Games for Kids in Wheelchairs

by Zora Hughes

    Long gone are the days when kids with physical disabilities were separated and unable to participate in activities that able-bodied kids could. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find a physical activity that wheelchair-bound kids cannot do. Whether your child is in a wheelchair or has friends who are, you can adapt just about any type of physical activity to make it fun for kids of all abilities.

    Musical chairs is easily adaptable for wheelchairs. Instead of chairs, put large place mats down on the ground, spaced out so that wheelchairs can fit over each one. You should have one less place mat than there are kids. The kids push their wheelchairs around the place mats, and when the music stops, they must race to make sure their wheelchair is sitting over a place mat. The person without a place mat is eliminated and the game continues. The kids can also play red light, green light, with one child a few yards away from the rest. When she turns her wheelchair away from them and yells "green light," they must push towards her, and when she turns around and yells "red light," they must freeze. Anyone caught still moving has to go back to the beginning.

    Set up a fun obstacle course, preferably on an outdoor court for easy rolling. Put down cones and objects that the kids will have to grab. The kids must race through the course, maneuvering their wheelchairs in between cones without knocking them over, perhaps bending over to roll under a tall table, and tossing a ball through a large plastic hoop before racing back. You can also do this in team relays if you have enough kids. Other creative wheelchair races include rolling backwards and doing a wheelchair chain, where team members have to hold on to the backs of each other's wheelchairs while going through an obstacle course.

    Kids in wheelchairs can easily play common sports such as basketball and softball with some modifications. In fact, you can find wheelchair sports associations for kids in many communities. If you can get an adjustable basketball hoop that can be lowered for your driveway, the kids can dribble, pass to their teammate and shoot towards the basket while in their chairs. Kids in wheelchairs could also play softball, drawing a chalk circle for the bases instead of base bags. If possible, wheelchairs with traction wheels can make it easier to move over grass and dirt.

    Both wheelchair and able-bodies kids can have a blast playing active, physical games together. The kids can all play circle games by tossing multiple balls around. All kids can play hot potato, or hold onto a parachute and try to keep a beach ball in the air. All kids can also participate in games such as freeze dance. If you have several kids in wheelchairs together with able-bodies kids, you could pair up one wheelchair kid with an able-bodied kid for relay races, which could include having the able-bodied person push a child's wheelchair through an obstacle course.

    About the Author

    Zora Hughes is a screenwriter and novelist who has been writing since 2004. She has written news releases, public service announcements and website copy for the Chicago Mayor's Office of Special Events. She won the S. Randolph Edmonds playwriting award. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

    Photo Credits

    • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images