Holiday Sensory Play Ideas for Children with Autism
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Christmas is almost here and winter is upon us! I love the magical feeling of this time of year! I love driving around town and looking at the Christmas lights up around the neighborhood. Now, I don’t always love the cold weather here in Iowa, and I love finding fun activities to complete inside where I can stay warm!
Our family loves finding fun ways to incorporate sensory play based activities. I wanted to share with you some great Holiday sensory play based ideas that you can complete together inside! These are great ideas to help your loved one experience new tactile sensory experiences!
Check out these Fun Holiday Sensory Bin Play Ideas!
O Holy Night Sensory Bin
Winter Sensory Bin
Melted Snowman Sensory Bottle
Winter Wonderland Sensory Bin
Christmas Sensory Bin
Melted Snowman Sensory Play
Sensory Bins can be a great way to expose your child to new tactile feelings on their hands and you can make them educational as well! You can hid different objects inside the bins and work on counting, color sorting, size sorting, or have them close their eyes and try to identify what they found with their eyes closed! There are endless opportunities for ways to play with sensory bins!!
Check out these AWESOME Slime and Playdough Recipes!!
Holiday Slimes for Christmas Science Activities
Fantastic Candy Cane Christmas Fluffy Slime Recipe
Beautiful Tinsel Glitter Christmas Slime Recipe
Ugly Christmas Sweater Play dough
Peppermint Essential Oil Christmas Play dough
How to make Snow Gel-Sensory Play
I personally love to play with different textures of play dough and slime! It can be so soothing for some. You can incorporate fine motor skills with working on finding small objects within the play dough or slime and work on using a pincer grasp with finding the objects inside the slime. You can have the child work on hand strength by gripping, squishing and pinching the slime. They could use cookie cutters to push into the slime or play dough to form new shapes. This is another great activity to help with tactile sensory play ideas!
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We would love to hear what sensory play ideas you like to complete inside over the winter months!! What are your favorites?
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Ultimate Guide for Holiday Situations for Children & Teenagers with Autism
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The Holiday season is quickly approaching and this can bring about excitement, but also new experiences for you and your child. They may cause your family more anxiety and stress with learning the new social situations. These new experiences could include the new holiday decorations inside and out, new foods to experience, family gatherings, and exchanging and receiving presents, just to name a few.
All of these new experiences can cause a lot of sensory overload and anxiety for some kids and we need to be mindful of that this holiday season. How can you tell when your child is experiencing sensory overload?
Pay attention to your child’s behaviors. Are they covering their ears or closing their eyes? Are they running away from the situation or crying and melting down? These can be some signs that your child may be experiencing sensory overload.
Check out our FREE Ultimate Holiday Sensory Guide and download the guide below!
This guide provides your with fun holiday and winter sensory strategies to help your loved one have a great Holiday Season!
Provides information for these types sensory experiences:
- Proprioceptive Input
- Vestibular Input
- Visual Input
- Auditory Input
- Oral Motor Input
- Olfactory Input
- Tactile Input
- Calming Strategies
Strategies you can try to help you Survive the Holiday Season for Children and Teenagers with Autism or Sensory Processing Difficulties
- Avoid large crowds by shopping online or going at times during the day when the stores are less busy.
- When decorating your home inside and out, do this gradually to help your child adjust to the new decorations. See if there are ways they can help participate in this with you so they can be apart of the decoration process.
We found some Holiday LEGO sets that may be a great option for kids that love to do LEGO activities that they could put together and then you could all enjoy the Holiday masterpiece!
Check out this Holiday LEGO Train set!!
3. Help your child figure out calm down strategies when they start to feel overwhelmed. This could be finding a safe place in the house where they can calm down and relax. Are there certain toys/games your child enjoys that helps them calm down. My brother loves being able to retreat to his iPad or his computer when he is feeling overwhelmed. If you are at a family members or friends house see if they will allow your child to retreat to another room where it is quiet and they can regroup.
4. Make sure to give your child/teen breaks throughout the day/activity so they can recharge and adjust to the new setting and/or people.
5. Never feel like you have to go to events/activities that you know will be overwhelming for your child/teen. Do what you feel is best for YOUR child to have a great Holiday experience. Try to see the world through your child or teenager’s eyes. If they aren’t having a good experience, I am sure you are not either.
