Next, we present activities for children with Down syndrome that can help you improve the skills of these children.
Do you have any student or child with Down syndrome and want to develop their skills? There are many exercises you can benefit from that will help you develop the skills you need for your day to day life.
Activities for Children with Down Syndrome
It is not only advisable that they carry out activities of those skills that they have fully acquired, but also of others in which they present problems in order to improve them in order to reach their individual potential.
Activities to improve attention
Having good care is essential to reach a future full autonomy and be able to perform the activities you want without the help of another person. This can be very important for anyone, but it is crucial for those who have a disability.
Here are two exercises that can help you promote care in children with Down syndrome:
1. Tell me a story
Procedure: One of the activities you can do if you want to improve the attention of children is to tell them a story and then ask them questions about their protagonists and what has happened.
To do this, you have to choose a story that you like and make them curious. Normally, fables are usually more fun and can also learn from their morals.
Once the teacher has finished telling the story or the fable. He has to ask the children questions to corroborate that they have found out and that they have understood the story. Therefore, questions such as: Who is the protagonist? What is his name? What has happened to him? they will help us to know the degree of understanding.
Material: Tales and fables. Here you can find more than 20 short fables for children.
Tips : The teacher while he is telling the story has to assume the roles of the characters and to change the voice, in order to make the activity more entertaining and to awaken curiosity in children. Depending on the academic level and understanding of the children, they will also intersperse relevant questions.
2. We are musicians!
Procedure: Music can help children with Down syndrome develop and improve their attention. One of the funniest ways to work it is by listening to songs. Children while listening to it have to do different exercises, such as: clapping, following the rhythm, jumping, moving your hands upwards, etc.
The ideal is to put different styles of music where the rhythms are different to be interspersed. This type of exercise can also be done with percussion instruments such as the triangle or the drum. The idea would be the same, that to the rhythm of the music they touch them.
The distribution that I have always used to perform this activity, is that the children are placed in a circle, since they can move and follow the rhythm of the music more comfortably. If any of them fails, it will be eliminated and will help its partners to carry out the activity.
Material: Musical instruments, in case you prefer to do the activity in this way.
Tips: For the activity to be more dynamic, it is advisable that the different types of songs are interspersed, starting with those that present a slow rhythm and ending with those that are more moved. In this way, the level of difficulty will increase.
Activities to improve fine and gross psychomotor skills
Children with Down syndrome need to perform activities of fine and gross psychomotricity to strengthen the muscles of the fingers and hands and thus be able to perform all kinds of movements with these to increase their autonomy. Here we present several exercises that you can use:
3. What is its form?
Procedure: this activity is usually very simple and helps children to take the materials properly and have to be strong with it, just what we are looking for. With a punch, they have to point the contour of different sheets of drawings that we have previously prepared, no matter what type of drawings they are. I usually use the typical ones that come in the coloring booklets.
The idea is that they have to follow the contour line of the drawing without going out and puncturing it according to what you are saying (leaving more distance or less between point and point). Once everyone has dotted the outline, they have to tell us what shape the objects that appear or even if they are animals or people that have clothes on.
Materials: To carry out this activity, it will be necessary to use punches, cork and the drawings that have to be punched.
Distribution: It is recommended that to have the class controlled in this activity, place the children on a large table so that you can supervise their movements.
Tips: If it is the first time that they take a punch, we will have to explain to them how it must be taken and used so that they do not hurt themselves with the tip. On the other hand, we will also have to show it to you since in the majority of occasions explaining the operation is not enough.
At the beginning of the activity, they will run a lot of points without having a work order, so it is essential that we show them that they have to go little by little and begin with some part of the drawing.
4. We cut rows to make balls
Procedure: Another of the activities we can do to improve the psychomotor skills of our students is to cut newspaper papers horizontally following some lines that we have previously painted on them.
This will allow them to learn how scissors are picked and what they are used for. In addition, they can also follow the lines that we have previously marked with a marker improving their attention and coordination.
Once they have cut out all the newspaper papers, they have to go strip by strip making balls of different size. This will allow them to incorporate new movements to their fingers and wrists as well as develop their fine motor skills correctly.
Subsequently, these paper balls can be used to decorate drawings and thus perform another activity to work fine motor skills.
Materials: newspaper, scissors, marker and glue.
Tips: As in the handling of the punch, we have to explain the correct use of the scissors so that they do not hurt themselves. The good distribution of space will allow us to control movements at all times.
5. How many objects are in the bag?
Procedure: Children will be divided into several groups. Then, bags will be distributed with objects of different sizes that have to be removed and placed on a table while they are counting.
The group that finishes before counting and taking out the objects will be the winner, so their members can choose one of those toys or objects to play with at recess.
