5 Sensory Friendly Spring Activities

Child Planting Flowers

Spring has sprung, which means it’s time to get out of the house! While this is a great time of year for some kids, children on the autism spectrum may be happy to stay inside. They may have sensory sensitivities that can make going outside less enjoyable. Some may dislike getting wet from rain, some may not enjoy the increase in crowds as more people are out and about, while others might find all of the new noises, such as birds, thunder, and lawn mowers, aversive. However, we have come up with some activities to get everyone moving and grooving.

  1. Take a Hike: Hiking through the woods or trails in your local parks can provide a multitude of sensory stimulation through audio, visual, tactile, and olfactory senses. Hiking is something that can be done on the weekends, but it can also be done after school now that it is staying light and warm later in the evening.

  2. Scavenger Hunts: These hunts are great to do in combination with your hikes, or you can do them indoors on a rainy day. If you’re on a hike, you could do a nature-themed hunt and search for flowers, leaves, birds, etc. When doing the hunts inside, you could have your child hunt for household items that they don’t always come into contact with. These hunts are a fun way to build language skills and compliance.

  3. Ride Bikes: Spring is a great time to dust the bikes off and start practicing, whether it be tandem biking or teaching your child how to ride by themselves. Remember, safety first! Not all kiddos may be fond of the feeling of wearing a helmet, but practicing wearing the helmet for short periods of time and reinforcing them when they do so can help decrease the aversion.

  4. Sidewalk Chalk: Not only is sidewalk chalk fun to play with, it can also be used to teach colors, letters, numbers, and even practicing our names! Drawing pictures and playing tic-tac-toe or hopscotch are other great activities to do with chalk, as they can teach turn-taking and social skills.

  5. Plant a Garden: Planting a garden is a great activity to introduce new textures, build teamwork, and promote independence. Some children may be wary to stick their hands in a pile of dirt, but you can take small steps to lead up to digging in the dirt with their hands! Planting fruits and veggies, watering the garden, and then picking the fruits and veggies promotes independence. Working together with you to achieve the garden’s growth helps solidify the idea that you are a team.

Let us know your child’s favorite springtime activity in the comments!

Heather Diehl
RBT & Supervision Student, Terre Haute