18+ Interesting Games And Activities For A Child With Autism

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If you’re raising a child diagnosed with autism, you know the struggles that come with it. However, both you and your child are brave enough to face it and find ways to achieve things in life, and for that, kudos to you. In this post, we have listed several activities for children with autism so that you can involve them in fun and cool playtime moments with you or other kids.

In This Article

What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobiological health condition that affects normal brain development. It affects a person’s communication skills and also leads to several behavioral and social challenges (1).

The ‘spectrum’ in ASD means the ASD symptoms and the severity of these symptoms may differ for each person. Some people with ASD may have exceptional learning and problem-solving abilities while others may struggle with simple learning tasks. (2)

You have to involve children with autism in activities to bridge the gap between them and their surrounding environment. Below are a few indoor and outdoor games and activities you can teach your toddler and younger kids.

Fun Indoor Activities For Children With Autism

These autism games and activities can improve social skills as they help strengthen the bond between your child and those around her.

Renee, grandmother of Marcus, a child with autism, shares how playing with Marcus has helped him. In a learning session with Jenny, a speech-language pathologist, Renne says, “He likes playing by himself, and whenever you would sit down with him, he would kind of move away, and he is getting very, very frustrated not being able to communicate.

“We think it has to be something so difficult, and we have to have all this education about autism to work with them. Actually, I’ve learned here with Jenny that it’s just the little simple things that you do and simplify the way you think about playing with them that help them the most (i).”

So, you can create fun-filled and engaging activities with a little effort from your side to aid in the development of a child with autism:

1. Create A Shredded Flower Bouquet:

This creative art therapy activity involves the ripping and shredding of paper to create a beautiful composition to use as a decorative element. This activity targets sensory play for children with autism who will love the sensory touch of handling paper and playing with shapes and colors.

You Will Need:

  • Watercolor paper – 11” * 17”
  • Flesh-colored paper
  • Bright colored construction papers
  • Green colored construction papers – various shades
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

How To Do:

  1. Take a flesh-colored paper and let your little one trace his or her hand and arm. Cut out the trace.
  2. Keep watercolor paper in a portrait style.
  3. Now lay the paper hand across the bottom of the watercolor paper and see to it that the fingers touch the end of the paper.
  4. Cut the arm part and glue it on watercolor paper.
  5. Now help your child cut and tear long thin stems of green paper, then leaf shapes including small and big, flat and round, and thin and long.
  6. Place the stems in between the fingers, a few overlapping the thumb and most going beneath the fingers.
  7. Apply glue and then paste the stems at the bottom. Do not stick at the top.
  8. Now try to make the fingers hold the flowers by folding the fingers under and gluing them. Or you can even snip the fingers off to show the effect of bent fingers.
  9. Paste the leaves on and around the stems.
  10. Now cut or rip the colored paper into various petal shapes.
  11. Paste the petals. Try to overlap the stems and petals as much as possible so that the activity looks beautiful.
protip_icon Point to consider
When selecting a game, ensure you pick something that has an element of interest for your child. For instance, if they like flowers, then pick a game that incorporates flowers.

2. Underwater I Spy Alphabet Bottle:

Play therapy is effective in improving the social skills of children with autism. Here is a great alphabet bottle activity that will help to keep your little one focused and engaged. Your kids can recognize letters in a creative manner through the shiny floating sequins.

You Will Need:

  • Plastic soda or empty water bottle
  • Alphabet beads
  • Sequins
  • Glitter
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Highlighter
  • Paper sheet
  • Glue gun

How To Do:

  1. Take all the beads from A to Z and place them on the table. Ask your child to drop those letters one by one into the bottle.
  2. Your child can then drop sequins followed by glitter.
  3. Fill half of the bottle with water and another half with corn syrup. The role of corn syrup is to slow down the motion of the elements present inside, and it also prevents the glitter from sticking together.
  4. Apply glue to the lid so that the liquid inside will not spill.
  5. Shake the bottle and let your little one watch it. Ask her to find each letter and spot the letters in her name by shaking the bottle.

Free Worksheets and Printables for Kids

3. Paint With Ice:

Kids love swirling the paint on paper to create beautiful patterns. It helps them to improve their color observation and recognition skills. This is an interesting learning activity for toddlers and preschoolers with autism.

