Don’t Forget to take a Break

As therapists, we often recommend that our families to spend time together simply enjoying each other’s company. When a child has a disability such as Autism, ADHD or a Learning Disability, many things can feel draining: being a part of a classroom, completing homework, tutoring, and sessions of ABA or psychotherapy. We strive to make therapy fun, but it’s still hard work! As a parent, managing a child’s therapy schedule, homework, and commitments can feel overwhelming. Having down-time with family and enjoying favorite activities can provide children and their parents with much needed respite. Additionally, when family members participate together in enjoyable activities it builds relationships and connections, and helps children associate their parents and siblings with fun experiences. Remember that for your child, learning things that do not come naturally is difficult! Be sure to take a break, have fun with your child, and make some wonderful memories.
Here are some activities in Denver and Boulder that you may enjoy with your child:

If your child enjoys physical activity…

Consider a place such as Jump Street, Monkey Business, or a local park. Parks with climbing structures such as Centennial Park (in Centennial), the Downtown Denver Playground (on North Speer), and parks in the Stapleton neighborhood offer plenty of room for running, climbing, and jumping. Scott Carpenter Park in Boulder is famous for a rocket ship jungle gym. During the warmer months, City Park in Denver rents bicycles and surries that a family can ride and pedal together. In the winter months, consider snow-shoeing or sledding. Pulling a sled back up the hill and blazing a trail through deep snow can help your child burn off some energy. Many places that rent skis and snowboards also rent snowshoes. For the busy young child, consider the Denver Museum of Nature and Science’s brand new Discovery Zone for some hands-on fun.

If your child is a nature lover…

Head up to Chataqua Park in Boulder for some hiking, play on the playground, and opportunities to scramble up boulders and look for deer. Chatfield and the Cherry Creek Reservoirs, and Cherry Creek trail have easy hiking trails for families, and Roxborough State Park has stunning rock formations. On the west side of Denver, Dinosaur Ridge offers an uphill hike to view fossilized plants and dinosaur footprints. For some water-play in the warmer months, consider the Boulder Creek, the Confluence Park area of Downtown Denver, and Belleview Park in Littleton. Hudson Gardens, the Denver Botanical Gardens, and the Botanical Gardens at Chatfield can offer year round viewing of plant life, as well as special events such as concerts and seasonal festivals. Does your family ski or snowboard? Consider making it a priority to help your children notice the beauty of the mountains in winter while you’re out on the slopes.

If your child loves animals…

Consider Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which today is a wildlife sanctuary for large animals such as bison. 12 Mile Stables off of Parker Road in the Cherry Creek State park offers horseback riding lessons for children and adults, as well as trail rides. In the Boulder area, many stables offer riding programs for children, such as Nova Vista Farm, Ponies for Preschoolers, Frontrange Equestrian, and Medicine Horse Program. Colorado Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs offers children the chance to feed the giraffes, and the Denver Zoo’s Elephant Passage is one of their most distinct and impressive exhibits. Children can also learn about animals from different areas of the world by visiting the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, as well as the Denver Wildlife Experience in Parker.

For sports fans…

There are many options! In addition to professional sporting events, college events at CU, CSU, DU and Regis can be a fun family outing. For less expensive options, catch a DU hockey game, the Regis Women’s basketball team, or one of the Buffs soccer games. For children with sensory sensitivities, a loud, indoor sporting event can feel overwhelming. Consider an outdoor event, such as a Rockies or Rapids game, or catch a skiing or snowboarding competition at a ski resort in the winter.

For Art lovers…

The Denver Art Museum regularly has special exhibits, as well as varied permanent exhibits. For younger children, the museum offers engaging, hands-on activities throughout the museum which allow children to experience an artist’s technique and materials by creating something of their own. For an older child, consider the Santa Fe Arts District. Grab a bite to eat at El Noa Noa or a snack at mmmm…Coffee and visit the galleries located on Santa Fe. In the Boulder area, keep up on events happening at the college. There are regular opportunities for concerts, operas, plays and dance performances showcasing talented students and visiting artists.
When you have a child with a disability such as Autism, ADHD, or a Learning Disability, your child often has to work much harder than her peers to achieve new skills. Don’t forget to take some time off, relax and have fun, and enjoy all that Colorado has to offer.

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