Warmer weather has arrived in full force around here. Inevitably summer is on the way. This means no school for the kids and lots of free time around the house. Hours…and hours…and hours…of unallocated down time. Does that freak any other parents out, or just me?
My two daughters have no trouble passing away the time riding bikes, playing video games, occupying the swing set, playing in the sprinkler, etc., etc. However, for Eddie, my child who is blind, it can be really difficult keeping him happy all summer long. During school, his day is regimented into perfectly sequenced activities that keep him busy, learning, and entertained. That just doesn’t happen in the summer.
I understand the importance of routines, especially because he’s autistic as well as being blind. Routines can be the only thing keeping him together some days. The problem is that I don’t like routines in the summer. I like to get up and see where the day takes me. I like to grab the kids and find a lake, or go on a bike ride, or even watch a movie with the shades drawn. (I don’t like to be too hot…) The complete lack of a routine is our routine.
I think that Eddie does get the hang of it, but to keep him content with no literal schedule, I have to keep him busy. This weekend was the first attempt at warm weather entertainment. He sat on the swing set until the shade shifted from his favorite spot. He sat in the grass and listened to his favorite music. We went on a short bike ride; Eddie has a miniature chariot he gets to ride in. We even watched his sister’s play some baseball; he’s becoming a professional spectator.
So, in a few short days, we had pretty much run through our top summer activities. Aside from swimming and camping, we’ve covered all our potential options. Eddie does have an orthopedic impairment; so long walks or hikes are out of the question. He also doesn’t regulate his body temperature well; so too much sun puts him over the edge. Can’t you tell already? I’m full of excuses for our minimal recreation activities…
This is where I need some help. I want to have not only a handful of summer fun ideas, but a whole list. What are you doing with your children with visual impairments when the weather is good? What are your favorite recreation activities? How do your kids like to spend their summer days? Eddie and I are both dying to know.
Whether you share here by posting a comment, or by posting on Facebook, please just share your ideas. I say there isn’t anything too grand or too small to offer. If I’m not the only one nervous about the upcoming months of summer (and I’m guessing I’m not), your ideas could be just what someone (including me) needs to hear.