Sometimes trying to come up with activities for autistic kids that will be fun, educational and not cost a lot can be a struggle. So it’s reassuring to know that there are a number of possibilities out there, it’s just a matter of finding some that will appeal to your child’s personal tastes. The following are examples of popular activities for autistic children between the ages of 7 and 11.
- Singing - autistic children gain a number of benefits from singing. Children who are non-verbal can hum, make sounds, or play musical instruments such as whistles, tambourines, drums, kazoos, or small keyboards. Repeating sounds, making up new tunes, or even learning educational lyrics can be very useful for helping kids to learn and may also provide them some much-needed sensory stimulation - the same they would get from yelling, only more pleasing to the parental ear! Mimicking one another’s notes and tunes can be an important social experience that encourages interaction. Experiment with different sounds and different types of music to find the ones your child enjoys and responds best to.
- Funny Sounds - making and mimicking funny sounds can be a laughter-filled social learning experience for autistic kids and their parents. Children enjoy the sensory outlet and repetition element of this game. You can try writing down a number of different animals or items on different pieces of paper and whichever you choose you have to make the appropriate noise.
- Castles - building castles out of just about anything can be a great deal of fun. The type of building “blocks” depends on the motor skills of the child. It can range from plastic or wooden alphabet blocks to large “Lego” or “Duplo” style blocks, or even playing cards if they’re manually dexterous.
- Safe Emergencies - these games are educational based but can also be fun to. They involve enacting the right procedures for what to do in an emergency event. This includes what to do in case of fire and other urgent situations. The important part of these games is to build a calm routine around them.
- Simple Board Games - Begin with simple or basic board games and increase the difficulty level as your child gets older and learns how to work with the rules of the games. Many board games are enjoyable activities for autistic kids because they are relatively predictable and provide a routine. They also encourage turn taking, but make sure losing is never a big deal, it’s just an outcome. Otherwise they may associate negative emotions with the game and refuse to play.
- Simple Childhood Games - think back to your childhood and the games you used to play. For many children there’s no reason why they can’t take part in basic childhood games. As long as they are not too socially complex, many autistic children can have a lot of fun playing games such as tag or follow the leader. Keep in mind that the best activities for autistic children don’t require them to keep close or extended physical contact with other people. You may want to make sure that you stick to games that focus on your child’s unique skills to add comfort and confidence to the playing.
- Organized Sports - many children enjoy taking part in organized sports like any other children their age. Aim for sports that allow them to take part without too much sensory stimulation and that doesn’t require lots of equipment. Golf and baseball are good activities for autistic kids, whereas sports such as tackle football may not suit.
- Water Balloons - autistic children can often benefit from various sensory stimulators and water balloons can fit the bill. Tossing them about, or holding and squishing them can be lots of fun. This also encourages children to play with others when it comes to games such as “hot potato” - tossing the water filled balloon to one another pretending it’s a hot potato.
- Skipping Rocks - if you are fortunate enough to live near water and your child is responsible around water, skipping rocks can be a great way to have fun and use arm muscles, encouraging the development of motor skills. If you have a swimming pool that is large enough, you can try skipping plastic floating disks instead.
- I Spy - whether trying to pass the time in the car or sitting in the yard, this game is a great way to learn colors socially interact with others.
These activities for autistic children are a great way to have fun, learn important lessons, and develop basic social skills without spending the earth.