The non-verbal aspects of language such as facial expression, eye contact, body language and tone of voice that help to put a message across effectively. This includes rules of social interaction and subtle use of language. The NHS website of speech and language have lots of strategies and interaction activities to build and develop your child’s communication, interaction and social skills.
Play with objects.
Your child learns about his environment by exploring the things around them. By playing with objects he/she finds out what they are, how they work and what to do with them. While learning all about the objects he/she encounters your child also has the opportunity for social interaction with other people (Smiling, talking, looking at each other, sharing things etc) and for expressing his needs and feelings.
- Encourage your child to explore different things in the world around him. To look at them, touch them, hold them, smell them and listen to the sounds they make, e.g. keys, boxes, rattles, paper, water, feathers etc. Show your child what they can do with each one e.g. splashing with water in the bath, rattnlig keys, tickling with feathers and encourage them to try blowing bubbles.
- Encourage your child to look for things when they have disappeared from view. Do this by:-
- Playing “jack in a box” – you may have one already, if not, make your own with a doll, teddy or hand puppet and a cardboard box with a lid. Cut a hole in the bottom of the box and hide the doll inside with the lid shut. Let the doll spring up to surprise your child, and then hide him again in the box. Counting and encouraging your child to look at the box will help keep his interests while the toy is hiding “1-2-3- boo” (Jack jumps up)
- Hide a small toy in your hand and then open your hand to show your child the toy. As your child learns to recognise where the toy is make the game harder by using both hands and hiding the toy in a different hand each time. Open the empty one first and then the one with the toy in.
- Encourage your child to copy simple activities e.g. clapping hands, shaking a toy, waving bye – bye.
- Encourage your child to use objects appropriately e.g. brush his hair with a brush, drink out of a cup, push a car and go brmb, brmm etc
- Encourage your child to put one object on or in another e.g. one brick on another, a spoon in a cup etc.
- Show your child how to copy everyday activities e.g. feeding dolly,brushing floor, washing clothes, reading a book etc.
- Play alongside your child with the same kind of toys and talk about what you are doing. Encourage your child to copy some of your actions with his own toys.
- Help your child learn how to play with imaginary toys. E.g. pick a sweet out of an empty tin and pretend to eat it, give one to your child to eat too. Stir your cup with a pretend spoon. Encourage your child to copy.
- Encourage your child to imagine that one object can be used instead of another in play. E.g. a box could be a bed for a doll; a cup could be a doll’s hat
- Encourage your child to play in a sequence of events. Join in the play activity and suggest what might happen next, e.g. dolly’s hungry, she wants to have dinner. What does she need to get dinner?
Play with social Materials.
By playing with everyday things that are found in your home as well as toys that copy real objects e.g. dolls house, toy cars etc your child learns about the world about him and how to use things, what to do with them and also how to play and behave with other children and adults:
- Show your child how to play with some of his toys e.g. making engine noise ‘brm’ while pushing a toy car. Rock teddy or dolly to sleep etc
- Let your child copy some of the things you do round the house eg mopping, dusting by letting him watch you and by giving him a mop or duster of his own.
- Have a number of dolls, teddies and/or other toys and make them do different things e.g. sleep, run, jump eat etc. Encourage your child to copy your game with his own toy.
- Encourage your child to use some everyday things eg brush hair, eat with a spoon and drink out of a cup. Show him how to feed his teddy or dolly too.
- Encourage pretend play by pretending to be asleep, pretending to eat something that isn’t really there or drink a pretend drink. Offer some to your child and see if he will copy.
- Help your child act out some pretend games eg being a nurse, postman etc. Encourage him to think of different things to do in his game e.g. posting the letter
What's the weather?
Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction. Describe what you are doing as you play with the different sensory activities e.g. “push”, “squeeze”, “pouring”, “scooping”, “finding”. Keep your comments short and then wait for your child’s response.
When exploring the different sensory activities, you can try and hide items or toys in them. Ask questions, such as, what do you see? What does the squishy bag feel like? Affirm colours, shapes and textures.
Sensory bags are a fun way to get children’s hands moving and its great for tactile sensory input. You can be as creative as you want with the fillings, however, be mindful that the bags can split, and children like to explore with their mouths. You can get your child involved in the process of making the sensory bags. Give your child a choice of filling and encourage them to place the chosen filling into the bag. You don't want to use too much, or the bag will be overfilled.
What you need -
- a large tray or flat surface.
- Clear plastic zip lock lunch bags.
- Sticky tape
- Fillings – coloured gel and glitter, different coloured paints, coloured rice, pasta, pom poms.
- With the gel and paint fillings you can add different textured items such as buttons, googly eyes or even create a nature sensory bag and add some leaves.
How to make the sensory bags -
- Place filling into a zip lock bag.
- Seal the zip lock and use sticky tape to seal and strengthen the squishy bags.
- Place on a flat surface and enjoy!
Painting with ice cubes
What you need-
- 1 cup of water
- Red, yellow, green, and blue food colouring
- Short Popsicle sticks
- Ice cube tray
How to make the paint ice cubes-
- Pour your water into your ice cube tray evenly.
- Add just a tiny drop of food colouring into each cube.
- Place a short popsicle stick into each ice cube mould.
- Freeze for about 4 to 6 hours or overnight
- Pull on the sticks to remove from the tray
Get some car or paper and let your child get creative. You can put some newspaper down underneath your sensory area as the food colouring may stain surfaces.