6. Help your child understand the new routine and if there may be any changes to the plan, so they can better prepare themselves for the new situation. If you need to, try to keep things in a familiar routine for your child especially with bedtime rituals to help them get enough sleep. I know if I don’t get enough sleep, I am not able to be the best person the next day.
7. Prepare some quiet time activities to do together to help your child through some of the busy times of the Holiday Season. Check out these Christmas No Sew Quiet Books!
8. Help your child by talking through new situations so they can feel more prepared for the new situations they may encounter. Check out our Christmas Social Skills Situation and Problem Solving Cards!
9. Be proactive and understand that meltdowns will happen during this time and know that it is okay. Recognize the signs for your child to understand when they are starting to feel overwhelmed. Do they start to shut down and retreat, do they run away, do they scream, or do they cry? Try to understand what situations are really hard for your child and try to adapt them so that your child can participate, or it is okay to sit some activities out if it is just too much for your child.
Does your child struggle with the transitions between activities or do they have a hard time waiting their turn if you are opening presents?
- You could try playing games during the waiting times together. Do they like counting or letters? You could play an I spy game or a scavenger hunt.
- They could also be the one in charge or handing out the presents to everyone, so they have a specific job to complete.
- You could play a Christmas song they enjoy and let them know that when the song is over, then it will be their turn again to open presents.
- Maybe they need to open presents slowly and just open one up and then have the opportunity to play or interact with that present for awhile and then come back to opening more presents.
- You could try to play interactive physical games during times of waiting or during transitions. You could pretend to be a penguin and waddle around, or jump around like a reindeer.
- You can make colorful dots out of construction paper and make a colorful ornament obstacle course where they can only step on certain colors. You could play musical chairs with Christmas music.
- You can always try to use visual timers to help with wait times as well, so the child understands how much time they need to wait for.
- You could provide them with a tactile or fidget toy to play with during wait times.
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The Holiday’s can be a stressful time of year for everyone, but especially for children with sensory concerns. We hope that these strategies can be helpful for your child and your family to help you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!
We would love to know if there are strategies that were helpful or if you would like to add more to the list as well! Let us know in the comments below!!
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Holiday Gift Guide LEGO sets for Teenagers
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Awesome Lego Sets
In our family we take legos very seriously! We love putting together amazing Lego sets! My brother loves following the step by step directions to allow him to build amazing architecture pieces! These Lego sets can be a great activity for your teen to complete on rainy/cold days inside or as part of the whole family! These are great options as ways to help them take breaks away from screen time and allow them the use creativity and learn step by step processes.
Below is a combined list of Lego Sets that my brother has loved putting together and we wanted to share them with you in hopes that it will inspire you to create your own Lego Creation!
LEGO Architecture Chicago Skyline
The Chicago Skyline has been a fun set to put together as we are from the Midwest area and we have traveled to Chicago multiple times as a family. We have been able to personally see these structures in person!
LEGO Lincoln Memorial Set
My brother loves learning more about our US history in his homeschooling lessons and then he loves being able to create the items he has been learning about in person!
LEGO Big Ben
Big Ben is an awesome Lego set to see completed as it is so tall! It is a great piece to add to your collection!!
LEGO Minecraft the Cave
My brother has loved creating his own in person Minecraft set through tons of LEGO sets!! This is a fun set to put together as it represents the cave setting in Minecraft.
LEGO Minecraft the Farm
The Minecraft Farm set is fun to put together as it looks like a real Minecraft farm with the animals and plants!
LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon
This Star Wars set is huge!! It was so much fun to put together, but it looks AMAZING put together!! You won’t want to miss this set if you are a Star Wars Fan!!
LEGO Creator Expert Winter Toy Shop
The LEGO Winter Toy Shop is a great option if you are looking for ways to have your teen help you decorate for the Holidays! They can participate with putting this set together and then enjoy this set throughout the Holiday Season!
LEGO Creator Modern Home
This Modern home set was fun to put together as we love learning about different houses and how they are formed. My brother and I love playing the Sims together and his was a great LEGO set to be able to build a house together in person with!
These were some of my brother’s favorite LEGO sets to put together and we hope you find fun and enjoyment with them as well! We would love to hear what LEGO sets are your favorites! Let us know in the comments below!!
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