8 MG-Friendly Family Activities

Need tips for keeping up with the kids in your life? Try these ideas from parents and grandparents with MG.

If you have kids around, you likely know how active they can be! This can be a lot for any parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle to handle—but if you’re living with myasthenia gravis (MG) and have symptoms that affect your participation in family activities, it might feel like even more. However, there are several MG-friendly options for family activities that may allow you to save energy while cherishing those precious moments.

Get the MG-friendly family activities guide—with tips to help you plan!

In addition to trying new activities, consider making modifications when necessary and using this discussion guide for talking to children about MG. Being up front with kids and telling them you may need to take more breaks, or occasionally sit back and watch, may be helpful so there aren’t surprises later. We spoke with parents and grandparents living with MG about how they maximize quality time with their kids and grandkids, all while ensuring they care for themselves as well.

Keep reading for a list of MG-friendly family activities they enjoy.

1. Scavenger hunts

Ideal age range: 5-10
Estimated energy level: Low to moderate

Something you can do right at home, on a road trip or out in nature is send your little ones on a scavenger hunt. This simple activity can allow you to physically take it easy while the kids indulge in the search and share their findings with you. Rachel,* a parent living with MG, enjoys setting these up for her eight-year-old daughter, whether it involves searching for bugs and plants outside, spotting yellow cars on a long drive or scouring their home for hidden household items.

“It’s about a creative mind,” she explained. “It shakes things up, makes her run around, use her brain—and if there’s candy at the end of it, like a treasure hunt, that’s always a win!”


2. Gardening/farming

Ideal age range: 3+
Estimated energy level: Moderate

Depending on the weather and level of effort, gardening or farming may be a nice way to spend the day with kids. John,* who lives with MG, and his wife, Mary,* have a small farm with blueberry bushes, peaches, figs and chickens that they love sharing with their grandkids. Together, they check on the growing fruit, see the chickens and grab fresh eggs.

Kait,* a mother of two who lives with MG, also enjoys this MG-friendly activity with her children—and makes modifications, like raising the garden beds, to help save her energy. She and her husband have a backyard garden where they grow tulips, berries and vegetables. “It’s a really nice activity for us, and the kids love to dig in the dirt,” she shared. “And with the raised garden beds, it’s easier for me.”


3. Cooking/baking

Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Moderate to high

Especially for those who garden, an MG-friendly family activity that can pair well with it is cooking! Kait noted that she and her kids like to pick out vegetables they’ve grown and put them in a salad, followed by a laid-back picnic outside.

For John and Mary, breakfast is one of their favorite meals to cook alongside their grandkids, often using the eggs picked from their farm. “We and the children all like to cook,” Mary said. “John is our breakfast person, so when the kids come over, they get in the kitchen with him and help with every part.” If your energy level tends to be higher earlier in the day, breakfast may be the ideal meal to cook with your family. Regardless of when you cook, these expert tips for beating MG fatigue in the kitchen may help!

Chris,* another grandparent living with MG, finds baking cookies to be a fun and easygoing activity to do with his grandchildren. If the kids in your life are on the younger side, like Chris who has grandkids all under the age of three, baking might be a simpler option than cooking a full meal. “Cookies are probably the easiest things for them—and the least messy for the little ones to make,” he explained.

Whether you grow ingredients in your yard or find them at the grocery store, consider these MG-friendly recipes to try making with your family if you need inspiration (and want something that may be easier to prep and eat).

4. Play board games (or make up your own games!)

Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Low

Vanetta,* who lives with MG, mentioned that her daughter is naturally competitive, so any activity that lets her daughter express that is a good one. Board games are a go-to for that reason, as well as an MG-friendly option that allows Vanetta’s muscles to rest. Plus, board games span many age ranges, so you may be able to find one that all kids can enjoy.

“Physically, I’m limited in what I can do, so we play quite a bit of board games,” Vanetta shared. “We even make up our own rules. I’m just happy she’s interested.”

