8 Autism-Friendly Summer Activities

Autism-Friendly Summer Activities

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How can summer holidays affect my autistic child?

Families and kids can’t wait for those special moments when they can break free from their usual routine, make exciting plans, and enjoy the summer together. However, as with many aspects of life, the excitement for summer may not be the same for everyone, especially for those diagnosed with autism. Parents must consider autism-friendly summer activities to accommodate their children’s unique preferences and needs.

Many parents and caregivers might wonder, “How can summer holidays affect my autistic child?” While many children and families look forward to summer activities, the sensory and social characteristics of these events can be challenging for children with autism. The noise of crowded beaches, unpredictable changes in daily routines, and intense sensory experiences can cause anxiety and discomfort.

Moments like this are where autism-friendly summer activities play a crucial role. These activities aim to be inclusive, providing an environment where children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can enjoy the summer in a way that is comfortable and safe for them. In this blog by Texas ABA Centers, we will explore eight summer activities for children with ASD.

Get Ready for Summer

Before embarking on autism-friendly summer activities, it’s essential to prepare your child to ensure a smooth transition.

First, planning can be beneficial. Children with autism often feel more comfortable when they know what to expect. Creating a visual summer calendar with scheduled activities can give them a clear idea of what will happen, thus reducing anxiety about the unknown.

Maintaining a structured routine is also crucial. While summer brings changes to daily routines, trying to keep some structure can be very beneficial. Setting consistent times for meals, sleep, and daily activities will provide a sense of stability.

Preparing your child for new experiences is essential. Before introducing new activities or visiting unfamiliar places, you can use social stories or images to explain what will happen. Making preliminary visits to places like parks or pools during quiet hours can help your child become familiar with these environments.

Sensory considerations are fundamental. Summer can bring intense sensory stimuli such as heat, noise, and crowds. Ensure you get items that help your child manage these stimuli, such as noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, comfortable and light clothing, and water to stay hydrated.

Autism-Friendly Summer Activities

Kid in a pool

1. Water Games at Home

 If local pools pose challenges for your child due to crowds and noise, you can opt to create your own fun oasis at home. Whether you have your pool or an inflatable one, adding sprinklers and water toys can transform your backyard into a controlled and safe space for fun. Always remember to supervise your child while they play to ensure their safety and peace of mind.

2. Nature Excursions

Visiting natural parks, quiet trails, or botanical gardens can be an excellent option. Nature provides a calm and less overwhelming environment, perfect for sensory explorations and relaxing walks. Plan these outings during less crowded hours to avoid crowds and bring water, snacks, and sunscreen along.

3. Artistic and Craft Activities


Encourage your child’s creativity with art sessions at home. Gather materials such as paint, clay, colored papers, and glue. Let your child explore different techniques and create their own fun artwork.

This activity is not only entertaining but can also be very therapeutic!

8 autism-friendly summer activities

4. Museum Visits

Many museums offer special hours for families with children with special needs. During these hours, the museum adjusts lights and sounds to reduce sensory stimulation. These visits can be educational and enjoyable. Research local museums and plan a visit during these special hours.

For example, the Thinkery Museum in Austin has sensory-friendly summer hours, so you can go with your little one. The Dallas Museum of Art also has different programs, such as sensory days or summer art camps.

5. Adapted Cinema

Some cinemas offer autism-friendly screenings with dimmed lights and lower sound. These sessions allow children to move freely, and bringing special snacks is permitted. Watching a movie in an adapted environment can be a very positive experience. For instance, in Texas, AMC offers special screenings on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. Similarly, Alamo Drafthouse hosts screenings tailored explicitly for young families and individuals with sensory-friendly needs.

If you can’t find an autism-friendly cinema nearby, you can create your own sensory-friendly cinema experience at home. Set up a cozy space with blankets, pillows, and comfortable seating. Dim the lights, adjust the volume to a comfortable level, and choose a movie that your child enjoys. Provide special snacks like popcorn or their favorite treats to enhance the experience.

6. Family Cooking

Cooking together can be a fun and educational activity. Choose simple recipes and let your child participate in the preparation. Activities like mixing ingredients, kneading dough, preparing popsicles, or decorating cookies can be very entertaining. This activity is an excellent way to spend family time and teach practical skills.

7. Autism-Friendly Summer Camps

Consider enrolling your child in a summer camp specifically designed for children with autism. These camps offer structured activities and specialized staff to support the children. Environments are adapted to be sensory-friendly, and activities aim to be inclusive and enjoyable. Research local options and make sure the camp has good references and experience working with children with autism.

8. Summer Activities with Texas ABA Centers!

8 autism-friendly summer activities

Explore the diverse summer activity options we offer to our clients in diverse areas of Texas. We design these activities to create an enjoyable and inclusive experience for kids with ASD. Our autism-friendly summer activities are both fun and educational, encouraging communication and interaction while complementing ABA therapy hours.

From engaging in cooking sessions, outdoor adventures, and virtual sessions to immersive creative art classes and sensory-friendly gatherings, we provide a diverse range of options to suit different interests and abilities.

Explore friendly-autism summer activities with Texas ABA Centers clients in Houston, Dallas, and Austin!

Have Summer Fun with Texas ABA Centers

As summer approaches, many parents may feel a little anxious knowing that their children’s routines will be a little different. However, this should not be a concern. With planning and support, summer can be fun and full of learning, with autism-friendly activities that suit the needs of your loved one on the spectrum.

At Texas ABA Centers, we help parents and children with autism develop valuable skills and improve their quality of life. Through ABA therapy, we teach children to navigate sensory difficulties better and manage challenging behaviors. Our mission is to equip parents with practical tools to understand and respond to their children’s unique needs, fostering a more harmonious family environment and supporting the child’s overall development.

If you are looking for specialized support and a center committed to your child’s well-being, call us at (877) 771-5725 or schedule a free consultation today to discover how we can help transform your life and your family’s life.

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