DFWChild / Articles / MomLife / Mom Blogs / Educational Apps + Activities for Kids With Special Needs
Educational apps for kids with special needs

Educational Apps + Activities for Kids With Special Needs

a few ways to provide stability during uncertainty

Stability and structure are essential components for children with special needs. And likely with the recent school and therapy center closures, those elements are nonexistent. Many parents, myself included, are fearful of the regression ahead.

As I begin my journey into homeschooling two children with autism, I’ve discovered a few helpful apps and activities that have brought normalcy back into our lives while incorporating fun too.

The days ahead may be challenging, but they are ever-changing. Soon, this season will pass.

Here are some educational apps and activities to move the minds and bodies of your children until the uncertainty is gone.

Cosmic Yoga on YouTube

It’s difficult for my kids to focus on learning when their bodies are full of wiggles. And with the current quarantine (and ongoing rain this spring season), we’ve been stuck inside with few opportunities to exercise.

Enter: Cosmic Yoga.

Cosmic Yoga is a free children’s program available on YouTube that introduces basic yoga, meditation and stretching techniques while incorporating fun stories like the Three Little Pigs, Spiderman and Trolls.

The animated approach to mind and body movement had my normally disengaged children active for hours.

ABC Mouse and other Free Educational Apps

It’s hard to swallow that I am now not only my children’s homebound mother, but also their teacher too. It’s a role I never expected, nor necessarily wanted.

The fabulous news is: We’re not in this alone. And educational companies like ABC Mouse have made their online resources available to the public at free or reduced prices.

Many of these programs are adaptable to the age or stage of your child, so they’ll enjoy thinking they’re getting extra “screen time” while being educated too.

TOT School

In case making lesson plans or finding age-appropriate printables isn’t your homeschooling strong suit, TOT School has you covered.

For $5, TOT School will send you weekly plans for your children, which include five books, five fine motor activities, five gross motor activities, five snacks and five sensory bins—along with a supply list of everything you’ll need to get started.

With predetermined themes and activities that hit all the major areas of growth for special needs children, TOT School takes the guess work out of guided learning.

Virtual Field Trips

Since our entire country is practicing social distancing, a lot of large-capacity venues have decided to close their doors, but open online learning!

If your children are visual learners like mine, carve out some time to take them to places they’ve never been (or perhaps couldn’t enjoy because of long lines or sensory limitations). Our favorites so far have been the San Diego Zoo, Boston Children’s Museum and the Louvre!

Fine Motor Activities

Since we’re acting as at-home teachers and therapists too, this list of 55 fine motor activities has been a lifesaver for me.

Each activity is cheap, easy, and the supplies are probably already in your pantry. Carve out a few minutes each day to strengthen those little fingers and try a new one.

 Spring Scavenger Hunt

A lot of events have been canceled, but the sunshine sure isn’t!

Grab this Spring Bingo Scavenger Hunt and head outdoors. It’s a great activity to encourage gross motor and movement. (Just make sure to follow the shelter-in-place guidelines if you have them.)

Bonus if you bring your findings inside and create a sensory bin!


Stephanie Hanrahan was just your seemingly average housewife until she grew tired of pretending and took an axe to her white picket fence (also known as making her private journal public). Learn how she traded her pretending for a panty liner on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog Tinkles Her Pants, where she chronicles her journey as wife to a husband with chronic illness, mother to special needs kiddos, and a woman who often unravels then finds her footing again.

Image courtesy of Stephanie Hanrahan.