Summer Activities for Children with Autism: Inclusive & Sensory-Friendly Ideas - Cultivate Behavioral Health & Education - ABA Therapy Sensory Crafts

Summer is an ideal time to explore new activities with children, especially those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The longer days and brighter weather provide opportunities for engaging experiences. Play is a crucial role in the development and well-being of children on the autism spectrum. Through fun activities, children can enhance their social, learning, and communication skills.

When introducing new activities or experiences to your child, it’s important to include some familiarity along with new elements. For example, if your child enjoys jumping on the trampoline, consider incorporating a short slime-making activity for 5 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of trampoline play as a reward. It’s okay if the new activity isn’t successful right away. Having a backup plan, such as an alternative activity your child enjoys, offers flexibility, and ensures a positive experience.

Our team has compiled a list of inclusive, accessible, and budget-friendly summertime activities that families with children on the autism spectrum can enjoy together. These activities cater specifically to sensory needs and promote holistic development.

  1. Sensory Slime Time: Many children with autism enjoy sensory play, making slime a popular choice. Did you know you can create awesome, kid-friendly slime at home? Try our kid-approved recipe with just six ingredients for a slime-y good time! Learn how to make slime at Create Kids Club Slime Sensory Play.
  2. Taster-friendly Slime Time: If you’re concerned about your child putting slime in their mouth, we have an alternative for you: pudding slime. This fun and engaging activity not only gets kids involved in the kitchen but also provides a safe option for those who enjoy the mouth-feel experience. The recipe requires a few simple ingredients found in your kitchen. The recipe can be found at Create Kids Club Pudding Slime.
  3. Shaving Cream Art: For outdoor play, consider engaging in shaving cream art. This activity combines the sensory experience of shaving cream with creativity. Simply mix shaving cream with food coloring or liquid watercolor of your choice and use your hands and feet to create fun art! Visit Fantastic Fun and Learning for more information on shaving cream play.
  4. Sensory-friendly Board Games: On days when you need a break from the sun or want to keep your child occupied indoors, sensory-friendly board games are a fantastic option. These games provide a balance between fun and skill development. Here are some of our favorite board games and the skills they help children with autism practice:
    a. Catch the Fox (social/sharing skills)
    b. Kerplunk (fine motor skills)
    c. Hoot Owl Hoot (cooperation skill-building)
    d. Hungry Hippos Unicorn Edition (social and fine motor skills)
    e. Soggy Doggy (sensory friendly)
    f. Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (fine motor skills)
    g. Feed the Woozle (gross motor skills)

Whether you choose indoor or outdoor activities, our goal is to help you create lasting memories with your loved ones. Remember that not all new activities may go as planned, and that’s perfectly fine. One effective approach is to model the activity for your child. Watching you make slime might be less overwhelming for the child and they can always try touching or playing with the slime once it’s done. The important thing to remember is to follow your child’s lead, be flexible and of course, have fun!