For children dealing with dyspraxia, the playground can seem like a daunting place. Lots of people running around and different pieces of equipment to contend with.
But there are activities which can help those with the condition. Some playground games even encourage improvements in motor skills for kids with dyspraxia. Read on to learn more and see our ideas for activities on the school playground.
What is Dyspraxia?
Dyspraxia is a condition which affects physical coordination. It’s also known as developmental coordination disorder (DCD). The condition causes children to have issues with daily physical tasks. Sufferers tend to lack the motor skills expected for their age, which can lead them to act clumsily.
It’s a physical learning disability which doesn’t affect overall intelligence. But those affected have trouble with everyday tasks and actions. Activities requiring balance, muscle strength and coordination generally pose the biggest challenges. Visit the Dyspraxia Foundation to learn more.
Things children with dyspraxia might find difficult include:
- Getting dressed
- Brushing teeth
How Do You Know If a Child Has Dyspraxia?
There are a few things to look out for if you think your child or pupil might have dyspraxia. Early diagnosis is important in helping kids get the support they need. Below are some of the signs to be aware of:
- Struggling to hold a knife and fork or eating messily
- Difficulty holding pens and pencils
- Avoiding taking part in playground games or PE
- Problems with hopping, skipping and jumping
- Trouble with organisation and completing tasks on time
- Handwriting may appear less mature than other children of the same age
Playground Ideas for Pupils with Dyspraxia
When it comes to playground games there are a few different types that can be beneficial for children with dyspraxia. Developing gross motor skills is an important part of dealing with DCD, and certain activities can help with this. It’s vital to provide an inclusive play area which is suitable for different levels of ability.
Check out some of our ideas below for games to play on the school playground.
Equipment in the playground can be laid out in an obstacle course which children navigate around. This could include fixed equipment like trim trails, or movable equipment like hurdles and tunnels. Trim trails can improve physical development as well as being a fun and exciting feature in the play area.
These help to boost a range of skills including balance, muscle strength and coordination. The course can be altered to suit children’s different abilities and to help teachers measure development.
Dancing is a fun way to let children express themselves and do physical activity at the same time. You could encourage children to make up their own routines or simply freestyle and do whatever steps they like.
A playground stage is a great piece of equipment for something like this. They can also be used for putting on plays or other performances that pupils make up. Alternatively, playground markings are ideal for creating a dance space. These can include a range of shapes and instructions on the ground.
Giving children the option to make up their own routines makes the activity more fun. This makes less confident individuals want to participate more.
There are no limits when it comes to imaginative play for children. Not only can these improve thinking skills, they also help kids develop physically. Completing different actions such as hopping like a bunny, swinging like a monkey etc. create a more fun way to do physical activities.
Practising tasks like these will help to strengthen muscles and improve coordination over time. It’s a great thing for any child to do, not just those with dyspraxia.
For dyspraxic children, balance and coordination can be particularly challenging. It’s a good idea to encourage simple balancing activities which help strengthen these skills.
Starting on flat ground may be the safest option for those with a physical condition. You could start off by asking the child to walk slowly with one foot in front of the other. Then you can gradually increase the challenge by moving onto elevated surfaces.
These could include bridges, balance beams, stepping stones and more. But always make sure that playground safety surfacing is available in the area to create a softer landing if there is a fall.
There are so many different types of playground markings you could have installed to your play area. These are great for educational games and stimulating children to come up with their own activities.
You can choose from a range of brightly coloured designs which are encouraging and fun for children. A few options include:
- Activity trails
- Fitness courses
- Number and letter games
- Geometric shapes
These can help kids with balance and coordination. They are also good fun on the playground.
Find Out More
Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information on making your playground a friendly place for children with dyspraxia. There are so many different types of equipment and games you could implement.
Simply fill in our contact form or call today to speak to an expert about the costs and designs.