Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder have a set of challenges unique to them. They might be self involved and fail to notice or understand the wonders of the nature or environment that surrounds us.
The following activities would help them explore the natural world and have some fun outdoors while gaining some valuable skills:
- Cloud Gazing
Take the child outdoors and engage in some sky gazing. While sky gazing encourage the child to look at and talk about the clouds and the shapes they see in them. It is a great activity to facilitate speech therapy in children with ASD. Once the child starts looking at the clouds, nudge them to describe the clouds and the feelings they invoke.
Help the child start their own garden. Gardening as an activity involves myriad sensory activities like digging, touching dirt, getting messy, planting saplings, watering them etc. Encourage the child to use gardening tools for weeding, watering and harvesting. These activities would not only offer a great range of sensory experiences but also help them with their motor skills.
- Make Your Own Bird Feeder
This is a great activity that gives you long term enjoyment and engagement. The children would not only enjoy creating the cookie cutter bird feeder but experience various tactile sensations, experience varying temperatures and follow processes to attain a desirable end. After you have hung up the bird feeder up, take some time out every day with the child to sit and enjoy watching the birds eat their snack.
- Nature Inspired Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of objects that can be easily found in the park, lawn or your own garden and give it to the child. Encourage the child to go out and collect the objects on the list and create a collection. Objects like leaves, grass, twigs, pebbles, and flowers offer a variety of tactile sensory experiences and even smell different. In case the child cannot read yet, prepare a picture list or flash cards for them to enjoy this fun scavenger hunt.
- Sorting Through
Sorting activities are great and instrumental in occupational therapy for children with ASD. This activity can be easily taken out of doors where you can gather different leaves, sticks, rocks, flowers and more to create a pool of objects readily available in nature. The children can also get the objects from scavenger hunt and then sort them into various categories.