Sensory Play Activities & Ideas for Kids with Autism

Sensory play or craft is effective for children with sensory integration difficulties. It helps to connect pathways in the brain that are responsible for processing the senses.

Let’s list out the benefits of doing the sensory craft:

  • It helps to develop gross motor and fine motor skills.
  • Improves bilateral coordination skills.
  • Cognitive and perceptual skills are also developed.
  • It provides a calming effect on children with ASD.
  • Helps to prevent stimming behavior.
  • The sensory activities can be used as a reward when the child shows positive behavior.

Now it’s time to have fun.
Let’s see what kind of sensory activities can be done.

  1. Sensory Bin:
  • Fill the bin with different shapes of pasta, for example, star, elbow, tunnel, etc. or different shaped beads like square, circle, triangle, rectangle, etc., now ask the child to string them in a particular pattern or sequence so that the child would get an opportunity to feel the difference in texture each time when the child strings each pasta and/or bead.
  • Put some shapes of different sizes into the bin and ask the child to sort by shapes.
  • Fill the bin with uncooked grains like rice, wheat, millet, etc. and hide small objects within the grains and make the child find each object.
  • The child is made to tear some color papers into medium pieces and stack them in a bin. Now ask the child to sort out (the paper pieces) by color or find some hidden objects.
  • The bin can also be filled with colorful rubber bands and ask the child to perform either sorting or finding task.
  • Colorful clothes pins of various size, shape and strength can be added to the bin and the child is asked to take each and clip to the paper sides or string.
  • Water beads are another calming material for the child and when the bin is filled with these water beads, children would love to pop each bead (as they appear like a jelly).
  1. Sand Tray:
    Using a large tray fill it with real sand or kinetic sand and make the child build a castle or fill the moulds with sand to create a pattern.
  2. Salt Tray:
    Epsom salt can also be relaxing for the child when they feel the texture of the salt laid on a tray.
  1. Slime:
    In a bowl add ingredients to make a corn flour slime. Ask the kid to mix well using their hands. Once ready, kids will enjoy playing with that texture and also it helps to calm down when frustrated.
  2. Bubble wrap sheet:
  • The child is made to color the bubbles using different color and ask the child to burst particular colored tiny bubbles with fingers.
  • The bubble wrap can be tied to the child’s foot and can perform painting activity by dipping their foot on the paint and walk all over the chart paper laid on the floor.
  1. Play Dough activity:
  • Ask your child to make small balls from the dough and flatten them using a rolling pin. With the help of a child-safe knife cut into thin strips and place them in a bowl and yes, the pretend noodles are ready.
  • Similarly, to make a bowl of rice, ask your child to roll tiny pieces of play-doh and collect them in a bowl.
  • Using moulds, ask your kid to make shapes and figures.
  1. Gardening:
    Gardening activity is also one of the motivating and interesting sensory activities the child can do. Simply make the child sow seeds by digging the sand and teach how to water. This can be added to the activity schedule and ensure the child does the activity regularly. Gardening will indeed improve a child’s self-confidence.
  1. Artistic activities:
  • Ball art – This requires an area outside the house. Prepare colorful paints in each bowl. Paste a chart paper on a wall. Ask the child to dip the ball in the paint and throw on to the wall. Repeat the activity by dipping the ball in each color and finally, you can see your child’s artistic talent.
  • Shaving cream art – Take 4 bowls, fill it with shaving cream, add different food colors to each bowl and mix well. Now ask the child to take the cream using their hand and apply it on a whiteboard.
  • Blow art – Ask your kid to use an ink filler to absorb the watercolor and release each drop of the paint on to a chart board randomly. Repeat this for all the colors. Then make the child blow the droplets. We can see a colorful abstract pattern formation.
  • Pulse art – Collect different types of pulses and stick them on a chart paper to form a picture of the scenery.
  • Sponge art – Take a sponge, ask the child to cut into medium pieces using child-safe scissors, now dip the pieces of sponges into different colors and press them on a chart paper either randomly or into an outlined picture.
  1. Ball Pit:
    A ball pit is a craving place for all the kids. No kid will hesitate to get inside a ball pit, so let’s make it productive by adding spike balls, lightning balls, rubber balls and other kinds of textured balls.
  • Include an activity like finding the hidden objects inside the pit.
  • Ask the child to collect the numbers of balls requested for. For example, ask the child to bring 2 red balls and 1 yellow or simply ask the child to randomly bring 3 balls.
  • Throwing the ball into a basket activity.
  1. Build a mountain:
    Crash white papers in the form of balls and paint them with black or grey color and stick them together to form a mountain.

Hope you got an idea, include your creativity and create fun tasks for your kid using safe materials.

Remember supervision is necessary.

Have a good time!

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