Accessible activities

There are lots of ways to keep disabled children and young people active – start off by choosing activities your child is interested in and adapt them

Keeping kids moving

For kids to lead a healthy lifestyle they need to move as much as possible. Being active for at least 60 minutes each day helps keep their hearts healthy and their bones strong – and if they have additional needs, this is just as important.

Many of the activities we suggest for non-disabled children, including our Shake Up games can be modified and enjoyed by disabled children. For some children it may be an easy adaption to the games like using larger or softer balls, making the distances or playing times shorter.

Get going at home!

Obstacle race

This is a seated version of a classic obstacle race. Seat everyone at a table, and give each one three dried peas, a drinking straw, a bottle of water and their favourite healthy snack. Each participant must use the straw to blow the peas off the table, one by one. Then they must eat their snack and use the straw to drink the water.

Potato golf

Lay out dishes and saucers of different sizes around 30-60cm apart on a table within the reach of participants. Then use a spoon to toss a small potato to each "hole" or dish using as few strokes as possible.

Badmin-cricket

You can play this one indoors or outside. Find a shuttlecock and table tennis bat. Divide into two teams, and take turns to bat and bowl. Just like cricket, you can score runs by the hitting the shuttlecock as far as possible. Players are out by being caught, or by hitting the shuttlecock into an agreed area.

Try these as a family

Ten-pin bowling

Bowling is great for playing family and friends, and it’s usually easy to find a bowling alley nearby. There’s a range of adaptive equipment available, such as ramps, which means it’s an accessible activity for many disabled kids – so everyone can join in the fun.

Swimming

Swimming is a great way to get active, because the water can support your body as well as giving extra resistance to work against. It’s especially good for keeping the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest and back strong as well as developing stamina. And it’s also a great way to unwind and have fun together as a family. Find out more about swimming.

Boccia

Boccia was first popular with people with cerebral palsy but is now also played by people with other issues affecting their motor skills, such as muscular dystrophy. It is also a great game for the whole family to play. The aim of the game is to throw leather balls as close as possible to a target ball, or jack - a bit like bowls or French boules. Find out more at bocciaengland.org.uk.

Team sports

Many team sports can be played as a mixed group of disabled and non-disabled people together. Wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball and cricket are great examples of how sport can be adapted so everyone can join in. Find out more from your local council's website.

Enjoy the outdoors

Why not take a walk in your local town or country park? Many have accessible trails and activities such as orienteering and guided activities that can be enjoyed by disabled children and their families. Find out more from your local council's website or nationalparks.gov.uk

Cycling

Go cycling on a tandem or try out one of the modified bikes that you power with your arms. There are many places you can hire these and cycle safely away from traffic-filled roads. Find out more information from Cycling UK.

More great ideas

EFDS and Disability Rights UK Being Active Guide

EFDS and Disability Rights UK have created a guide to support more disabled people to enjoy an active lifestyle
View accessible PDF

These organisations also have loads more opportunities for disabled people:

National Disability Sport Organisations

The National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) play a vital role in sport and physical activity for disabled people. For many disabled people, the NDSOs are the starting point to get involved in sport and if they choose to- develop their talent. They also support National Governing Bodies of sport to deliver more inclusive programmes.

The NDSOs are: