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5 Sensory-Friendly Summer Activities for Children with Autism

By: Brittany Rashid / 25 Jul 2023

Summer brings endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment, but as a parent of a child with autism, you understand the significance of considering their unique sensory needs. Balancing fun and comfort is key to ensuring a delightful summer experience. So, let's dive into five fantastic sensory-friendly activities that will bring joy to your child while keeping their well-being in mind.

1. Gardening and Planting

Nurture a love for nature by involving your child in gardening and planting activities. Plant flowers, herbs, or vegetables in pots or a small garden patch together. Let them dig in the soil, water the plants, and watch them grow. Engaging with different textures, smells, and sights in the garden can be therapeutic and educational. Take a look at these printable garden labels that you can place in your garden!

2. Nature Walks and Hikes

Explore the wonders of nature with your child by taking leisurely walks or embarking on gentle hikes. Encourage your child to observe the sights, sounds, and textures of the natural world. Use noise-canceling headphones or sunglasses if needed. Additionally, be mindful of the temperature during outdoor activities. Use portable fans, cooling towels, or lightweight clothing to help regulate your child's body temperature, ensuring their comfort throughout the experience.

3. Water Play and Swimming

Water activities are a fun and sensory-rich way to cool off in the summer. Set up a small inflatable pool or visit a local swimming pool during quieter times. Let your child splash, pour water, or play with water toys. Ensure the water is comfortable, and use swim vests or flotation devices for safety. However, it is essential to remember that water play and swimming pose potential risks. Parents should maintain close proximity to their child and stay vigilant throughout the activity.

4. Sensory-Friendly Arts and Crafts

Unleash your child's creativity with sensory-friendly arts and crafts activities. Provide materials like clay, kinetic sand, or finger paints that offer tactile input. Let them explore different textures and encourage open-ended art creations. Consider designating a sensory space with calming items like squishy toys or stress balls for moments when they need a sensory break.

5. Sensory-Friendly Outings

Seek out locations that offer sensory-friendly environments or accommodations when planning outings. Some museums, amusement parks, and recreational centers provide designated sensory-friendly days or hours with reduced crowds, dimmed lights, and quieter environments. Research local attractions that offer sensory-friendly options and plan visits accordingly. These outings can provide opportunities for your child to explore new places while feeling comfortable and supported.

Summertime can be filled with sensory-rich experiences that children with autism can enjoy and benefit from. By considering their unique sensory needs, you can create a summer filled with engaging activities, exploration, and growth. Embrace the joys of the season while keeping their comfort and enjoyment in mind.

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