Play and exercise are crucial for children, and can help build coping skills and foster a sense of independence. “Most people think that kids with epilepsy can’t do a lot of things,” says Linda Laux, M.D., a pediatric epileptologist and medical director at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. “But that’s not really the case.” Although there are a few hard-and-fast limits—scuba diving is definitely out, says Laux—most activities can be enjoyed worry-free or can be modified slightly for safety. Here are just a few that will have your kids laughing in no time.
BACKYARD CAMPING. Especially for kids under seven, backyard camping is a low-maintenance way to enjoy the outdoors while still staying close to home. Families can roast marshmallows, pitch a tent, and sleep under the stars.
WATER BALLOON RELAYS. Letting kids with epilepsy go swimming can be a source of stress for caregivers, who need to carefully supervise kids even if their seizures are well controlled. Playing with water balloons, however, is a creative way to run around and get wet without the need for a lifeguard.
GEOCACHING. Any kid who enjoys scavenger hunts will love the challenge of geocaching. Players use GPS coordinates to find and uncover hidden objects planted by other geocachers. You never know what “treasure” you might dig up.
Originally published in EpilepsyAdvocate Spring 2019.