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5 Reasons Why You Should Pick up Your Crying Baby

7 Fun Activities Most Kids with Autism Love

Boy playing in kid's pool

Play in Water

While most kids love to play in water, many children with autism have an extra appreciation for it. They seem to focus in on it, as well as, tune in to the sound of it sooner than the average person. In spite of the many dangers this carries, when properly supervised, playing in water, therapeutically, releases stress and anxiety that many kids with autism experience daily. In addition to putting a smile on the child's face, it helps divert meltdowns. Another way to incorporate water into child's play is to place a tray full of water on the kitchen floor to keep children busy while dinner is prepared. At bath time, they may splish and splash all the water in their baths onto the floor. When Mom runs a bath for herself, it's not unusual for her to turn her head for a minute only to hear the splat of her little aqua man, and then, turn to find him deeply immersed in her water.

Boy in Tub with Clothes On

Play in Dirt

Even though, many kids with autism love to play in water, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't like to get dirty. In fact, playing in dirt has therapeutic benefits of it's own and most kids feel the calming effect digging into it and running it through their fingers delivers. One fun activity parents can enjoy with their children is planting a vegetable or flower garden. If they want to start out small, they could buy some seeds and soil, or dig up some dirt, and have their child pick it up and put it in a small plastic bucket or cup. then have the child bury a couple seeds in each and place it in the windowsill.

Mom and son planting flowers

Take a Trip to the Zoo or a Museum

For many children with autism, any zoo or museum won't do. They need the hands-on experience offered by some that allows them to touch the animals or experiment with various knobs, gadgets, or textures. Museums such as The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago have a variety of cool hands-on exhibits for children of all ages. They do their best to accommodate people in ways that make bringing children with autism there much more doable. For example, when people call at least two weeks in advance and ask for special accommodations they try to work something out.

In addition, many children with autism have a sensitivity to loud noises. With an advance call, people can find out when the museum usually has quieter times. Strollers and service dogs are also allowed which makes it less of a challenge for parents of children who tend to wander. Many people with autism will only eat certain foods. While the museum has it's own restaurant, people who will only eat certain foods or people who have food allergies can bring their own food.

Boy playing in Water/Ball Exhibit at MSI
Two Boys Mesmerized by Aquarium at MSI

Arts and Crafts

Boy playing with Chalk and Paints
When the challenges of day trips are too much to consider, children can have a pretty awesome time doing things around the house. Chalk and paints usually thrill the little ones. Most craft stores carry kits that include everything needed to make anything from plaster hand prints that kids can paint to jewelry and hair accessories, as well as, hook rugs, and a variety of other fun things. If getting out to the store is not an option, items stored away may be useful in inventing projects for the kids to work on. Packing materials such as the containers articles are shipped in, Styrofoam, and bubble wrap can be used for many homemade crafts. It's a good idea to keep a large plastic bin around to store these items and others such as Popsicle sticks, paper towel and toilet paper rings in for future use. Older children can make their own photo holders using containers or block of Syrofoam. They could paint their own pictures for it, use their own photos, or cut pictures out of magazines.

3 sided photo holders made from large photo container

Yard or Park Play

When children don't have the ability to follow orders, a trip to the park can be difficult. Many kids become overly excited when they enter a park and if they came with the ability to follow orders, they usually lose it real quick when they focus on some area of the park they want to get to. Most parks don't have child- proof gates; some of them don't have fences. A day at the park can quickly become a strenuous work-out for any parent; however, the children never notice. They are too busy having a blast on a swing or a slide. Most parents have to worry about their children running in front of another child on a swing or hitting another child while they're swinging. 

Young Boy and Teen Boy on Swing
Sometimes having children play in their own yard or asking a friend with a fenced in yard, a swing set, and a trampoline for the use of their yard makes more sense. Jumping on a trampoline is a favorite pastime for many kids, including kids with autism. Small, one-man trampolines are usually preferred to help limit injuries and accidental knockdowns that often confuse a child with autism. 

Boy on Trampoline

Sway in a Hammock

Sometimes people have the best time doing something that doesn't require much energy. Many children with autism love to feel the snugness of a hammock encapsulating them in their own space. At times, they may go to the hammock to get away from the other people in the yard. They often enjoy their alone time. 

Boy in Hammock
Give them their favorite toy, book, or drink and they may be set for the day.