With many schools being virtual and more families staying home due to the pandemic, now is a great time to try autism-friendly activities that the whole family can enjoy.
For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), activities that incorporate the senses can be an excellent way to improve your child’s attention span, self-expression, and reduce any anxiety.
Below are some activities to consider trying with your child. We recommend evaluating your child’s abilities, behavior, and age to determine which activities to try and how much supervision is needed.
Capturing Photos with an Instant Camera
Taking photos can be a great way for children with autism to express themselves. Providing your child with a camera to take pictures can help you see the world from your child’s viewpoint. Kid-friendly instant cameras are often a big hit for children with autism because they provide immediate gratification by immediately printing out photos.
Create a Scrapbook
Making a scrapbook can be a fantastic activity that the whole family can enjoy, and it’s a great way to display the photos you have. There are several services like Shutterfly, Smilebox, and even Costco that offer digital scrapbooking where you design from your computer and order online for printing. Creating a more traditional scrapbook using photos already printed like those from an instant camera and adding stickers and other embellishments can be an even greater sensory activity.
Play with Playdough
Research has shown that sensory play with tools such as playdough can help aid social interaction. Playdough can also be a wonderful source of tactile stimulation. It’s important to note that playdough usage, like other sensory activities, may need to get modified for a safe and enjoyable experience, depending on each child’s toleration and behavior. For example, kids that can’t tolerate the texture of playdough may enjoy it more through a sealed plastic bag so your child can see it but not feel it, or under a piece of fabric so your child can feel it but not see it. If you opt to try DIY playdough, you may need to experiment to determine which one works best for you and your child.
Get Creative with Toy Blocks
Toy blocks, also called building blocks, can function as powerful learning tools. They can help children develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination, cognitive flexibility, language skills, and more. Toy blocks can also help encourage pretend play. You provide your child with an appropriately scaled accessory toy-like people and cars to help manifest ideas for construction projects or combine toy blocks with story time to give your child ideas on what to build.
Make a Sensory Bottle
Sensory bottles can provide a calming experience for children with autism. Along with all the benefits that sensory bottles can provide a child with autism, they’re especially great for sensory play because they make no mess. Making sensory bottles can be a fun activity for everyone in the family, and the bottles themselves can become a peaceful object for your child with autism (and anyone else) to focus on. Click here for one way to make a sensory bottle.
Teach Concepts with Traceable Worksheets
Many children with ASD are visual learners, so worksheets can be a very effective way to teach concepts, especially now that many schools are online. Educate Autism offers several free downloadable traceable worksheets.
Try Coin Rubbing
Coin Rubbing is an activity that children with autism often enjoy as they make colorful patterns using crayons on paper covering coins. As a bonus, you can use this activity to discuss the value of coins, different types of currency, and places and dates that are marked on the coins.
If you would like to learn more about autism-friendly activities or would like individualized assistance, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.