Games for Kids With Down Syndrome

by Erin Schreiner

Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder that impacts physical and mental development. While Down syndrome has no cure, therapy, including games, can help those affected by the disorder overcome some of their challenges. If your child has Down syndrome, engaging him in therapeutic game play could make life with the disorder a bit easier and more enjoyable.

Word-Picture Matching

Down syndrome affects children's development on an assortment of fronts, including the development of reading comprehension skills. If your child who has Down syndrome is struggling with the task of learning to read, a word-picture matching game could make the task less frustrating. To prepare this game, select a book or short story that features simple words with which your child is already familiar. Before reading the story to the child, move through it and highlight words. Gather pictures that represent each of the highlighted words, and spread them out on a table.

Sit down with your child and read the story to him, allowing him to look over the page as you read. As you get to each highlighted word, pause and allow the child to select the image that represents the word in question. Praise him profusely for his success.

Blanket Towing

Developing muscle tone and motor skills is often more difficult for children who suffer from Down syndrome than it is for others. Delighting your child with a blanket towing game is an enjoyable way to help her build these skills. This game is quite simple to implement, and requires few supplies. To prepare for this recreation, select a blanket or towel that is large enough for your child to lie on her belly, but not so large that it gets in the way. Also acquire a soft rope.

When you are ready to play, place the blanket on a smooth floor and ask your child to lie down on it on her stomach. Give her the rope to hold on to. Tell her to hold on tight, and tow her across the floor. She will likely appreciate this blanket ride, and the task of holding on to the rope will help her develop her muscle tone.

Face-Me Puzzle

While children who do not suffer from Down syndrome can take in information about the world around them with relative ease, children with Down syndrome often struggle to develop an understanding of the world in which they live. Help your child build his basic skills by creating a face-me puzzle for him to complete. To build this puzzle, select images of faces from magazines, or faces of family members. Cut each image apart, separating the features carefully. Place your clipped apart faces in envelopes or baggies. Allow your child to piece them back together, practicing his understanding of face structure.

To make this game even more interactive, back each face puzzle piece with a magnet and place them on your refrigerator, allowing your child to piece them together whenever he wishes, or even mix and match the face pieces to create zany combinations for fun, to help your child develop his sense of humor.

About the Author

Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.