Making summer magical for our kids with special needs sounds like a worthy goal, doesn’t it? But many parents dread the arrival of summer for legitimate reasons. It’s hard to navigate the tricky bits of summer: find day care, keep kids busy all day long, and stretch dollars to pay for summer fun.

It’s also hard to remember how much kids look forward to summer. To do so, we have to think back to what made our childhood summers magical: long expanses of time to play, explore, read, and dream; riding bikes after supper on long summer evenings or going swimming on hot afternoons; going to camp or on family vacations.

My childhood memories motivated me as a mom—and now as a grandma—to manufacture a little magic every summer for the kids in my life. Through trial and error, using my own children and the students in my classroom as guinea pigs, I discovered a simple strategy for sprinkling pixie dust on ordinary activities to make them seem magical. All I had to do was change the name. Here’s how it works.

Tell the kids you’re going on a treasure hunt.

Make a list of hidden nature treasures: a bird’s nest, a feather, weed seeds, a yellow flower, five rabbits, an acorn, etc. Have your kids look for the treasures on the way to and from the park. As they get older, let them make the list. Voilá, an ordinary trip to the park has been transformed for kids at different stages of development.

Rebrand cooking as chemistry class.

This name change appeals to older kids, and it’s no lie. Cooking, especially baking, is chemistry. Mix cookie dough, put it on the baking sheet, and pop it in the oven—with or without a magic word, depending on your child’s developmental level. While the goodies bake, talk about how the heat will change the dough. Do an internet search of “cookie baking chemistry” and you’ll find plenty of resources to explore together. Suddenly, mastering the important life skill of cooking is filled with wonder and science.

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Source: Special Needs Parenting- Key Ministry

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