When you have a child with autism, the world can seem to get overwhelmingly serious and stressful. Thankfully, one of the most effective ways to connect with your child and encourage their socialization is through the space of PLAY!

Autism games and autism activities are playful communications designed to encourage connection and relationship between you and your child in a way that reduces stress and increases interactivity.

To guide you through the various ways you can play with your child, this guide is broken down into the following sections:

  • How to Know When to Initiate a Game with Your Child
  • 6 of Our Most Popular Autism Game Idea Videos
  • 5 Step-By-Step Autism Activities Using Everyday Household Objects

You might want to bookmark this article for later reference! You can always return to it whenever you need a good autism game or activity idea.

How to Know When to Initiate a Game with Your Child

An easy way to approach your child’s mood, which can be complex or hard to read, is to simply look for what we call “green lights” and “red lights.” If your child displays a red light signal, this would not be a good time to initiate any games or activities. If your child displays a green light signal, then that would be a great time to initiate an activity!

We have 4 green lights that we look for:

  1. Eye contact
  2. Verbal communication/speech like sounds
  3. Physical touch from your child
  4. Your child looking over at what you are doing/looking at your items as you join them

When you see your child signaling with a green light, go ahead and initiate an activity or game with them.

On the other hand, if your child is engaging in an exclusive or repetitious activity (stimming), we consider this a red light. Do not attempt to engage your child in a new activity. Instead, this would be a wonderful time for you to join in with your child’s activity and do exactly the same as them.

6 of Our Most Popular Autism Game Idea Videos

Now let’s dive into some great game ideas! The easiest way for you to learn these interactive activities is to watch us enact them in our fun YouTube videos!

Here are our top five autism game and autism activity videos:
9 Games to Play with Paper Plates
Fun with Puzzles
A Hat Game to Increase Attention Span
Autism Therapy Game: A Take on Twister!
Game to Inspire Your Child to Look at You
Top Game Ideas Using Therapy (Yoga) Balls

4 Step-By-Step Autism Games Using Everyday Household Objects

Here are four games and activities you can do that turn everyday household objects into interactive play with your child!

There’s no need to spend lots of money on new toys or put valuable hours into creating something elaborate. Whether you are a parent or therapist, the chances are you will probably have the following things lying around your house somewhere or in your place of work.

Autism Game #1: String Clothes!

  • Cut up different pieces of string
  • Tape them onto your clothes
  • Create a new outfit together (e.g. a hula skirt)
  • Once the outfit is made you can dance around the room in your new ensemble!

Variation: Make different outfits for the stuffed animals in the room- sing a song while you are making your outfits together, make hats, gloves, shoes, etc.

What to work on with your child:

  1. Physical participation: When your child is motivated to watch you make your own clothes, invite them to join you by helping you hold the string, cut the string or tape the string onto your outfit!
  2. Eye contact: Once you have string on your clothes and you have made part of your outfit then invite your child to look at you to watch you dance around the room in silly ways in your new clothes!

Autism Game #2: Pirate Straws!

  • Grab a straw from the playroom shelf
  • Pretend your straw is a pirate telescope
  • Search the room using your pirate telescope for some of your pirate booty
  • The things you could be looking for can be make believe such as “ohhhh look what I found under the table it’s a giant tickle!”

Variation: As you search the room for your pirate booty try singing a song or skipping around the room so you are dynamic for your child to watch! You can also pretend to drop your telescope and have your child help you pick it up!

What to work on with your child:

  1. Physical participation: Have your child help you search for the pirate booty (their motivation), hand them their own telescope and invite them to search the room with you. If you drop your telescope then ask them to help you pick it up or look for it!
  2. Simple gestures: Ask your child to point to where they think the next bit of treasure it hidden!

Autism Game #3: Magic Hat!

  • Grab a hat from the playroom shelf
  • Put different objects that your child is motivated for into the hat (e.g. balls, feathers, toy cars, etc.)
  • Wave your hand above the magic hat saying fun magic words such as “Abracadabra”.
  • Using anticipation as you pull each object slowly out of the hat (e.g. for example pull a ball out and then throw it across the room).

Variation: The variation here is adding new things to the hat- such as an animal themed hat where you fill the hat with different animals and then have them pop out making different animal sounds.Another variation could be putting different sensory items into the hat and then deliver sensory stimulation to your child each time you wave your hand above the hat.

What to work on with your child:

  1. Verbal participation: Ask your child to say the magic words with you, or have them tell you “out” to help you take out the next item from the hat.
  2. Eye contact to continue the game: try saying “look at me if you want to bring out the next magic toy”.
  3. Physical participation: Ask your child to help you by waving their hand above the hat, or even give them a magic wand (this could be simply be a marker) they can tap on the hat!

Autism Game #4: Acting Book!

  • When your child requests a book from off the shelf then open the page up and act out the scene of the book.
  • Continue to turn the pages of the book and act out different scenes.

Variation: You can even bring down puppets or figurines that you know your child is motivated for and act out the book with those different characters. Try using different voices and varying the volume and tone of your voice, you can also vary the way you use your body- get up and use your body in big ways and also use your body in small ways – see how your child reacts to each and then deliver more of the acting they are motivated for.

What to work on with your child:

  1. Physical participation: Invite your child to get up and act out the pages of the book with you. Give them one clear role in the game such as holding a prop and then shaking it, or jumping up and down. You can also invite them to turn the pages of the book for you as you entertain them.
  2. Verbal Participation: Have your child read the book aloud as you act it out for them. Invite them to continue reading to see more of the show.
  3. Eye contact: Ask your child to look at you for more of the book act!

Autism Game #5: Bubble Soup!

  • Make bubble soup by blowing bubbles into a bucket
  • Add in other ingredients such as pretend vegetables, then add in more bubbles and then more bubbles
  • Ladle it into two bowls, one for you and one for your child, maybe even one for the teddy bear, and then pretend to eat it together, don’t forget to rub your belly to say, “Yum Yum”.

Variations: Invite many different friends (stuffed animals) to come and join you in testing out your soup! You can even make other items such as bubble bread, or bubble salad, etc.Have fun creating a whole meal with the help of bubbles!

What to work on with your child:

  1. Physical participation – Encourage your child to participate by putting the pretend vegetables into the bowl or by serving the soup into the bowls and then pretending to eat them.
  2. Verbal participation- Ask your child to verbally participate in the interaction by telling you which vegetables to put into the soup.

HAVE FUN PLAYING THESE GAMES WITH YOUR BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN!