We’re big advocates for arts and crafts for autistic kids. Choosing fun crafts for autistic kids can be a fun and engaging way to help them explore their creativity, develop their skills, and engage with the world around them in a way that is comfortable and enjoyable.
Finding the best crafts for autistic kids is an important endeavor. In research published by the North American Journal of Medicine and Science, Kathy Ralabate Doody, Ph.D. explains, “As many children with ASD have difficulty engaging and/or staying on task, and their behaviors can be atypical, it is challenging yet imperative to find meaningful play activities and experiences catering to their specific interests and ability levels.”
To help, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite arts and crafts activities for autistic kids. But first, let’s look at why we picked these particular crafts.
What Makes a Good Craft for Autistic Children?
The crafts on our list are good choices for autistic kids for several reasons:
Many of these crafts involve tactile or sensory experiences that can be calming and enjoyable for autistic kids who may have sensory processing differences.
Fine Motor Skills
These crafts can help develop and improve fine motor skills, which can be beneficial for autistic kids who may struggle with coordination and dexterity.
Creativity and Self-Expression
These crafts encourage creativity and self-expression, allowing autistic kids to express themselves in unique ways.
Predictable and Structured
Many autistic kids thrive on predictability and structure, and these crafts can provide that by following step-by-step instructions or using familiar materials.
Some of these crafts can be done with others, which can provide opportunities for social interaction and collaboration.
Fun Crafts for Autistic Children
Fill bottles with glitter, beads, and other small items to create a fun and calming sensory experience. In our blog, we explain that “Sensory bottles with just water, gel, and glitter are eye-catching, but the addition of small objects gives them greater visual appeal and provides a soothing distraction.”
Make bracelets and necklaces with beads and charms that can be used as fidget tools. Fidget jewelry is small and portable, making it easily accessible and allowing kids to use it in a variety of settings, such as at school or during therapy sessions.
Fill ziplock bags with hair gel, glitter, and small toys for a squishy, tactile experience. As we’ve said before, sensory bags “are fun to play with and provide sensory excitement for kids with autism.”
DIY Stress Balls
Fill balloons with flour, rice, or sand to create fun and squishy stress balls. DIY stress balls can be made with materials that are personally preferred, such as different textures or colors, allowing kids to personalize their stress balls and make them more enjoyable to use.
Use acrylic paint to decorate rocks with fun designs and patterns. Painting rocks allows kids to express their creativity and individuality through unique designs and patterns. This creative self-expression is a staple part of art therapy.
Paper Plate Crafts
Use paper plates to make fun crafts like masks, animal faces, and sun catchers. Creating paper plate crafts requires the use of fine motor skills, which can be helpful for kids who may struggle with coordination and dexterity.
Create puzzles by cutting out pictures from magazines or drawing on cardboard and then cutting them into pieces. Creating and solving puzzles can help develop cognitive skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness.
Use fabric dye to create fun and colorful patterns on t-shirts. Tie-dyeing can be a group activity, providing opportunities for social interaction and collaboration with peers or family members.
Make homemade playdough and add scents, glitter, and food coloring for a fun sensory experience.
String beads onto pipe cleaners or string to make bracelets, necklaces, or keychains. Beading can be a low-stress activity that allows kids to work at their own pace and take breaks when needed, reducing the pressure to perform or keep up with others.
Use colorful paper to create fun origami shapes like animals and flowers. Origami requires the use of fine motor skills, such as folding and creasing paper, which can be helpful for kids who may struggle with coordination and dexterity.
Use magazines, newspapers, and other materials to create collages on paper or canvas. Collage art is a great way to introduce kids to the world of abstract art, and invite them to see shapes and patterns in new ways.
Use paint to create fun handprint art on paper or canvas. The process of creating handprint art can be predictable and structured, which can be beneficial for kids who thrive on routine and familiarity.
Use felt or paper to create fun puppets and put on puppet shows. Puppets can be used as a tool to practice and develop communication skills, such as expressing emotions or telling stories.
Slime provides a tactile and sensory experience that can be calming and enjoyable for a child with autism who may have sensory processing differences.
Many of these craft projects can be done at home, and others are great social activities for kids with autism and their friends. And some of these crafts for autistic kids are used in therapeutic settings. In fact, you may find some of these crafts in Blossom Children’s Center’s Art Therapy sessions.