At the root of questions about the most appropriate educational fun activities for autistic children is the need to understand that your autistic students' skill level may differ from their chronological age. So while, at three years old, a neurotypical child is expected to master specific skills, such as saying mama or papa, that should not be a benchmark when selecting activities for your autistic children under your care - as in choosing actions based on age. You want activities that can improve or even bolster their current abilities - more like therapy. From there, you can look for fun activities that will challenge them just enough to open new milestones. Second, if your student is afraid of a particular game, switch them to a more benign game or adapt the current activity so it doesn't cause them sensory issues. Let's see some fun activities and what improvement they can bring to the child's table.
Block stacking seems simple; little does the child know he's laying the foundation for creativity and kinesthetic skills like modeling. Your student will be stacking one block upon another—eyes focused on the stability of the stack, fingers meticulously placing and adjusting the blocks, thus refining his fine motor skills and the sense? - the sense of accomplishment when the stack stands. You'd think it ends there, but when the tower topples over, your students will exercise problem-solving skills when they try a different way to arrange blocks so they don't fall again. So, generally, block-stacking works for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners. Its benefit is improving problem-solving skills and motor skills. You only need a bunch of blocks and space to play and watch your students learn while having fun.
It's reasonable to say that children learn new words through reading. Learning new words becomes more effective when a child engages in the action. Actions that will not only help them communicate or socialize but also improve their memory of words. A more benign and fun activity in this regard is blowing bubbles. You take a bubble wand, dip it into soapy water, and then blow it to create bubbles. After this, you prompt the child to count the bubbles as they fly off. Alternatively, teach about superlatives - big, bigger, biggest - as they identify the bubbles. The key is always to talk and talk some more when playing with your child. Keep your words clear, simple, and concise since you handle autistic children. It's a simple exercise yet effective and helps your students develop communication and social skills.
Visual skills allow a child to scan their environment and even track a moving object. Visual skill deficits inhibit a child's ability to locate things quickly and can overlap with academics, causing difficulty in reading. A magnifying glass activity is a more convenient way to improve a child's visual skills. You take a cardboard cut in such a way as to create the shape of a lens with a handle. Cover the circular opening with a transparent plastic sheet and seal it with glue or sellotape. Now, you've created a toy magnifying glass for your kids. The only thing is to ask them to stand at a distance and look through it, then identify an object or a number. For example, you could prompt them: "Can you help me find a blue balloon?" They will take the magnifying glass, explore different objects, and eventually find it. Of course, the benefits of this are not restricted to visual skills; you can blend it with turn-taking, cooperative play, and more.
Whyatt, C., & Craig, C. (2012). Motor Skills in Children Aged 7–10 Years, Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 1799-1809. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-011-1421-8.
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Sheika Petteway, Chief ENCOURAGING Officer
She provides educational and leadership training to individuals and organizations. She is the founder and CEO of Elite Educational Enterprises and has several years experience serving in the early childhood education industry.