Keeping an autistic child entertained can be difficult at times. These children often have sensory sensitivities or special needs that present unique challenges at playtime. By choosing the right activities, though, you can keep an autistic child happy and engaged for hours. Try these five fun, sensory-based activities to help an autistic child have fun and learn at the same time.

Get Colorful

Give the child a basket of multicolored blocks or a bowl of brightly painted beans. Ask them to help you sort the blocks or beans by color, or show them how to arrange the blocks or beans into patterns. This is a great way to practice color identification with younger children, and older children will enjoy creating their own patterns and designs.

Have Fun with Paint

Painting is an enjoyable way to stimulate a child’s creativity, no matter how old they are. For younger children, finger-painting is a way to explore new textures and experiment with color. Older children may enjoy making their own stamps out of materials like sponges, fruits and vegetables, or balloons.

Build Something

You don’t have to have a master’s of civil engineering to enjoy building with blocks, Legos, or other construction toys. Encourage autistic children to build houses, towers, and anything else they can dream up. Show them pictures of buildings if they need help coming up with ideas. Building helps kids practice their fine motor skills and exercises their creativity, too.

Go Outside

Visiting a park or playground can be a great way to help an autistic child step outside their comfort zone in a fun and safe setting. Set up a simple obstacle course, go on a nature walk, or encourage the child to try new activities on the playground. Navigating a climbing structure or taking turns on the swings is a good way for a child to practice their coordination and improve their social skills with other children.

Find a Toy

This activity helps a child overcome any sensory issues they might have. Fill a bin with rice or dried beans and hide small toys or figurines inside. Have the child reach into the bin and sift through the rice or beans to find the toys. For children who are old enough to learn to read, try hiding plastic letters in the bin. Ask them to identify each letter when they pull it out.

Autistic children may have some unique needs, but they still want to enjoy playing and exploring their world, just like other kids. These simple, sensory-based activities can help the autistic child in your life practice their motor skills and coordination while having fun at the same time, whether you’re their teacher or parent.

Do you have additional ideas for engaging austic children? Leave them in the comments!