Summer is an amazing time, but it seems to go by quickly. You probably have good intentions for planning to attend events or spend time outdoors, but the time seems to slip away, or you find it difficult to plan fun and interesting events. The RISE Services, Inc. Utah team has created a list of four engaging and entertaining activities you can do with the people you support that don’t take much time to plan. Whether you care for a family member with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) or work as a direct support provider in a residential setting, be sure to add one or more of these activities to your summer fun agenda.
1. Grow a Garden
Growing a garden can be a fun experience for many individuals with I/DD. They can watch a living plant grow that they brought to life and feel proud of their hard work when it’s time for harvest. Plus, digging holes in the soil, planting seeds, and removing weeds help reinforce fine motor skills. When choosing what plants to grow, allow individuals to pick their favorite fruits or vegetables. You can take care of the garden together and enjoy tasting those delicious strawberries, nutritious green beans, or plump cucumbers.
2. Visit Parks or Trails
Local parks and trails offer several opportunities for exercising and spending time outdoors, which are excellent for anyone’s physical and mental health. These public places are beneficial for practicing social skills, learning to follow directions, and other valuable community skills. Bring a frisbee to toss back and forth, pack a picnic lunch, or create a nature scavenger hunt to look for specific items when exploring the trails. If you’re hiking in the sun, put on sunscreen before you go and bring bottled water, too.
3. Go Swimming
Summertime in Utah is hot, and swimming is one of the best ways to cool off in the bright, seasonal sunshine. If there’s a community pool in your area, consider planning one day a week to splash around and enjoy the water. You may also live near one of Utah’s beautiful bodies of water, like Cottonwood Reservoir, Bear Lake, or Pineview Reservoir. These welcoming lakes provide some relief from the sweltering summer sun. Be sure to pack sunscreen, bottled water, and a floatation device as needed to prevent sunburn and dehydration and ensure safety.
4. Attend Local Fairs or Festivals
Would it be summer if you didn’t attend at least one local fair or festival? From community parades and county fairs to festive rodeos and horse races, these are a small sampling of local events you can find in Utah each summer. Some individuals with I/DD may have sensory issues that can make it difficult to be in loud places or surrounded by large crowds. If so, consider attending events in the morning or early afternoon when it’s not as busy, or bring earmuffs or earplugs to reduce the noise.
Creating Opportunities for and with People
We hope these ideas gave you a great place to start when planning fun summer activities. Contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our services. We offer several valuable programs, including after-school and summer programs, job-based training, supported employment services, and professional parenting programs.