Exposure to different sensory experiences can help your child with autism learn to manage sensations and interact better with the outside world.
Of course every child is different and some children with autism won’t enjoy crafts or getting messy at all!
But if your child is inclined to like this sort of activity, then exploring some new sensory crafts can be a great way to help relax and calm your child.
Activities should always be targeted to your own child’s needs but engaging children with autism in sensory activities can help in lots of ways:
- Improve social skills, such as communication, cooperation and empathy
- Help coordination, particularly fine motor skills but also gross motor skills
- Calm and relax
- Improve imagination
- Increase play with siblings
It’s a good idea to stimulate all of the five senses - touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing and then see what works well and what you should avoid repeating in the future.
These activities can be done with the whole family - all children will benefit and it might help team work too.
Why not make some musical instruments?
It can be just as fun to make them as to play with afterwards. You can make shakers by filling plastic bottles with rice or dried beans, drums by using wooden spoons to beat on tubs or saucepans, or rattles by threading some beads on a string. Why not also try a guitar to strum by using a cereal box and pulling rubber bands across a cut-out hole?
Children can try different kinds of foods while blindfolded and try to guess what it is. This can be a good way to introduce new tastes and textures. You could try lemons, jelly, rice, avocado, tomato sauce or anything you think your child will find interesting.
Freeze their toys
This takes a couple of days of planning. Pop some small toys such as lego men or dinosaur figures into ice-cube trays, fill with water and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, your child can then work out how to get the toys out of the ice by experiment. They could use warm water, toy hammers or even salt to see what helps the ice melt the fastest.
Window painting with shaving cream
Buy a can of shaving cream and head outside. Then pop a good amount of shaving cream onto the window. If appropriate, your child could help spray too. Practice writing letters or drawing pictures or just feel the cream with hands. Next task- clean the windows!
Go on a sensory walk
Find a few plastic tubs and put them along the pavement or your back garden. Fill each one with different items for your child to touch. You could use cotton wool balls, sand, shaving cream, water beads, lentils, leaves, sequins or flour. It might be a good idea to have a bucket of clean water available to wash hands in between. Encourage your child to walk between the tubs and explore each one. Talk about what each one feels like.
Why not let us know what works for you and your child? We always love to hear new ideas and it’s good to share your activities with other people too.