Materials: The materials needed for this activity can be class objects or toys. The important thing is that they are of different sizes in order to work the motor.
Tips: To watch the weather and that there is equality of conditions, the teachers should accompany this activity with songs. On the other hand, it would also be advisable to divide the children into mixed groups and with different cognitive levels so that they can help each other during the activity.
6. Pass the ball through the hoop
Procedure: Another activity that I usually do to work the gross psychomotricity is “pass the ball through the hoop.” The children have to be placed in two rows and one by one they have to take one of the balls that a priori have been placed on the wall and go hitting them by their corresponding hoop (the balls will have the same color as the hoop the one that must be passed).
In this way, we are also working in a transversal way the colors and the activity becomes more fun.
Materials: rings and balls of different sizes and colors.
Tips: The teacher has to move the balls and rings, making sure that the position they may have is not clues as to which ball is the pair of each hoop. The only thing through which you can know is by its color.
Activities to reinforce the language
Language is an important skill that people with Down syndrome have to develop properly if they want to develop their autonomy adequately. Therefore, perform activities that involve the use of language is essential. Here are two activities:
7. We are actors!
Procedure: To work the language, one of the activities that can be done are small theaters in which each student has a role and say small sentences. These little stories have to be from everyday life, so that they are easier to interpret.
Some examples can be: A small talk with your friend about her boyfriend, the clothes they have bought etc. It is advisable to do this activity in pairs, since it costs them less to do it this way. However, if your students are able to do group interventions, you can do it as well.
Materials: In order to carry out this activity, materials will not be necessary, just the script of the interpretation of each child.
Tips: The teacher has to be attentive and resolve any doubts that may arise. At the beginning, they may not be able to respect the order of the shift and may even step on the partner’s intervention, as in some cases they may become very impulsive. Therefore, with this activity they will be able to learn to communicate properly.
8. What did we do yesterday?
Procedure: Other activities that I usually use when I want to work in the language area are the ones that we will explain next. From my point of view, it is an activity that they usually like a lot and that also encourages fellowship within the classroom.
The students one by one, have to tell what they did after school in the previous day in detail. In this way, they have to think about what they have to tell and structure it in an orderly manner.
Material: To carry out this activity, no material will be necessary.
Tips: The teacher has to listen carefully to what his students say in case at any time, they do not know how to continue or how to express an activity.
Sometimes, it is recommended that some simple guidelines be given on how to tell the classmates about the activities they did the previous day. This will allow them to have an idea about how they should do it.
Activities to develop autonomy
To develop the autonomy of people with Down syndrome we can make different games with which they can practice among them, the coin. On the other hand, it would also be convenient to give them the opportunity to be responsible for some activities that we usually do both at home and at school.
Here are some activities that can help you develop your autonomy:
9. We go to the market
Procedure: In the classroom we can simulate many everyday situations that will allow the child to improve their autonomy and know how to act at all times. One of the exercises that we can carry out for this purpose is to simulate that they are going to buy food at the market.
To do this, we have to divide the children into pairs where one of them will act as a seller and the other as a buyer. Next, they have to act based on what they would do from the time they enter the supermarket or store door until they go shopping.
In this way, we can see exactly how they would do it and how they would address the seller and vice versa.
Materials: To carry out this activity some toys will be necessary, these will be what our students will really buy. In the case that we simulate the purchase in a greengrocer, it would be advisable that the toys were fruits.
Tips: The teacher must mediate the activity at all times, since at the beginning they will go to the fruit bowl in any way and they will not respect the communication guidelines in a real way.
Therefore, you must first explain how they should communicate in an educated manner as well as the possible phrases they have to say at all times. For example: when you get to a place you say good morning, if you want to buy something before you have to ask, could I get a kilo of bananas? Etc.
10. How much is it worth?
The handling of the euro is also very important to develop the autonomy of people with Down syndrome, therefore we also have to carry out exercises of this type.
Procedure: A good way to learn the use of euro coins and notes, is to present real problems of daily life the more daily it is easier for them to internalize the management. A clear example could be to write on the blackboard a mathematical problem like the following:
Luisa wants to buy a pair of pants and a shirt. The trousers cost 10 euros and the shirt 6. If you have 20 euros, can you buy them? How much do you have left? How much do the two cost in total?
To make it easier for them to carry out this activity, they will be provided with real-looking money in the form of bills and coins. This is usually very useful because they have a hard time imagining the value of the coins.
Materials: coins and euro bills that simulate the real, paper, pencil and eraser.
Tips : To be able to perform this exercise, you have to have a basic understanding of the value of each currency. Therefore, you can intersperse this exercise with easy and brief explanations starting with the lowest value coins until ending with the ones that have more as with the tickets.
Once you have explained the values, you can help them integrate this new knowledge by making problems like these and adapting their quantities.