Spending time with your family is important, especially when you have a child with autism. These moments provide the perfect opportunity to learn more about your child’s interests, reinforce ABA techniques, and establish relationships with one another.
Engaging in creative and structured activities outside of school and center-based environments can help children develop problem-solving, communication, and social skills. As a parent, you may struggle to create new ideas that your child will enjoy. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of creative weekend ideas perfect for families of kids with autism to enjoy.
Try sensory play
Sensory play is an excellent way to help children with autism develop their senses. Plan to spend your Saturday afternoon creating sensory bins or bottles full of glitter, toys, and more! They can reuse their containers and bottles whenever they’re stimming or want to have fun playing with their small toys. You can also create homemade sensory playdough using flour, salt, and water.
Explore outdoor adventures
Exploring nature is a fantastic way to engage the senses and provide sensory stimulation and physical activity opportunities. Going on a hike, visiting a botanical garden, or taking a nature walk can be fun and educational ways to get outside together. Try practicing the activity at home first if your child is uncomfortable with new or unpredictable situations, so they can better prepare when you head out.
Family game night
Game night is a classic family activity that you can easily tailor to suit kids with autism. Playing board games, card games, or simple outdoor games like frisbee or cornhole can all be engaging ways to bond with your family. Family game night is also a great time to put those play-practice skills to the test by taking turns and practicing cooperative behaviors—compromising, listening, and engaging. Just be sure to choose games that are age-appropriate and take your child’s interests into account.
Arts and crafts power hour
Many kids with autism can benefit from the therapeutic factors arts and crafts can bring. Setting up a craft station at home with various art supplies like paint, clay, and markers can be a great way to encourage creativity and self-expression. You can also try taking a trip to a local art studio or museum for more hands-on art activities.
Many entertainment venues now offer sensory-friendly versions of their activities. These might include dimmed lights, reduced noise, and other accommodations to make the experience more comfortable and enjoyable for kids with autism. Check out your local movie theater, bowling alley, or indoor playground to see if they offer sensory-friendly options.
Take your weekends to the next level with our list of creative ideas for families of children with autism. Doing so can be a positive experience for your children and bring the family together in various ways. Remember to be patient and flexible and try to understand your child’s unique needs and preferences. Families can create memories that will last a lifetime with a little creativity.