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6 Sensory Play Ideas for Children with Autism

Updated: Jan 24



When children play, they learn about their surroundings and develop many of the key skills they’ll need throughout their lives. All while having lots of fun, of course!


Sensory play, in particular, plays a vital role in child development. This refers to any activity that stimulates a child’s senses, including touch, sound, taste, sight, and smell.


Sensory play activities help to facilitate understanding and creativity in all children, but they can be particularly beneficial for children with autism, changing the way their brains react to touch, sight, sound, and movement.


Looking for sensory play ideas for children with autism? Here are some of our favourites…


Mud Kitchen



A classic sensory activity!


Grab some pots and pans, mix up some mud, and let your children get messy, cooking up a storm in their mud kitchen! Make sure there are lots of tools and utensils for them to use, and an apron or overalls will keep washing to a minimum.


You can even build or buy a freestanding kitchen and make this a permanent feature in your garden.



Seaside Sensory Bin



Recreate all the fun of the seaside with this fun sensory bin game.


Take a plastic box (a shallow underbed storage tray is ideal) and fill one side with sand. Using shells, stones, and pebbles, create a wall along the edge of the sand. This will act as a barrier between the sand and the water. Pour water into the other side, keeping it shallow so it doesn’t flood the sand.


Add toy boats and animal toys into the water and watch as your children have hours of wet, sandy fun! Perfect for a sunny day in the garden.



Scented Playdough



This one is always a hit!

Make up some playdough (or buy some if you’d prefer), and divide it up into separate bowls. Choose ingredients with different scents, making sure they all have a strong smell that can be easily differentiated from the others. Think lemon juice, ginger, vanilla essence, and cinnamon, to name but a few.


Once you’ve prepared the different scented play doughs, let your little ones get stuck in!



Pouring Station



Pouring stations are quick and easy to set up and are lots of fun too!


Take a shallow container, roughly the size of under bed storage and fill it with as many different containers as you can find around the house. Fill some of the containers with water, adding different colourings for an extra exciting touch!


Your littles ones will love pouring and dumping the water between all the different containers.



Painting with Cars


If your child loves playing with cars, why not use them to make a fun sensory activity?


Take a large piece of paper and tape it to the table or floor, then put some dollops of paint in different colours around the paper – make sure it’s washable! Get your little ones to choose some of their cars and drive them through the paint.


Keep adding more paint as they drive the cars around the paper. Hours of sensory fun!



Sensory Playmats


Last but not least, sensory playmats are a great sensory play activity for children with autism. Available in a whole host of different textures, colours, and designs, they’re a great way to integrate sensory play into your daily routine.


Explore our range of children’s orthopaedic sensory playmats here and get in touch if you have any questions!




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