Even if the kids you know aren’t interested in a particular board game, try making up your own games that cater to their interests. Vanetta said that something as simple as challenging her daughter to see which of them can fill a bowl with marbles the fastest can capture her child’s attention—and allow Vanetta to “race” her without using too much energy.

With MG, you’ve got to budget your energy.

Living with MG

5. Visit a park, museum or other local spot

Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Moderate to high

If it’s taking too much mental energy to come up with an at-home activity, consider venturing out to a favorite, family-friendly venue. For Vanetta, this is often her local park that holds small concerts, carnivals and other attractions for kids.

In the summertime when the heat may be too much for those with MG, a museum or library could be an agreeable spot for the whole family. John noted this is a good option for him and his grandkids when he needs to avoid the heat. “We have a kids museum and it’s unbelievable,” he expressed. “They love it. It’s very hands-on.”

Similarly, Rachel appreciates her local library as a place to take her daughter. “It’s air-conditioned, ADA compliant, easy to get to…it’s low maintenance,” she said. Check your local library to see if they have programs for teens, tweens, toddlers or even babies.

Rachel also emphasized how important it can be to plan ahead when it comes to family outings. “With MG, you’ve got to budget your energy. That’s just a family dynamic, budgeting our plan and budgeting our time,” she explained. Similarly, John and Mary shared how they keep a lookout for benches and other places to sit, especially in the shade, to help prolong the outing.


6. Arts and crafts

Ideal age range: 5+
Estimated energy level: Moderate

Have you checked your recycle bin lately? There might be some pieces for a low-energy art project in there! Another favorite activity of Rachel’s is making homemade crafts with her daughter, like creating bird feeders from paper towel rolls and pipe cleaners, or cutting a milk carton to make a water slide for little rocks that her daughter collects and paints. Rachel also takes her daughter to family paint classes, where they sometimes think ahead to holiday gifts they could make for loved ones or teachers.

If you’re looking for a lower-effort way to make crafts while maximizing energy, check your local art supply store or search online for pre-made, kid-friendly kits.


7. Watch a movie

Ideal age range: All ages
Estimated energy level: Low

In between all the action, sometimes just watching a family-favorite movie can be a bonding activity with kids. For instance, Chris’ grandkids like to spend time outside with him, but when he needs to take a break from the heat and come inside, the kids sometimes join him to watch a movie so they can still be together. Not only can this be a fun experience to share, but it may also help you conserve energy for other activities you wish to do with your family.

At the end of the day, kids want to be close with their parents.

Living with MG

8. Share your passions

Ideal age range: Will vary based on the activity you choose
Estimated energy level: Will vary based on the activity you choose

If you’re still searching for an activity the kids are excited about, try exposing them to something you love and gauging their interest. As a personal fitness trainer, Vanetta is passionate about working out (with MG-friendly modifications as needed)—and that passion is something her daughter has picked up on, leading the two to do mini workout routines together.

“At the end of the day, kids want to be close with their parents,” Vanetta said. “Incorporating exercise and having her work out with me…she loves that. I think she loves it because we always exposed her to it and made it something that not just adults do, but it’s something fun for her too.”

Remember to talk to your healthcare team if your symptoms are impacting your participation in family activities, if you’re unsure about whether an activity is safe for you or if you’re curious about modifications you can make to participate. This doctor discussion guide may help you facilitate that conversation—and hopefully help you land on MG-friendly family activities that are right for you!


Maintaining a Social Life While Living with Myasthenia Gravis

Maintaining a Social Life While Living with Myasthenia Gravis

Consider these tips to help set social boundaries related to MG.

<em>Goal #1:</em> <b>Greater understanding from loved&nbsp;ones</b>

Goal #1: Greater understanding from loved ones

Even when your family and friends are highly supportive, it can still be hard for them to fully understand MG. This goal is about empowering you with the information to explain exactly how MG affects you—in a simplified way—to help them really “get it.”

Looking for a New MG-Friendly Activity to Try?

Looking for a New MG-Friendly Activity to Try?

Take this quiz to see what myasthenia gravis-friendly activity you may want to try.