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In 2018, approximately 1 in 59 children got diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
This condition affects brain development and impacts how a child socializes with others, making communication difficult. It may involve limited, repetitive behavior patterns and may develop into adulthood.
So, how do you engage these kids in activities if socializing and communication is a problem?
Here are several activities for children with autism that can help your child stay motivated.
1. Arts Projects
Art projects are engaging and fun activities for kids with autism. The structured step-by-step approach gives your child a sense of control and enhances curiosity. What’s more, it helps them develop hand-to-eye coordination skills, which can also help them in writing and reading.
Some popular crafts projects you can engage your child in include:
Paper Plate Crafts
This simple project involves cutting several paper plates into animal and flower shapes, and then coloring them into something attractive.
Bubble Wrap Painting
Though messy, this activity can be a great way to introduce your child to color mixing principles. You’ll need paint, a large sheet of paper, and bubble wrap. Tape the bubble wrap around your child’s feet and have them walk over different paints and into the sheet of paper to create a visually appealing texture.
Calm Down Bottles
For this, you’ll need a clear plastic bottle, different shades of glitter, food coloring, and colored marbles. Mix all the ingredients together in the bottle, add some water, shake them, and let your child explore the different color combinations in the bottle.
You can use this art piece as a calm-down item during your child’s stressful moments.
2. Outdoor Activities
Since most kids love playing with sand, you should consider setting up a permanent sand kitchen in your garden space. Try to incorporate a good selection of playing materials such as rakes, molds, sieves, and buckets. You could also set up a water play area for hot, summer hot days.
Alternatively, engage them in outdoor games like treasure hunts or hide and seek. These activities will help them use several senses together as well as promote engagement. It’ll also help you identify their motor weaknesses and play time fears, allowing you to provide support where needed.
3. Slimy Sensory Play
Playing with slime can be a great way to encourage tactile skills in autistic kids. You can let your child pull or squeeze on the slime to calm them down when they get stressed.
If your child is averse to messy activities, consider using soft fluffy slime, since it doesn’t stick on hands or surfaces. Cornstarch slime can be a little messy, but ideal for building a tolerance to wet materials. You could also make edible slime; however, avoid adding food color as it may cause stomach upsets.
4. Whole-Body Learning
Another way you can stimulate senses and encourage learning is by incorporating whole body movement activities. These activities allow your child to explore different concepts of physical learning. It’s also crucial for providing sensory breaks to prevent your child from getting mental breakdowns.
One of the ways you can provide these movement opportunities is by providing fitness balls or small trampolines. This will allow movement and help them to decompress.
Alternatively, you can enroll them to an Applied Behavior Analysis clinic where they’ll get high-quality interventions and physical exercises for their condition. Read more here to understand how ABA therapy can benefit your child.
5. Making Music
Music is another excellent way to engage kids with motor and language limitation.
For this, you can simply turn some of the everyday sensory materials into musical instruments. Items like beads, rubber bands, rice, and tin foil provide auditory feedback when you shake, roll, or pluck them, making them good materials.
That said; consider mixing several materials for different sound mixes. For example, you could:
- Partially fill a plastic bottle with dried beans or rice to make shakers.
- Thread beads or buttons to a string for a rattle.
- Use a wooden spoon to beat on a plastic can for a drumming experience.
- Hang some shells or bottles tops near a windy area to serve as chimes.
Keep in mind that this activity may not be the best one for a kid who doesn’t like noise. So, ensure the sounds doesn’t irritate your child.
6. Obstacle Courses
Set up an obstacle course which requires your child to move over, under, or around various objects. To make it more exciting, have your child wear a blindfold and give directions on how to get through the obstacle test. This will significantly help them improve their other senses.
Alternatively, you can play a pretend game. For instance, you can ask your child to jump like a kangaroo or hop like a frog. These activities can be a fun way to build their gross motor skills. Additionally, it can be an excellent activity for having some physical exercise which is also great for the mind.
7. Ice Cube Painting
Most kids with autism are more engaged in visually appealing tasks. To this activity, pour colored kids paints into the ice tray and allow them to freeze. Once frozen, remove them and help your child create beautiful swirling designs with the melting ice over the paper.
This task will help them practice their color recognition and observation skills. It can also provide an outlet for creative expression, especially if your child is having communication trouble. Make sure they use tongs when using the ice cubes.
Encourage Activities for Children with Autism
Just like other kids, children with autism want to get engaged and stimulated by their activities.
You can expect it to be somewhat challenging to get your child motivated by some of these activities for children with autism. But with practice and lots of creative ideas, their interactions will certainly get easier for them.
Feel free to share this content to help other kids with this condition.