Where to Find Recreational Activities
for Transition Students

If you teach a transition program and are responsible for finding athletic, leisure, and recreational opportunities for your students in your local community, you may need help knowing where to start.

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. We’re going to explore all the meaningful activities your students can do in your community. Get ready to help them discover new interests they’ll enjoy!

Why Do Your Students Need Recreational Activities?

Sometimes other teachers, administrative staff, or parents do not understand the value in supporting a student’s recreational and leisure ventures. But you know what I tell them? ALL adults have recreational activities we do. Our students need the opportunity to explore WHAT they actually enjoy doing, so that they can continue to access these options beyond graduation.

Not to mention, recreational activities keep students active, help them make friends, and boost their confidence.

As a Special Education teacher for transition students, one of your many roles is to find out what types of recreational activities your students like to participate in. Start with learning their interests, then look for fun options for everyone by teaming up with others in the community.

When our students transition out of high school, they will have some familiar resources they can continue to comfortably access.

Starting the Search


Before you go around looking for leisure and recreational activities in your community, here are two important things that you need to consider first.

Community Access

Since the point of this program is for your students to be able to continue the recreational activities after school, one of your expectations would be that they get to the location on their own.

First off, what is community access like at your school?

How accessible is it? Is public transit or walking the primary mode of transport? Knowing these helps you plan for various weather conditions and essential life skills, including community safety.

Community Safety


The last school I taught at was in a big city, so we only had public transit and walking (no school vans except for rare circumstances). But my students were out every single day. This made me prioritize community safety skills, especially when traveling.

If you want to ensure your students’ safety while they’re in real-world outings, consider preparing them first. Start in your classroom with engaging activities that you can practice repetitively, like this Community Safety CBI Travel Board Game. This game can help you quiz your students on safety rules related to walking and public transit.

You can also try doing situational activities like these Public Transit Problem Solving Task Cards so the students can get repeated practice with different scenarios.

Another thing I would suggest is to have a community safety area in your classroom. This is where students would review rules before leaving the campus and sign out to confirm that they’d read the rules. You can have your staff do the same. Try this fully editable bundle to set up your community safety area!

Finding Meaningful Recreational Activities in the Community

Now, let’s find places where your students can explore leisure and recreational activities!  Here are some areas you can look for:

#1: Art Center


Find an art center or studio nearby. If you have students who are interested in art, perhaps the center can host a weekly art class. The art center may even be able to apply for a local grant so they can offer free art classes.

I included this in my transition program. It took about half a year for me to set it up, but it was worth the effort and is still continuing to this day! The art teacher leading the class was paid her usual salary by the art center, and interns from a local art therapy school attended in support.

Our students even had their very own Art Shows twice a year, and I had MANY students go on to feel confident making art at home in their free time, thanks to this class.

#2: Local Gym

Fitness is important for neurodivergent and disabled teens, so make sure to include physical recreational activities.

My school partnered with a university, but I know of many transition programs that have great luck partnering with a local YMCA. 

Students can join fitness classes or simply use the gym for their own routine. Some gyms even have pools. There’s a lot of possibilities!

#3: Teen or Recreation Center

group of friends on their way to play music together

If you’re lucky enough to have a local recreation center for teens and young adults in your community, connect with them! 

They can let you access the center for an hour or two each week (or more if needed).

They might have bowling, basketball, music, dancing, or arcade games. We were able to walk to ours and access it during the daytime (when it wasn’t being used yet). 

#4: Dance or Music Studio

If your school is near a local dance or music studio, connect with them! Maybe they’d be willing to do an occasional or recurring class with your students. 

My community didn’t have one, but I connected with music therapy students at a local college. I was lucky because they agreed to do a music therapy class right at our school!

Ask, and you may be pleasantly surprised. 

#5: Local College

Does your local college have a Best Buddies club? Try reaching out and see if they’d like to set something up with your students.

And if they don’t? Help get it started!

If you teach a transition program, your students are most probably the same age as a typical college kid. That means they can socialize!

Our students used to do weekly social lunches with college students, and they would also host weekend events at the school where our transition students could attend.

Peer socialization is so important, and our students loved making friends with other young adults!

#6: Get Creative

Get creative! Think of what your community offers that is unique. Do you have a great local park with outdoor classes? Or maybe a music venue, or wildlife refuge? What about a museum or cultural hub? Your students may find something they love in these places!

I like to start with my students’ interests, and go from there.


You’re all set to make your transition program super exciting! Your students will have a blast, try new things, and make friends.

Remember, teaming up with others in your community offers a great opportunity to find meaningful recreational activities for your students.

You’ve got this!

Exploring what to teach your transition students, and overwhelmed by the endless ideas??

Remember that your units of focus will depend on your students’ needs; you can build your own curriculum map for the year by using this guide in conjunction with your students’ IEP goals. 

You can get the Transition Roadmap Scope & Sequence here!