Why Simple or Non-Competitive Games?
Children with special needs have different abilities. Often they are not able to do well in competitive games which may require skills that they do not have. This takes away from the enjoyment and motivation to play. Engaging in non competitive games is a very rewarding experience for a child with special needs. It helps the children to have fun, as well as not feel bad or discouraged if they are not able to do things the way other children can. Non-competitive or simple games for special needs children are a very important part of a special education classroom.
Activities in inclusive classrooms require some special considerations. When conducting non- competitive games for special needs children, some things need to be kept in mind. If a child has a difficulty with mobility, the game must allow the child to stay at one place, or move at his own pace. If a child has hand function disabilities, the game must not have small parts or require fine movements. Otherwise, the game materials or the way of playing needs to be modified in order to allow everyone to participate.
For example, we can modify the knobs of a puzzle to make sure all children can play with it. If the child has a cognitive difficulty, the game may need to be simplified for the child so that they can understand it. Here are some games that can be used and some ideas for modifying them to include all children with special needs.
Ideas for Games
Skittles is a modified version of bowling. A few skittles are places in a triangular arrangement on one end of the room. The child is asked to stand at the opposite end of the room and throw a ball on the skittles. The objective is to make all the skittles fall. If a child has difficulty in aiming or throwing, they can be moved closer to the skittles.
Children move around and dance when the music is playing. When the music stops, the conductor calls out a number. The children have to get into groups of that number. If the children have difficulty with numbers, simpler numbers can be used. Another option is to use number cards.
Guess the Object
In this game, the conductor has an object which he or she hides in a box. The children have to guess what the object is. They can only ask questions for which the answer is “yes" or “no". Some questions could be – Is it something we eat? Is it something we play with? In this manner, the children collect clues and guess what the object is.
Passing the Hat
In this game, children sit in a circle and music is played. A hat is passed around. Each child has to place the hat on their head and then pass it on. When the music stops, the person who has the hat has to sing a song, or tell a little story, or do a little dance.
This game requires a cardboard box in which a few holes have been cut out. The children need to take turns and throw a small ball into any one of the holes. If a child has difficulty in using their arms, the box can be brought closer to the child. Otherwise, the holes can be made very big. This game requires visual skills.
Blowing the Candle
A set of twenty candles are arranged on a tray. Each child gets the opportunity to come forward and blow three times. The objective is to blow as many candles as possible. This game also helps children learn turn taking, and improves motor skills that are required for feeding, as well as speech.
A collection of dress- up materials is kept available for the children. One at a time, each child picks up things that they would like to wear and puts it on. Finally, they parade for the rest of the group. Then it is the next child’s turn. A full size mirror will make dressing up more fun. Here is one more dressing game that you can use.
Here is another group game for your class. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Make up your own games and think of ways you can modify games you know. Are there non-competitive games for special needs children that you use in your classroom? Do share them with us by adding a comment.