What Can We Do During Summer Break?
Summer is here and so is the heat!
I get a lot of questions from parents when it comes to things they should do this summer with their child on the spectrum. So here is that post!
Here are some tips to help you figure out what you can do this summer with your child on the spectrum and your family.
These are some family-based activities and 1:1 or smaller group ones too.
FINDING FUN OUTSIDE
“If my child had their way, they would be inside on their iPads all day! I want them to go outside and have some fun. But how do we get them out there?”
Here are some great ideas from families I’ve worked with and my own to finding what works outside (I’ve also linked to some blog posts that I’ve found on the topic):
Usually water (so many kiddos love water) - what are some water activities that you can have outside? Sure there’s the pool, maybe a smaller wading pool, sprinkler
Sensory play ideas and summer activities for kids with autism
This blog post discusses a great way to build functional skills, communication skills, and independent living skills. Also a great sensory experience.
Curious about ways to create and support a safe environment for your child to play in the backyard?
Keep your yard secure and enjoyable for children on the spectrum
Pro tip: Figure out what activities are adjacent to what your child likes to do and get them to try out it. That will increase their interest in trying it out and motivation in sticking it out .
Another Pro tip: Create a visual schedule! You build in time on the schedule devoted to being outside, and then gradually increase that amount of time outside.
Related reading: Summer 1 article
FINDING FUN INSIDE
Guess what?! It is possible to have fun inside and branch out of iPads and other technological devices (Like computers and TVs).
Here is a list of some ideas to find fun inside either together with your child, something they can do with their siblings, or by themselves as a solo activity:
Incorporate the sensory activities too!
Encourage them to create something that is all their own. Summer is a great time for creativity.
Do they like movies? Make a movie together! That’s what I did with my brother Tanner. He loves watching Youtube dubs and revisions of Disney movies. So we made one.
Do they like Minecraft? Other video games? Have them draw out their universe. Or create a new one with blocks and other toys. Make a blueprint.
Build off of what is adjacent to what your kid likes
Pro tip: Inevitably, your child will feel like they want to go back to their devices. Make a routine for when they use their iPad or use a timer (maybe one on your phone if that works, but you can also use a sand timer or timer on your oven to help indicate when time is up and time to transition)
For when the summer heat becomes especially unbearable, here is a blog post of ideas for beating the heat from Leah Behrens a mom of two children on the autism spectrum. She has a lifestyle blog where her parenting journey is often highlighted.
GO OUT IN THE COMMUNITY
Going to a summer camp or program can be a great option for some families as they look for ways to fill up their child’s summer schedule.
Looking for camps in your community? Here is a blog post about finding the right summer program for children with autism.
This shares information about where to start when looking for a summer program or camp, what to look for (e.g., sufficient support levels, knowledgeable staff, consistent & manageable routines, suitable activities to encourage successful peer interaction, and parent communication), and how to prepare for camp.
Additionally, if you’re looking for tips to prepare for vacation and to ensure most things go smoothly when traveling, here is a blog post from Learning for a Purpose.
In this post, she shares 7 tips for taking a vacation with a teenager with autism - note some of these tips can helpful and applicable for children on the spectrum of all ages.