You Will Need:

Liquid egg tempera paint
Craft sticks
Ice cube tray
Plastic wrap
Paper

How To Do:

  1. Ask your child to pour paint into the ice tray and let herself analyze how many colors of cubes she wants.
  2. Have her keep a craft stick in the middle of each cube. If the sticks cannot stay standing, cover the tray with plastic wrap and then poke them through the wrap.
  3. Now let her keep the tray in the freezer until the color cubes form.
  4. Once the water freezes, ask your little one to choose one color cube.
  5. Holding the craft stick, she can swirl the paint cube on the paper. It leaves a beautiful stream of paint on the paper.
  6. Ask her to take different cubes and repeat the same.
  7. You can discuss things like how the paint transformed when kept in the freezer, what is happening when it is on paper, how it melts, and more.

4. Practice Paint Chip Storytelling:

Narrating a story is just like painting a picture where words are used instead of paint. A form of speech therapy, here, your little tot takes the help of paint chips and words to narrate a story. This helps to improve her narrative and imaginative abilities.

You Will Need:

  • Color sample cards that have interesting names
  • Pen and paper
  • Glue
  • Dictionary

How To Do:

  1. Let your kid pick five color sample cards with interesting names from which she can build a story. To make the story more interesting, you can ask her to pick random cards.
  2. If she is not aware of the words, let her check for the meaning in a dictionary.
  3. Now, she should think about how to link those five names to create a story.
  4. For instance, if she has the names Annie, Skating Pond, Cherry Lipstick, Pearl, and Hat, she has to think of a story that has all these names. Each word should be present in one paragraph. The paragraphs should link together as a story.
  5. Now ask her to stick the color sample words next to each paragraph. Add color to the pages.

While your little one reads aloud the story, you can understand her creative skills, suggest new words, point out the language and discuss it so as to improve her creative skills.

protip_icon Quick tip
Hone your child’s skills by selecting games that use their strength. For instance, if your child is good with identifying visual cues, play games that will put this skill into use.

5. Making Shapes:

These are beautiful matching learning activities for children with autism to introduce the concept of puzzles. A craft stick contains only a half shape, and you need to find the other half and place them side by side to complete the shape. This will focus on your child’s fine motor skills.

You Will Need:

  • 20 craft sticks
  • Markers of different colors

How To Do:

  1. Place two craft sticks next to each other. Ask your child to draw a shape such that when you split those two sticks, the shape is equally present on the two.
  2. Let your little one create as many stick pairs as possible.
  3. Now ask her to mix all the sticks.
  4. Your child can find the sticks and join them to create the correct shapes.

Let your kid take up the shapes of a square, circle, triangle, and whatever is easy. Help your little one understand the concept of symmetry so that she draws symmetric shapes.

6. Sculpt Clay Snowflakes:

Let them start pulling and kneading it.

Image: IStock

You can have your child make sparkling snowflakes and thus experience the winter from your home. Sculpting clay is an amazing way to boost your little one’s motor skills and improve the sensory experience of pulling, kneading and squishing.

You Will Need:

  • Air-dry white clay
  • Glitter in opal and silver shades
  • Clay molding tools like craft sticks, pencil erasers, and a spoon
  • Egg tempera paint
  • Thin paint brush

How To Do:

  1. Help your kid prepare the clay to create sculptures. Let them start pulling and kneading it. Once it turns soft, add glitter and tell her to knead again.
  2. Once that is mixed properly, help her mold the clay into snowflakes. Encourage her to design a variety of shapes by using modeling tools as well.
  3. Let her add color by using tempera paint. Leave it for a while to dry.

Teach your kid about the symmetry of hexagons through by this activity.

7. Make Number Rubbings:

Children love crayons, and you can put this art by introducing them to rubbings. It helps to improve eye-hand coordination and works the small muscles of the hands.

You Will Need:

  • Paper
  • Black color marker
  • Blank paper – 10 pieces with one number on each
  • Objects with different textures – 10, which can be leaves, coins, sandpaper, etc.
  • Pencil
  • Safety scissors
  • Lined paper
  • Crayons

How To Do:

  1. Draw one to ten numbers on blank papers, one number on each sheet. Draw blocked, big, and outlined numbers for easy coloring.
  2. Help your child make a design by placing a texture below the paper and rubbing a crayon on it.
  3. Sit with your child and explain to her to do textures corresponding with the number page. For instance, if it is page 2, ask her to draw two different textures and make a design of it.

