If you’re looking for a fun way to engage with your autistic child, sensory activities are probably the way to go. Children diagnosed with autism frequently have heightened senses that result in either aversion to certain activities/objects OR absolutely love engaging in different activities/with objects. Sensory activities can be used for learning, but often, it’s just for pure fun and smiles.
Here are some sensory activities parents can do with their children:
Sandpaper and crayons - Coloring on sandpaper is no mean task. This activity provides kids with the learning opportunity to work on their motor skills as well as experience with new textures. Pick up sandpaper from the local hardware store or Walmart and let the kids work on drawing magic on the sandpaper.
Shaving Cream – Shaving cream is a fun! Get a couple of cans from Dollar Tree and just let your kid have at it. Your child may enjoy drawing with in the shaving cream or some may just want to squish it in their hands. A baking pan or just clear off table are great places to do this activity. Non-scented options are suggested as to not have an additional sense activated during the activity.
Edible Sensory Bins – Edible sensory bins are the solution to fun and safe for the mouth. Children who also demonstrate pica, will be able to participate in this activity without worry. Hide items such as toy cars, trains, play doh tools and have a scooper on hand let your child engage in seek and find in the sensory bin. You will need a bin, edible sensory items (i.e. bland cooked pasta) and the toys. Note: Your child may just want to enjoy the tactile sensory feel of the item in the bin and no toys are needed.
Ice paintings – This fun activity stimulates your child’s sense of creativity. Take an empty ice tray and pour different acrylic paints into them with a wooden craft stick stuck into each compartment. Let it freeze in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the frozen sticks of paint and hand them over to the children to work their wonders on large sheets of white drawing paper. Note: This activity is best for hot summery days.
Finding Hidden Toys – This is quite simple and involves taking a bucket/container and filling it with colorful beads or PVC pellets used in stuffing bean bags. Here you hide or stuff some toys into the bucket. Then you ask the child to dig out the toys one by one by feeling for them.
Water Bins – Water bins are the most fun of all activities. All you need is a bin or bucket or small pool of some kind, fill it with water and just watch the happiness on your child’s face. Toys, bubbles, a sprinkler or maybe you as the parent are added to the water fun and with that your child is happy and you get to engage with your child in their world.
As you can see, there is a whole gamut of activities (homemade creative ones or available in stores) which you can as parents join in the fun with your children. If there's a special sensory activity you join in with your child, please share it with us. We would love to share it with the wider community.