05 Jan Must-try sensory activities for kids with autism
Almost every child with autism has sensory challenges.
Our world is filled with overwhelming sensory experiences. Some kids are underwhelmed and need lots of stimulation, and other children are easily overstimulated by lights, sounds, and scents.
There are tons of sensory activities that you can do with your children, young and old, to help them enjoy and cope with a variety of sensory stimuli.
Here are a few favorite sensory activities:
(Always monitor all sensory activities.)
1. Sand or water box – Fill a Tupperware container with sand, rice, or water and encourage your child to get his hands dirty. He may only tolerate it for a few seconds, and that’s okay. You can always work on increasing the amount of time. Hide his favorite toys in the container, so that he has to dig through to find them.
2. Hide beads in playdough – Either using store-bought or homemade playdough, hide small objects (i.e. beads) in the playdough for your child to pull out. Then, have him place the beads in a bowl after he pulls them out of the dough. This encourages following two-step directions, promotes fine-motor skills, helps improve focus and attention, and is fun! You can also try using a visual tool that describes the steps involved in the task.
3. Create a fabric board – Using fabric samples that you can find at an arts and crafts store, glue different materials to a foam board or piece of plywood. Place the board on the wall at eye-level, and encourage your child to touch the different fabrics. You can have him pick out the fabrics that feel good to him such as felt, flannel, silk, carpet samples, or maybe even sandpaper. This is great for children who tend to be tactilely defensive, as it promotes the sense of touch.
4. Fun with scents – Fill old film canisters or other containers (that are not transparent) with different scents. Have your child guess what the scent is. You can put lemon, cinnamon, garlic, peppermint, or anything else that has a distinguishable scent. This game can be so much fun. You can even create a visual tool where the child has to match the scent with the picture.
5. Glue on a board – Squeeze Elmer’s Glue on a clipboard and let it dry overnight. The next day, let your child peel the glue off the board. This activity is especially great for children who pick their skin or their cuticles. It also provides great fine-motor practice.
Remember that different children like different things, so it’s great to try out a variety of activities.