For parents of children on the autism spectrum, it can be difficult to find safe and engaging activities that aren’t overwhelming during summer months. Every child on the spectrum is different and has different needs, which can make it challenging for parents to share ideas on what works. One of the best ways to help your child have fun when the weather warms up, however, is to create an awesome backyard area that will keep him entertained but is still functional. Depending on your child’s learning needs, there could be great potential to teach him about science and other subjects right on your own lawn!
Because many kids who are on the spectrum feel easily overwhelmed by lots of noise or color, it’s important to customize your backyard as an area they can feel comfortable in, a place for them to retreat to when things are stressful. If your child loves water, create a water table for him to play on when the temperature goes up; not only will this engage him, it will keep him cool.
Read on for more tips on how to create a safe, fun backyard haven for your child this summer.
Get the family involved
One of the best ways to get your child to love the backyard is to get the entire family involved in an activity, such as camping out or birdwatching. These are fun pastimes that can also provide ample learning opportunities for everyone, and they’ll give your family a chance to bond after a long winter of being mostly stuck inside. Check out this article for some more ideas for great family-friendly activities.
Plant a garden
Gardening can be an extremely rewarding and stress-reducing pastime, and it’s favored by millions of Americans for those very reasons. However, it can also help a very tactile child who loves to work with his hands feel a sense of pride and joy when he sees the effects of all his efforts. If you aren’t sure where to start, think about setting up a small herb garden that can be easily maintained before moving on to a bigger project. Create an extra sense of excitement by providing him with his own tools just like yours. It will be fun for him to have the same gardening gloves and trowel as mom in miniature.
Create an obstacle course
One great way to utilize your outdoor space is to create an obstacle course. This is a fun, engaging activity that can be changed up as often as you’d like, and it doesn’t require spending a lot of money. Read on here for some ideas on how to make a course your child will love to run through again and again.
Set up a “treasure hunt”
Kids love a good treasure hunt, so create one in the backyard that will have them looking for a smooth rock, a bumpy stick, or a yellow leaf. This is a great way to pass the time on a summer afternoon and will allow a child who loves looking for things to use his imagination. If he’s old enough to read, this is also a wonderful way to help him make connections between words and physical items by writing out the hidden things.
All parents want to make sure their children are safe and comfortable, but for parents of children on the autism spectrum it’s especially important to create those spaces at home. Talk to your family about ideas for your backyard -- especially when it comes to family activities -- and look for ways you can all participate in summer fun.