Homemade Maracas - Don’t try these if you don’t want your kids to become a band! Since it is just after Easter I am thinking that many of us have the plastic eggs around the house. Fill plastic eggs with un-popped popcorn, rice or dry beans. Take two plastic spoons and place on either side of egg. Tape spoons to the egg using masking tape (any tape will work) and also tape the handles of the spoons together. Now the fun part, shake your homemade maraca. Make enough that each child can have one in each hand. March around the house as a “Marching Band” shaking your maracas. This activity provides tactile and auditory sensory input.
Stuck Animal Rescue - On a large cookie sheet, use blue painters tape to tape plastic animals/army men/ McDonald toys, etc. to the cookie sheet. Ask the child to “Rescue the animals”. The child is encouraged to take the tape off each animal to rescue him. This activity provides good tactile input. Some children may not like the stickiness of the tape but would be good for them to experience tactile input.
Foil Alphabet - This activity takes a roll of aluminum foil. Parent should tear off sheets of foil approximately 6 inches wide prior to starting the activity and place them in a pile. If you plan to do the whole alphabet you will need at least 26 sheets. Help child to shape each piece of foil into a letter of the alphabet. Additional foil can be used, for example for a letter B more foil may be needed to shape the bumps. Try to make the entire alphabet letters in foil. For older children you can try making upper case and lower case letters. This will provide good proprioceptive and tactile input.
Finger Soccer Game - This game takes a little more time and effort to put together, but most kids that I work with love this game! There are three parts to this project, the game board and the game players. And of course a small rubber ball, if you don’t have one, crinkle up a piece of aluminum foil into a small ball. The game board can be made from a cereal box or a cardboard shirt box. See below for an example. You can color the inside of the box or cover it bottom with fabric, the possibilities are endless, but the most important thing is that you have a goal area on either end and a middle circle. The other part of the game is the cardboard game players. I am attaching a handout that can be printed out and then glued to some cardboard and cut out ( I use the other side of the cereal box for this). Each child can cut out his “man” and decorate his man using colors or markers. I usually encourage each child to pick a number that they want to be and put that number on the shirt of their “man”. Also have them make a face on their man. Once the players are cut out, cut holes for the child’s fingers. Parent may need to do this because this cutting is difficult. Also, this pattern is for small child size hands, I had to make the holes larger for my fingers (about the size of a penny for adult hands). Now you are ready to play soccer. Place the player on index and middle fingers and “stand” by your goal. The game is played just like regular soccer although most of the time we didn’t keep score, just tried to get to the other person’s goal. This game provides tactile, visual and proprioceptive input. It also helps to work on following the rules of a game and fine motor skills of coloring/cutting.
ACT Companion App: The Happiness Trap (CODE: TOGETHER)
Autism Science Foundation: Autism Resources for Families
Illinois Autism Partnership/Easterseals Resources:
Indoor and Outdoor Activities:
Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch