Five Fun Summer Activities for Children on the Spectrum
Keeping a child with Autism entertained during the summer can be both mentally and physically exhausting for parents. You want to ensure
that your child is safe at all times while they are enjoying themselves, and you want to find activities that will hold their attention as well.
Since no two children on the spectrum are alike, events such as Autism Awareness fun days and sensory movie nights may not work for everyone. Therefore, parents must use the trial and error method to find activities that their child will enjoy.
With summer approaching very quickly, parents will soon be looking for new ideas for their kids with special needs. Here are five fun summer activities for children on the spectrum that could work for your family.
Use a Sandbox for Sensory Play
Who doesn’t love sinking their toes in the sand at the beach? If you can’t make it to the shore this summer, purchase a sandbox instead (or any large container such as a plastic pool or storage tub). Fill the container with either sand or water. Try hiding small toys in the sand for your child to discover, or add seashells that you can pick up at any craft store. For water sensory play, add flower petals, various squirting bath toys or other items that will float.
Schedule Private Time at a Local Pool
If you have a child on the spectrum that is hesitant to get in the water when the pool is crowded with active swimmers, check to see if your local swimming pool or YMCA offers private swimming sessions. Or, if you have a friend that owns an outdoor pool, ask if you can borrow it for a couple of hours. Doing so will allow your child to ease in and enjoy playing in the water, or relax as they learn to swim. Swimming can help your child with body awareness or proprioception, as well as tactile input.
Visit the Zoo
If your child does okay with slightly crowded locations, the Zoo is the ideal place for them to explore and discover new things. You can try going on a less-busy day through the week if possible so that there won’t be as many people or children running around. Some zoos and other similar attractions (such as aquariums) have event days for children with Autism or other special needs, so you may want to find out if your local zoo offers this type of event.
Go on a Hike
You can try a simple hike for beginners at your nearest state park, or go to the mountains and walk on a paved trail. There are many safe outdoor activities available to you and your child where they can learn more about nature and enjoy all the sensory aspects of the grass, trees, plants, and insects around you. Just be sure that you don’t get close to any poisonous plants or harmful bugs. Hiking is a great option if your child has trouble releasing all their energy at home and could use some time walking, running, or playing outdoors.
Local 5. Visit the Farmer’s Market
There are all types of sights, smells, and textures that can be found at the Farmer’s Market. You can find something new for your child to eat, which can be helpful if you have a picky eater. Let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable on their own. You get to enjoy spending time in a peaceful, outdoor setting while helping your community at the same time.
While parents of autistic children may feel that their summer activities are limited, there is always something out there that your child will enjoy. Think about the activities that your child enjoys the most at home, such as their favorite TV programs or favorite toys, and try to come up with outdoor activities related to those things.