It is a great fun activity for kids with autism that teaches math. It helps kids connect numbers with objects to represent the number, thus improving their cognitive development.

8. Finding Toys:

Here is another activity that helps improve your child’s sensory skills by touching and feeling various things.

  1. Take a large plastic tub and fill it with beans or beads.
  2. Hide as many toys as you can inside the box.
  3. Now ask your little one to put her hand into the box and take out the toy by feeling each one.

9. Finger Painting:

It makes your baby feel different textures.

Image: IStock

It is a bit messy but helps your child learn much about colors. It makes your little one feel different textures by touch and will help with emotional regulation.

  • Place tiny blobs of paint of various colors on paper. Then ask your kid to mix those paints using her fingers.
  • Create words, numbers, shapes and various other patterns in the paint and keep a white paper on the top to create a stamp of finger painting.

10. Song Time:

If your child with autism cannot speak, she would have at least gifted with humming, or playing instruments like keyboards, piano, or drums. Music therapy is the way forward in such scenarios. Try singing a song and ask her to hum or create a new tone with any instrument. It will improve her sensory stimulation.

11. Grounding technique

Helping children with autism manage anxiety often involves incorporating grounding techniques that cater to their unique sensory preferences and communication styles. The grounding technique is the use of the senses to regain control of the body in moments of anxiety. In this technique, focus on the 5-4-3-2-1 rule, which implies five things to look at, four things to touch, three things to hear, two things to smell, and one thing to taste. As this technique uses all the senses, it helps calm anxious thoughts and connect to the present moment (3).

No matter what activities for kids with autism you have in mind, the primary challenge lies in choosing the right activity and engaging them in it. Encourage his or her performance in every activity as these autism activities would help your kid connect and communicate with others in a better way!

Fun Games For Child With Autism

Children with autism go through various difficulties every day. They have difficulty understanding human relationships and intimacy. You can take them out, soak them in the sun, and notice a significant change in their behavior. Try the following outdoor and indoor games for children with autism of all ages.

Outdoor Games For Children With Autism

12. Obstacle Course

Outdoors provide significant obstacle courses

Image: IStock

Outdoors provide significant obstacle courses. You can make your little one run around a bush, jump over a stick, down the slide and hug a tree. You do not require any equipment, and it will greatly enhance your kid’s obstacle course options. and strengthen his gross motor skills. Be as creative as you can.

13. Hide N’ Seek

This game can never turn old. People love playing it indoors, but outdoor playing is great. Children giggle and laugh when they see someone hiding behind a tree. You can integrate counting, visual perception and turn-taking into the game.

14. Head To The Playground

Who will not love a playground? It is a perfect area for children to involve in physical activity to improve their motor skills, balance, confidence, social skills, and vestibular orientation. There is no need for panic or hover for their safety. Just stay close in reach and encourage them to go around different slides and swings.

15. Water Therapy

Wait for the rains to arrive and then you can send them outside. You should not bother whether they are with raincoats or not. Just let them get soaked or hand over an umbrella. Give them a broom to slosh away the water and buckets to collect it. The rains will offer a sensory integrationiXThe process by which our brain interprets various sensory information, including touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. episode.

16. Rolling Along

Teach them to pedal the bike.

Image: IStock

Bicycles, skateboards, and scooters encourage balance, linear acceleration and motor planning, which are all essential for sensory processing. Make sure they wear pads and helmets all the time. Teach them to pedal the bike by lowering their seat for their feet to touch the ground. Once they learn to walk and push, you can ask them to raise their seat. Make it a group activity by calling your child’s friends to join in on the fun. Group activities will help with socialization as well.

Caution:

  • Do not leave your kids unattended.
  • Give them proper shoes
  • Apply sunscreen all over their exposed skin

Indoor Games For Children With Autism

17. Colored Beans

You Will Need:

  • Lima beans or pinto beans
  • Tupperware or Glad ware container/bag
  • Food color
  • Paper towel

How To Do:

  1. Ask your child to take a cup of beans into a glad ware container or a bag. Now add 15 drops of any food color you wish.
  2. Now close the lid or cover the bag and shake for about 10 to 15 seconds until you find all the beans are colored.
  3. Spread them evenly on a paper towel and leave them for drying.
  4. Likewise, you can prepare as many colored beans as your child wants. These colored beans will last for several months when stored in an airtight container.
  5. Your kid will have fun moving and running their fingers through the beans.

