8 Activities for Children and Teens with Special Needs to do This Fall

Thursday, 30 September, 2021 - 6:03 pm

It’s that time of year again. The air is getting colder and the leaves are turning yellow, orange, and red. Fall is a great time to take in the beauty of the changing seasons and enjoy the last bits of dry and sunny days before the rain takes over. It’s a time to pick apples, carve pumpkins, check out museums, and manage your way through a corn maze. Sadly, for children and teens with disabilities, these fun fall activities can be challenging and not accessible. However, now there are more fun activities happening in the greater Seattle area that are available to every child!


#1. Go to the pumpkin patch at Swans Trail Farms

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Going to the pumpkin patch is the quintessential fall activity for many families, however many pumpkin patches are not accessible to those with disabilities. At the Swans Trail Farms in Snohomish, families have raved about their wheelchair accessibility. They also have a wide variety of other activities such as a corn maze, hay bail rides, and a petting zoo. Their pumpkin patch runs until October 31st so go now before all the good pumpkins are gone!


#2. Carve pumpkins

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Once you’re done picking your pumpkins, you can go one step further and carve them! This activity is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit and engage all five senses. First let your child look at the pumpkin and admire all it’s features. Then help them open it up and have them smell it’s sweet scent. Then, let them have fun and feel the sticky insides of the pumpkin. They will likely notice the squishy sound it makes when they touch the seeds and gooey bits. Once you’re done carving, you can also dry off the pumpkin seeds and toast them in the oven for a tasty snack.  


#3. Make a fall sensory bin 

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Sensory bins are a fun way for kids and teens with disabilities to develop specialized motor skills and spatial awareness skills. To make this sensory bin fall-themed, fill it up with corn kernels, bumpy gourds, small pumpkins, leaves, beans, corn-husks and any other items you have around the house.  


#4. Rake leaves

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Raking leaves may seem like a chore, but we promise it’s more fun than it seems. Once you and your family rake up the leaves you get to do the fun part of throwing them up in the air and watching them float down. Or you can always jump on top of the pile too! This is a great activity to stimulate the senses and to learn how to follow directions. 


#5. Go to the Seattle Children’s Playgarden 

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Every child wants to play and at the Seattle Children’s Playgarden they make it their mission to accommodate every child’s needs. Located just south of I-90, this fully accessible public playground engages children with disabilities in ways that regular playgrounds do not. There’s a veggie and flower garden to dig in and explore, chickens in a coop, a tree fort and musical sculpture, a foam play area and rock scramble, indoor learning facilities and so much more. Also, everything is fenced in so parents don’t have to worry about their children running off. For more information on hours and special events, visit their website.  


#6. Watch a Sensory Friendly Film (SFF) at selective AMC Theaters

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If you need a place to escape the fall rain, what better place to do that than at a movie theater. AMC Theaters has partnered up with the Autism Society to bring Sensory Friendly Film showtimes across the country. In the greater Seattle area, there are three locations: the cascade mall 14 in Burlington, the Kent station 14 in Kent, and the Woodinville 12 in Woodinville. At these screenings, the theater turns up its lights, lowers the volume, allows attendees to walk around and talk. To find specific movie times and dates look for showings labeled “SFF”.


#7. Bake some delicious fall treats

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Baking is another fun way for children and teens with disabilities to engage all five senses and get to make something tasty. It’s also a good way for them to gain confidence and learn valuable life skills. Whether it be pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice cookies, or apple cider donuts let your child pick what they want to make and then help them create a culinary masterpiece. Just be prepared for it to get a little messy. 


#8. Make your own apple stamps 

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Do you have too many leftover apples that you don’t want to throw away? Well, why not make them into a fun art project. To make them into a stamp, cut a few apples in half. Then let your child dip them into different colors of paint and they can make wonderful fall themed art pieces. 

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