After a long day at school, children everywhere relish time to play, to let off a little steam, to enjoy the company of friends – to do things just for fun! It’s no different for children at Cedarcrest Center. Everyday after school and on weekends, they enjoy a host of recreational activities indoors in the Center’s atrium or in the dayroom; outdoors on the Center’s adaptive playground, in its gardens, or on the walking-wheeling pathway; and at parks, farms and other recreation venues around the area.
For all children, having fun is as essential to maintaining or improving their physical, intellectual and emotional well-being as good nutrition. But for children with complex medical and developmental needs, fun is serious.
Cedarcrest staff members work with volunteers and with the children’s families to arrange an array of recreation and enrichment activities. Some can be enjoyed by all the children, while others may address specialized needs of small groups or individuals.
Many children at the the Center experience sensory integration challenges, so their recreation must be geared deliberately to provide the right balance of sensory input. Arts and crafts activities are not just about making things, but about offering children ample opportunity to touch, smell and, perhaps, even taste the art supplies. A miniature golf outing is not just about building motor skills or improving balance, but also about creating an opportunity to socialize and communicate with others and about exploring the community.
Children at Cedarcrest Center enjoy a host of other recreational activities and enrichment experiences: concerts, dance and theater performances, T-ball, visits from therapy animals, bowling at the nearby bowling alley, swimming, outings to the county fair, and even shopping trips. The challenge is to provide a program that ensures the children an opportunity to relax and have fun while strengthening basic motor skills, ensuring intellectual and sensory stimulation, and fostering communication and socialization.