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Here are some ideas for highly engaging and fun activities you can do at home with your child. The activities include a mix of ideas, which develop the child’s attention span and their senses. Most importantly, they help the child reduce their anxiety and stress and provide the entire family with fun ways of spending time together.
Fun Activities for 2-6-Year-Old-Children
Engaging pre-school children with autistic disorders can be quite tricky. At this stage, you should focus on developing their attention span and social skills. What better way to do this than play pretend?
Engage the senses. If your child is not interested in playing pretend, you can never go wrong with sensory games. Get a large bucket or a bin and fill it up with beans or any other material safe for the child. Bury all kinds of toys your child likes and let them look for them inside.
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Other ideas include:
- Pour shaving cream on a surface and let them play with it around
- Put water in a larger container and allow them to play with it
- If you are okay with noises, you might even set up drums with different volume levels and tempos or any other toy instrument
- Go for a trampoline – jumping around will definitely be lots of fun!
Another thing you should keep in mind is to foster their imitation skills, as this will be a good pillar in their future growth and develop. Play games where you pretend to be an animal such as a cat. Your child needs to mimic the sounds and the behavior of the animal.
If your child does not seem to engage, take turns – you imitate them until you establish visual contact. If you can bring another child to play or the child has a sibling, you can encourage them to act like mirrors and imitate each other. For each effort and imitation, the child needs to be rewarded appropriately.
Fun Activities for 6-12 Year-Old-Children
Here you can use your kid’s interests and your imagination to make it fun. Use what they like most; maybe they are interested in dinosaurs — you can pretend to be two roaring dinosaurs looking for food around the house. Or perhaps your little girl is fond of her dolls – you can pretend that the dolls need to go through their own daily routines.
You can pretend to cook meals using toy food or playschool where one is the teacher, and one is the student; the possibilities are endless. Make sure you reward your little one every time they show interest in participation, smile, and loudly cheering when they do the right thing.
Another way to engage your child at this stage is with building blocks. You and your family can create an entire toy city and then play with cars and other objects in the city. You can purchase maze books, eye-spy puzzles, and word searches as well – this will help the children develop their visual skills and problem-solving abilities.
If you’ve got the time, create an obstacle race for them. You can use tape to create paths, lines, and delimitations for an obstacle course. You can make rules where, in certain areas, you need to hop, crawl, jump, walk, or slither (snake-like). This will be fun for the entire family.
Lastly, make household chores a fun activity. Plan your menu for a week, for instance. Ask your child to have a look at a cookbook, pick out the meals they prefer and make a grocery list with the ingredients.
Shop together, involve the child in money management, and familiarize them with mundane, yet necessary tasks by treating it in a fun way. Be patient and guide the child through the shop – unfamiliar places might cause stress and anxiety.
Fun Activities for 12-17 Year-Old-Children
Teenage years can be extremely tricky – and challenging to find ways to bond with your teen while encouraging development and growth. You can help your teen improve their learning abilities and comprehension skills by collecting age-appropriate books covering educational topics, fiction, or science. It’s important that you sit and read together.
Another activity to bond together and decrease anxiety and stress associated with school and other typical teenage mishaps is to adopt a weekly schedule of music therapy. Choose some entertaining and enjoyable playlist and listen to them together; try to sing them together or even attempt to play an instrument. On a similar note, you can expand this activity to include dancing, laughing, and having fun – what starts as a fun activity might quickly develop in a hobby.
Most teenagers with autism are keen on visual cues. There is no better way to work on problem-solving skills in a fun way than doing a puzzle. They are meaningful, and it will allow them to focus intently on their activities. Autistic teenagers can even spend hours solving a puzzle. The drawback of this activity is that it can be quite ‘restrictive’ on communication skills.
Solve the puzzle together with your teenager, encouraging communication, asking where they spot any puzzle piece, what they think about missing pieces, and similar. However, do not over-stress them with too many questions. Tune in to their pace about how much and when to talk.
Finding activities for your children is not so difficult – however, sometimes we might run out of ideas. Make sure you use your imagination to engage the child as much as possible, reward good behaviors and participation and be extremely patient. What might seem logical or easy to you might be difficult for them.
Try to take turns and see life from their perspective. Do not rush or force them to participate. It might take a while until you find the right activity, which helps them develop their skills, but also to reduce anxiety and stress.