18. Rainbow Ice Excavation

You Will Need:

  • A few bits and pieces in different colors or rainbow colors
  • Large container or vase
  • Water

How To Do:

  1. Ask your child to gather various bits and pieces
  2. Take a large container, probably a tall one, and measure its capacity.
  3. Divide six layers, add water up to one layer, and then place red color bits and pieces. Place it in the freezer for some time. Take it out and add a second layer of water. Now add orange color bits. Freeze for some more time. Repeat this for six layers.
  4. Once everything is frozen, remove the ice tower by running water over the container and keep it upside down.
  5. You will get an ice tower with which your little one can have fun.

19. Balloon Paint Stamping

You Will Need:

  • Balloon
  • Paint of any color
  • Paper
  • Googly eyes
  • Button

How To Do:

  1. Blow up a balloon and give it to your kid. Ask her to dip it in the paint.
  2. Now let her stamp in the center of your paper to form a circle.
  3. Dip your finger into the paint and ask her to stamp on either side of the circle for creating ears.
  4. Glue in googly eyes on the paint.
  5. Glue the button nose and allow it for drying.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is gymnastics good for a child with autism?

Engaging in gymnastics can provide children with autistic spectrum disorders an enriching environment that may help them develop their social skills and improve their problem-solving abilities. Each type of activity under gymnastics provides a unique opportunity for them to learn and grow.

2. What stims a child with autism?

There could be many factors that might stimulate a child with autism. They could be stimulated while adapting to a new environment or when they are nervous. However, not all stimulants have a negative effect. An autistic child could be clapping every time their favorite music plays. Hence, it is crucial to identify the trigger while trying to manage the stimulation in an autistic child (4).

3. What can a child with autism play with?

Play therapy may encourage and motivate an autistic child to express themsleves.A child with autism could seek comfort in toys that are calming. Sensory toys such as fidget spinners, stuffed toys, or slimes could keep them engaged. However, make sure to purchase toys that are appropriate for their age.

4. How to calm a child with autism?

Empathy is a core skill for a parent or a guardian who looks after a child with autism. First, make them feel safe and let them know you’re there for them. Give them their favorite toys and talk soothingly. Once the child has calmed down, you may try to teach them relaxation techniques for future purposes. Peer support and family involvement are key factors in helping a child with autism.

5. What activities should I avoid if my child has autism?

Mindfulness about your child’s triggers is important. Try to avoid the activities with which your child is uncomfortable. Check if they’ve created an interest in the activity after a few days. If they are still uncomfortable, you may speak to your health professional and seek advice on curating interest in the activity.

Taking care of a child with autism, especially if you’re attempting to teach them, can be a difficult aspect of your daily routine as a parent. However, all indoor and outdoor activities for children with autism described above will help them learn while having fun. These activities also provide avenues to develop their social skills by allowing them to interact with other children and adults. This will encourage self-expression which will lead to an improvement in self-esteem. Remember to get your child involved in these activities and make sure you also join the fun with them.

Infographic: Handling Autism Meltdowns

Students with autism may feel overwhelmed and lose control over their emotions, exhibiting strong reactions at school. We share an infographic containing a few calming activities that may help teachers manage these meltdowns and offer children a safe environment.

calming activities to handle autism meltdowns in classroom (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version


Here are some delightful ways to help your child with autism through these 6 fun game ideas! Pull up your socks to play and bond with your child in a fun and meaningful way.

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cleveland Clinic.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8855-autism
  2. Learning and development in autistic children and teenagers.
    https://raisingchildren.net.au/autism/learning-about-autism/about-autism/how-asd-affects-development
  3. Sensory Grounding: A coping technique for children with anxiety.
    https://www.chnola.org/news-blog/2020/july/sensory-grounding-a-coping-technique-for-childre/
  4. Reducing self-stimulatory behaviors in individuals with autism.
    https://www.mayinstitute.org/news/acl/asd-and-dd-adult-focused/reducing-self-stimulatory-behaviors-in-individuals-with-autism/
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