Sometimes it can be hard to support our children to learn and develop, especially if their additional needs make learning extra hard. So, what can we do to help them to engage, stay focussed, and enjoy learning and developing?
One way can be to use what they already enjoy doing to help them to learn. This could be all sorts of things, e.g. Lego, or Minecraft, or dressing up, but this time we’re going to look at how to use football as an aid to learning. Here’s six ideas for you to try…
1. Sticker Album
Lots of children who love football collect the Panini stickers. How about getting a Panini sticker album and some stickers and use these as rewards for when they have focussed and learned something new. Even in adding the stickers to the album they will learn about the different football clubs, practice fine motor skills, and feel positive about themselves as their sticker album fills up.
Another option might be to get a job lot of second-hand Subbuteo figures (loads of mixed sets available on Ebay for not much money, other online sites are available!) and use these to help them learn e.g. simple maths, matching, fine motor skills, etc.
3. Activity books
There are lots of football related activity books available that include football themed colouring, puzzles, word searches and much more to keep a football fan busy for ages.
4. Online resources
There are football related resources online too, such as at the National Football Museum, where among other things you can learn how to make your own football trophy! Here’s their website for details: https://www.nationalfootballmuseum.com/schools-groups/stayathome/
Playing football itself might be a way for children to meet their sensory processing needs, it could be used as a sensory seeking activity. If so, it is worth seeing if you can give them a 10-minute football ‘sensory session’ during their learning so that they can use this to regulate their senses. There may be other football themed physical activities that could be used instead of football if this isn’t practical, such as balancing a ball, catching a ball, running on the spot, doing a football ‘warm up’, and more.
6. Visual timetable
Putting all of this together into a football themed visual timetable might then give children the tools to help support them through a learning session. Here’s a link to download the template above from the Twinkl website: https://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-tp-5995-football-themed-visual-timetable-display
So, if you’ve got a football fan at home who sometimes struggles to learn and develop new skills, try embracing football as a way to help them focus, concentrate, and learn!
Additional Needs Children’s Work: Using What They Enjoy Doing To Help Them Learn