Sensory activities deliver significant advantages to all children, but they are especially beneficial for kids with autism. Though autistic kids face challenges with processing sensory information, the right set of activities can help your child in various ways by stimulating all five of their senses. Here are five fun sensory activities that you can try with your child with autism.
Playing with scented playdough will appeal to a tactile sense as well as the sense of smell. All that you need to do is make a big batch of homemade playdough. Divide the dough into separate bowls and mix with different ingredients in order to create distinct scents. Good ideas include vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon juice. You can even add food coloring to match the scent. As your child plays with the dough, they can try to guess the scent.
This activity will build fine motor skills as well as provide stimulation for the brain by boosting the sensory processing systems. You can also take this one step further and make homemade slime using cornflour and water.
Sand or Water Table
For some backyard fun, consider building or purchasing a sand or water table. This classic activity stimulates curiosity and provides an insatiable tactile experience for your child. Be sure to invest in the appropriate accessories to make it more fun. For the sand table, consider rakes, shovels, and molds.
This will inspire creativity and keep your child from becoming bored. Good accessories for the water table include buckets, cups, and other items that they can use to transfer water from one place to another. This simple activity will keep your child entertained for hours.
Toy Train Set
It is understandable that a train set will appeal to children with autism. There has long been a connection between autism and trains. The wheels on the train are attractive because of their ability to spin and rotate. Children with autism also like trains because they can be categorized into different models, sizes, and colors. It is not unusual for a child with autism to be attracted to trains solely because of this characteristic.
Purchasing your child a train set will appeal to them on many levels, keeping them entertained while also indulging their innate desire to organize while they play.
Introducing the beauty of music to your child is an ideal way to stimulate multiple senses at once. You can purchase your own kid-friendly instruments or you can make your own with items that you have around your house. Shakers and rattles are easy to make using empty plastic bottles filled with rice, dried beans, buttons, or beads. Be sure to carefully seal the bottle. Filling plastic eggs with different objects and letting your child guess what is inside by the sound it makes is also a fun activity. Or try making a drum set using wooden spoons and plastic containers.
For something less active, you can create a set of wind chimes with string and bottle caps. This activity is perfect for appealing to the sense of hearing as well as tactile engagement.
You can boost your child’s sense of touch by building a sensory board. Include a variety of items with different textures. Start with affixing a plastic mirror in the center of the board. You probably have all that you need just lying around your home. Pieces of rope, fabric in varying textures, shoelaces, old doorknobs, and chains are just a few ideas of things that you can attach to your homemade sensory board. While this may take a bit of time to ensure that everything is safely secured, the finished product will be well worth your effort.
With a little creativity, you can develop a haven of fun and learning in your home for your child with autism. By focusing on engaging all of the senses, you will stimulate your child’s brain, improve social skills, boost fine and gross motor skills, and calm down agitated children. Remember that every child is different with varying needs and behaviors, making it important that you realize that not every activity will be appealing to them.