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The best disability and wheelchair-inclusive party games

30th May 2019


Whether planning a birthday party or a family get-together, it’s important that everyone is able to join in on the fun, no matter their age or their physical ability.

From seated games to sensory play, we outline some of the best party games and activities that are inclusive of adults and children with low mobility or wheelchairs.

Low mobility and wheelchair-inclusive party games and activities

Quizzes and guessing games

Simply Emma is one of the UK’s leading disability bloggers. A wheelchair-user herself, Emma suggests quizzes and guessing games as they are suitable for all ages and abilities.

"I feel you can’t go wrong with a game like ‘name that tune’ or ‘guess the movie’. For fans of music and movies, these are great games for friends and family. They require minimal supplies and effort to set up or physical movement to play which makes them the perfect party game for everyone and all abilities.”

“All you need is cards or sheets of paper with the movie or song names and two teams of players. The aim of the game is for each team to get their own team players to guess the movie/song using as little words as possible or in the shortest time."

And it doesn’t need to be limited to music and movies. For a longer quiz, incorporate rounds like famous people, household objects, or even something related to the party’s theme or guests’ favourite subjects.

Act/draw it out games

Katie from Living Life Our Way recommends playing acting or drawing games as these require minimal movement and can be enjoyed by all ages.

“Charades or team Pictionary (in order to support each other) can be fun for smaller gatherings for all ages,” says Katie. Not only does the team element encourage some friendly competition, but it also allows everyone to be involved even if someone is unable to take part in the drawing or acting out themselves.

Board games

For adults and children, Youth Group Games recommends board games as an option that suits those that prefer quieter games which don’t require much physical energy.

“These games can be fun for children or adults who are in wheelchairs or who need to sit down for longer periods of time as they don’t require much physical exertion.

“Kids and adults of all ages love board games. For kids, this can encourage the development of maths, reading and social skills, depending on the game. You could even let the kids try their hand at poker, with play money and a real prize at the end. For the adults, bring on some old-time favourites such as Monopoly and Cluedo.”

Sensory activities and games

For many, sensory activities offer a great fun alternative to traditional games, particularly for those who are unable to participate in them or prefer not to.

Laura’s son Brody is a part-time wheelchair user and although he has no primary diagnosis, he has global development delay (GDD), epilepsy, autism and hypermobility syndrome. Laura blogs about her and Brody’s adventures over at Brody, Me & GDD.

Laura told us about Brody’s experience with sensory activities and why they make a great addition to any inclusive party.

“I’ll be honest, my seven-year-old son Brody hasn’t been to many inclusive parties. The most inclusive party he has been to was run by his school for Halloween and organised by parents. Brody is a part-time wheelchair user and there are lots of children at his school who use wheelchairs all of the time - it was so important to get the party right for everybody.

“One of the dads made a brilliant sensory tunnel that all children, including wheelchair users, could go through. It was pretty basic but great fun for them. There were tables that everyone could access with sensory messy play – gloop, bubbles and cereal. And music – who doesn’t love music?

“Other sensory activities I would recommend include multi-sensory story-telling, a petting zoo, face painting and activity tables.”

Music games

Instead of musical chairs, Invacare recommends adapting the game so it instead uses flat objects such as pictures or posters for players to stand on or move their wheelchair onto. “There’s nothing like music to get the party going! Gather the players and line up some flat objects on the floor, one less than the number of people. Each participant should circulate around the line and when the music stops, whoever isn’t situated on an object will be eliminated and so on.”

Similar to pass the parcel, Therapy Source recommends another great music-based game called musical ball. “Musical ball can be played by just about anyone. Musical ball involves passing a ball and when the music is stopped, the player holding the ball gets a point. The first player to 5 points wins.”

Throwing/rolling games

Simple throwing and rolling games are a great mobility-based game that can be played while sitting down or in a wheelchair.

Beanbag toss is a great game that is relatively easy to set up. Using wooden targets or a homemade alternative, each player takes it in turn to throw their beanbag at the target, with the winner being the player that gets the most beanbags in the hole.

Recommended by Therapy Source, bocce is another popular game which involves rolling balls towards targets - similar to British bowls. “This game is so valuable for children or adults with limited mobility that it is included in the Special Olympics Games! Children with a variety of disabilities can play bocce, including those in wheelchairs.

“Bocce involves rolling game balls near a target ball, called a jack. The person who gets their game balls closest to the jack wins.”

Things to consider

Accessibility of the venue

When it comes to throwing a party, Katie says it’s essential to consider the accessibility of the venue, checking to see if there are mobility aids such as stairlifts. “The main thing is making sure the venue itself is user-friendly, such as being step-free (or having a stairlift), with either a flat entrance or a ramp, easily accessible toilets and wide doorways.” Wheelmap is a fantastic resource for finding accessible venues in the area.

When planning a party at home, make sure to check the premises is wheelchair-friendly, asking guests ahead of time to see what accessibility requirements they might need.

Accommodating special requirements

Further to the above, HuffPost says that making sure to ask guests about any special requirements ahead of the party is a great way to help them feel at ease. “All too often people with disabilities are not invited to events or don’t go because they feel embarrassed to ‘put someone out’ by asking for a simple thing that will help them attend.

“Not all disabilities are visible, so you may not know that someone you want to include in your event has some special needs. By including a line in your invitation about any accommodations, you are already letting guests know that everyone is welcome.”

“With the right attitude, most things are possible,” says Laura. “It is so important that everyone is included in all activities and that nobody is left out.”

With these inclusive party games and activities in mind, hosting a get-together means everyone can join in with the fun, no matter the occasion.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.