Activities for children with autism: 10 fun activities

April 1, 2022

Activities for children with autism can help spark creativity, improve learning and communication, and develop fine and gross motor abilities. To help you foster an engaging environment, we've compiled a list of 10 activities for children with autism.

10 fun activities for children with autism

These are a few of the most common activities children with autism and their families participate in. Of course, your passions and those of your child may be entirely different, but these suggestions should give you plenty of ideas to try and improve later on.

1. The name game

This is an entertaining way to practice group communication and teach children an important life skill: how to introduce oneself and learn the names of others. 

  1. Begin by pointing to yourself and introducing yourself ("My name is Mr. or Mrs."). 
  2. Then ask the child to give their name and then recite your name while gesturing at you. 

The name game is a particularly appealing social skills game for children with autism to participate in before starting the school year. In this way, they will be capable of learning their classmates’ names and start making new friends.

2. Calm down bottles

Calm-down bottles are great for long waits, vehicle rides, haircuts, and classroom meltdowns. All you need are three things you probably already have in your home: a bottle, some water, and glitter glue.

  1. Fill any plastic bottle container (water or soda) halfway with warm water and a bottle of glitter glue. While adding the warm water, add a bottle of glitter glue or more fine glitter for a more sparkly result. 
  2. Shut the bottle and give it a good shake. 
  3. The glitter swirls before finally settling. 
  4. This bottle can assist in sensory input for your child.

3. Paper-crafted fortune-tellers

Most students learn how to build a paper fortune-teller during their school years. With a paper fortune-teller, you may construct any number of themes to practice skills, including:

  • Posing questions
  • Responding to teasing
  • Recognizing feelings
  • Giving and getting praises
  • Navigating social situations

4. The emotion cards

Printable cards for children with autism are available from various websites and might assist children in learning to recognize various emotions in themselves and others. To create effective emotion cards, take note of the following:

  • Each card should be cut out with scissors and shuffled in a deck. 
  • Then, without looking at the word, go through the deck and see whether your child can recognize the feeling.

If they get overwhelmed, just tell them the term and offer them some meaning for the emotion they are experiencing. For example, if the card says "embarrassed," you may respond, "When an individual is embarrassed, they may believe they have done something silly or incorrect by accident."

5. Board games with etiquette

Teaching children good manners can help them develop social skills and understand the value of being nice. This simple but powerful exercise adds an etiquette dimension to a simple chess game, checkers, or mancala by teaching participants to wish their opponent "good luck" or "good game" both before and after the game. This game also teaches turn-taking skills.

6. What would you do in this situation?

Play the game "What Will You Do?" as a take-home activity that you may do with your family. Start with questions like "How would you help?" and "What would you say?" This exercise improves social skills and develops the ability to form and maintain relationships.

7. Autism-friendly yoga ball activities

  • You and your child can roll a yoga ball to each other.
  • You can position your child on a yoga ball and encourage them to bounce while trying not to fall off.
  • You can also rest the child on their stomach on top of the ball and roll them back and forth while holding their feet.

Yoga ball activities need some coordination, making them an excellent care technique for improving balance. As a safety precaution, remember to do these in a designated area with floor space.

8. Coin rubbing

In this activity, children learn fine motor skills by creating patterns on a piece of paper. Here are the steps in the activity:

  1. Collect a few distinct coins.
  2. Set a piece of paper over the top.
  3. Have the child rub a multicolored pattern into the paper using mixed crayons. 

9. Magical pairing activity

Pairing games are a fantastic method to help your child learn while having fun. By using foods, animals, or numbers, you can adapt this game to suit what your child is learning at school.

  • Try putting 10-15 various printed words on one end of a table.
  • Have your child match the words to the pictures on the other side. 

This game can also be a great opportunity to reinforce what your child is learning at school while you are both engaged in a fun activity. 

10. Smelling game

Children with autism are fascinated by their senses and their part in exploring their surroundings. For this game, you can:

  • Fill tiny containers with aromatic substances like lavender, coffee, or soap (old, painted jam jars work well for this). 
  • Ask your child to identify the distinct odors by placing a seal over the top with a piece of cloth and a rubber band.

What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that interferes with brain development. It impacts one's communication abilities and can lead to various behavioral and social issues.

The 'spectrum' in Autism Spectrum Disorder means that each individual's symptoms and severity may vary. Some people with autism have remarkable learning and problem-solving ability, while others have difficulty with simple activities.

Challenges faced by children with autism in playing

It might be challenging to get a child with autism to participate in play activities. The following are the probable reasons: 

  • Many children with autism engage in repetitive behaviors and may become resistant to disruptions. 
  • Many children with autism also have trouble focusing and attending, making it difficult to engage in items or activities. 
  • Many children with autism are more concerned with their bodily movement during playtime than with the words necessary to acquire the rules or concepts.

Note that the exact same traits that make play challenging for children with autism are also the distinct traits that make play more crucial to address them. By playing, you can introduce new patterns, raise their attentiveness, and develop their communication skills.

To bridge the gap between children with autism, other children their age, and their surroundings, you must include them in different activities. The examples above can be modified for your child’s interests and abilities.

Conclusion

If you are a parent of a child with autism, you are well aware of the joys and challenges of raising them. But, if you think you require professional aid with teaching and organizing activities for your child, contact Songbird.

Songbird Therapy is a technology-enabled provider. We set and follow a higher standard for children's autism care. With a profoundly passionate team and innovative technology, we're building a world where every child can access world-class care at home, uniquely tailored to them.

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