11 Sports to Play at Home for Children with a Developmental Delay

Sport is a great way to get exercise. As well as improving strength and stamina, sport is known to boost confidence and self-esteem. It’s also lots of fun!

Many children with Developmental Delay struggle with higher level physical activities that require more coordination and dexterity. Because of this, they may be inclined to shy away from sports.

Participating in fun sports-related activities from a young age is a great way for our child to build their skills, coordination and their confidence. This will also make them more likely to engage with exercise as they grow. 

Below we share whole host of sporty ideas we can try with our child at home. They are best for children who are walking, though some can be played sitting. Some games can be played with several children present (great if siblings want to get involved!). However, many can be played one on one with our child, or just with our child playing alone. 

Here are some great indoor sports and activity ideas to try at home with your child

  1. You can set up a volleyball court with a piece of string between 2 walls in a corridor or between 2 chairs. The aim is to make the balloon/ ball touch the floor on your opponent’s side of the string.

  2. A corridor is great for this if your child has less accurate arm function as the walls keep the balloon in reach. 

  1. Set up a laundry basket or draw a circle on a piece of paper and stick it to the wall or the floor for a goal.

  2. Try to score a goal from different places – getting further away with each successful shot.  

  1. Set up 10 bowling pins in a triangle shape – use loo roll inners or empty plastic bottles if you don’t have skittles. Try to knock over all the skittles. See how many tries it takes to knock them down.

  2. Get further away from the skittles as your child improves.

  3. Try this with your child in some different positions – in their supportive chair, on their hands and knees or up high on their knees to work their muscles further. 

  1. This is a fabulous and fully inclusive sport similar to Bowles. See this Our Home video which explains how to play the game. 

  1. Dribble a balloon around the house using a their hands.

  2. You could set up an obstacle course with chairs and a goal at the end for a single child game.

  3. For a more dexterous child, keeping the balloon in the air while they crawl around the house will keep them entertained and use up lots of energy. 

  • This great series Tennis at Home done by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) provides simple ideas to practice your tennis skills in your back garden or in a room with a few meters of space.

  • If you don’t have a tennis racket you can still try these games with a fly swatter, any other kind of bat, a roll of wrapping paper or a broom. You could use socks, a balloon or scrunched up paper instead of a ball.

  • The activities vary in difficulty but most can be played from the wheelchair or in kneeling. 

  • This video Off The Couch | Ball skill challenge to try at home | Mickey Quinn gives some lovely and very challenging ideas of what to do with a ball to improve your ball handling skills at home. 

  1. Make an obstacle course which your child needs to dribble around – depending on their skills, they could go around objects or furniture or even try to go over objects with the ball.

  2. Try getting from one end of the house, up the stairs and onto a bed with the ball.

  3. You could have stations along the way – for example – kick 5 times against the wall, do 3 keepy uppys, do 5 squats, turn around on the spot etc.  

  1. Use empty tissue boxes on your child’s feet to slide around the floor.

  2. Challenge them to spin or slide on 1 leg.

  3. You could try using more tissue boxes on their hands to pretend to be an ice-skating bear.

  1. This mini series gives some fun activities to do at home which are loosely rugby focused. You don’t need a rugby ball and most of their activities use things you can find around the house. Some are indoor, some are outdoor.  
    #TogetherActive Rugby Skills Episode 1#TogetherActive Rugby Skills Episode 2 (Part One)#TogetherActive Rugby Skills Episode 2 (Part 2) #TogetherActive Rugby Skills Episode 4 

Here are a selection of suitable videos

Obstacle Course

Ball Games

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