Three Summertime Activities to Play with your Child on the Autism Spectrum

From the Autism Treatment Center of America and The Son-Rise Program

Create a Bug Hotel

  1. “Collect items to make your Bug Hotel, you’ll need:
    · An empty plastic two-liter bottle (cut into two cylinders)
    · Seeds, sticks, pinecones, moss, leaves, a piece of bamboo, and other nature items for bugs to hide in.
  2. “When your child engages with you, explain that you will make a fantastic, cozy hotel for bugs!
  3. “Begin making the hotel by stuffing the two cylinders with some of the items.
  4. “Entertain your child by going to the window and announcing playfully to all the bugs that their hotel is nearly ready. Tell them it will be open for them to stay in soon.
  5. “Invite your child to help you complete the hotel.
  6. “Write a little sign that you can attach to the hotel saying, ‘Bug Hotel – Vacancy.’
  7. “Once it’s finished and is stuffed tightly, place it in a warm, dry spot in your yard or garden. Visit your Bug Hotel daily with your child to see what bugs decide to stay there.”

Camping in the Playroom

1. “Gather these items:
· “a small tent (or two large blankets, two chairs and a rope to create a tent)
· “a small flashlight
· “some cut-out animal shapes
· “some nature objects (pinecones, twigs, leaves, rocks, etc.)
· “some fun books
· “pretend fishing rods
· “anything else camping related that your child might like
· “a backpack for all “your camping gear”
2. “When your child is in a Green Light announce to them that you are going on a pretend camping trip inside the playroom…
3. “First set up your campsite by putting up a tent.
4. “Next, you can take one camping- activity out of the backpack at a time to Entertain and role-play with your child.
5. “For example, you can take out the cut-out animal shapes and the flash-light. Entertain your child, by doing a shadow-puppet-theater inside the tent. Prop the flashlight facing a wall of your tent, and move the cut-out shapes creating shadows and a fun story for your child…”

Make Origami Flowers for Your Friends

1. “Get some Origami paper or a stack of assorted color paper (cut into squares).
2. “Use these instructions (provided below) to make your Origami flowers.
3. “When your child engages with you, tell them that since Summer has arrived, you will be making flower gifts for some of the people your child loves.
4. “If your child enjoys characters, or stuffed animals, bring those characters into your space to watch you make the flowers.
5. “Entertain your child by making the characters jump up and down, cheer, and show excitement for the special flowers they will receive.
6. “Follow the Origami flower instructions to make the first flower.
7. “Gift a character with one of the flowers or invite your child to do so.
8. “Decide with your child who you will be gifting the flowers to.
9. “Continue making more flowers and then give them to your recipients, along with your child.”

Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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