to perform with their peers. Also, reading scripts can help them strengthen their vocabulary and overcome reading impairments. 

Other aspects of drama, like scriptwriting, can help the children under your care flex their creative muscles and communicate their feelings and ideas in a new and exciting way. 

Additionally, children of all abilities will feel a strong sense of belonging when given the chance to perform with their peers and will be able to build more confidence.

The “Name game”

This is a fun communication activity for children of all abilities, especially for those who will be starting school soon. It’s a simple game where children are asked to say their names and then point at another child and try to remember what their name is.

The name game is an easy way for children of all abilities to learn how to socialise with their peers and feel more confident when introducing themselves to new people. It’s also a good icebreaker for students of all abilities (This link will take you to a blog post on the Shine SC website about making schools more accessible for students of all abilities) when they join a new class.

Emotion cards

Many children of all abilities may not perceive emotions the way others do. In some cases, they may not be familiar with facial expressions that are associated with certain emotions, like anger, sadness, and embarrassment.

Draw faces showing different emotions on flashcards and create a small deck. Then ask the children under your care to draw a card from the deck and teach them what the expression shown on the card means.

Later show the cards one at a time to the children under your care to see how many emotions they can identify correctly. It may take a few tries, but this is all a part of the learning process.

Sorting

Sorting activities can teach children of all abilities to identify groups of objects by shape, colour, and purpose. Start with three coloured boxes and ask the children under your care to put small objects of the corresponding colour into them. 

Then make it a bit more challenging by asking them to place objects in the boxes based on their purpose. For instance, placing toys in one box and books in another. 

Sorting can also help children of all abilities to learn how to become organised by encouraging them to put away their things once they’re done playing or studying.

 

Cooking 

Let the children under your care explore their creativity through cooking. Teach them how to prepare simple menus using a few ingredients.

Following recipes can help children of all abilities learn sequences and they can also develop their social skills by working together with their peers to craft a recipe. As their skills grow, you can encourage them to try more complex recipes.

 

Adaptive sports

For children with physical impairments, adaptive sports are a good way to teach them how to work in a team, help them learn proper hand-eye coordination, and show them how to stay physically active.

These sports are specially designed for children with specific physical impairments, such as paraplegia, and they include:

  • Adaptive track and field
  • Adaptive basketball
  • Adaptive swimming
  • Adaptive tennis

Before letting the children under your care take part in these sports, make sure to speak with their physician to find out what kind of sport is suitable for them.

 

Art and crafts

Through arts and crafts, children of all abilities can hone their fine motor skills and exercise their creative muscles. Children with conditions like autism may even utilise arts and crafts as a way to communicate their feelings in ways they can’t verbally. 

Also, working with clay can teach them to identify shapes and proportions.

 

The “What would you do?” game

Some children of all abilities with intellectual impairments may have trouble understanding various social situations and not know how to respond to them.

Write down a few simple scenarios on flashcards and teach the children under your care what they should do when faced with them. Then shuffle the cards and randomly pick one scenario and ask them what they would do.

For example, a scenario could be “A friend is feeling sad”. The answer should be something like “Ask them if they would like to play”.

Learn more about activities for children of all abilities

Developing essential skills at a young age will greatly benefit children of all abilities during their academic careers and their adult years. Finding new ways to help children of all abilities develop new skills, however, can be difficult to do on your own, especially if you’re not sure where to start. 

By working with an all abilities support provider in your area, you can discover new ways to teach and enrich the lives of the children under your care. Speak to your nearest all abilities support provider today!

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