You can explore the spaghetti in many different ways. You can use tongs to pick up the spaghetti or your hands. Pass handfuls from hand to hand and stir with a spoon. Let your child get creative. Exploring the spaghetti is great for your fine motor skills!
What do I need –
- Food colouring
- Large container
How to make rainbow spaghetti-
- Simply cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions & place into a bowl.
- Add a few tablespoons of the oil (enough to coat)
- Add a few drops of food colouring and mix well.
- Let the spaghetti dry (an hour or so)
- Place into a large container and let the fun begin!
Rice play is a great way your child to playfully develop their fine-motor skills required for writing i.e. picking up tiny grains, passing handfuls from hand to hand. Children love exploring the rice texture and the sound it makes when dropping onto different objects.
You can place the rice onto a tray or in a container/bowl. You can add a variety of other objects to increase exploration and fun! You can add spoons, cups, funnels, or a Siv/drainer.
Make your own coloured rice for sensory play. This recipe makes one cup of colourful rice. Add more rice for more colours.
What do I need -
- 1 cup white or brown rice
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/8 + teaspoon food colouring
- Zip-up plastic bags or bowls and spoon for mixing the colours
How to make the coloured rice -
- Fill a zip-up bag with 1 cup of rice and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
- Scoop or pour about 1/8 teaspoon food colouring into the bag.
- Zip the bag shut
- Squeeze the bag and mix the rice all around until the food colouring is well distributed
- Add more food colouring to reach the desired colour .Pour the coloured rice onto a cookie sheet. Spread it out to expedite drying time. To absorb the moisture and help the rice dry more quickly, line the tray with a paper towel or towel.
- The rice takes between 2 hours and a full day to dry, depending on your climate and humidity.
- Promotes turn taking
- Develops attention skills
- Promotes communication - requesting 'more', 'help'.
Balloon Keep It Up - Everyone has a balloon and has to try to keep balloon in the air as long as possible. This can be made more difficult by having children only use one hand or using a body part or having both hands behind their back.
Hot Potato - Have one balloon between yourself and your child and have some music playing. The aim for the children is to keep the balloon up in the air, but to tap it up quickly to avoid being caught as the last child to touch the balloon once music is stopped. You could change this game to make the children ‘freeze when the music stops’ and hope the balloon doesn’t fall down on them (children are not allowed to move even if the balloon is coming their way). Add more balloons to the game
Balloon Finger Balancing - Have your child try to balance a balloon on their finger for as long as possible
Balloon Volleyball - this can be played with just two of you, in your front room for example. Set up a modified volleyball field with a half way line marked out. A team starts with the balloon and hits the balloon across the halfway line into the other team’s territory, just like a volleyball game. The other team needs to avoid letting the balloon touch the ground and have to get it back over the half way line. Modify the rules to suit the children and the space you are in. A good rule is to have each team have three players touch the balloon before it is hit back over the half way line.
You can encourage your child to make a choice between two to four sensory trays using their own preferred communication method. This could be by using objects of reference, jars, pictures or PEC’S. Once they have made their choice explore the sensory activity with them. D
Fine motor skills activities
Fine motor activities can help children perform crucial tasks like reaching, grasping, and moving objects. These activities can lead to your child having the ability to control and manipulate objects in their environment. Fine motor activities can progress your child to complete tasks like buttoning or zipping their coats, fastening their shoes, turning pages in a book, or mark making/handwriting. Below you will find some activities to try at home. These activities are using resources you can find in your home.
Use a colander and pipe cleaners.
Can you thread the pipe cleaners through the holes?
Can you pull the pipe cleaners out of the holes?
Use small building bricks to make a construction.
Can you push the bricks together and pull them apart?
How many bricks can you use to build a tower?
Can you selcted requested colours?
Use an old container and milk bottle lids for a posting activity.
Can you post the lids into the container?
How many can you post?
Use an old container and lolly pop sticks for a posting activity.
Can you pull the lolly pop sticks out of the container?
How many can you pull out?
Can you post the lolly pop stick in the holes?
How many can you post?
Lets make some music! Have a look at what you have got at home that you could use to make your own musical instruments.
You will need:
A snack tube or a long cardboard tube (such as used for kitchen foil)/ empty bottle
Paint (gold or silver)
Glitter and sequins
Lentils or rice.
What you need to do:
Paint your tube/ bottle and leave to dry. Decorate the tube with sequins and glitter.
Fill the tube/bottle about 1/5 full of rice or lentils and glue the lid on securely. If you are using a kitchen foil tube, you will need to cut circles of card or paper and fix them very securely over each end.
Tip the tube from side to side to hear the rice fall.
What you will need:
What you need to do:
Wrap some elastic bands around an empty container or box. Then start strumming/plucking and create your own music.
Follow the link below to participate in a fun music session with the lovley Erian.
Activities for tablets
- Doodle Maths
- Mouse Maze (good for fine motor work)
- ‘Cut the rope’ (good for fine motor work)
- Awesome Xylophone
- iTrace - Handwriting for Kids
- Writing Wizard – Kids Learn to Write Letters & Words
- Tozzle -Toddler’s favourite puzzle
Computer based activity
- The ‘Purple Mash’ programme is available to use at home and has some great educational games particularly in the Mini Mash section. To access this load up Chrome and then put Purple Mash into the search engine. You can register as a parent. Purple Mash are providing a free service at the moment.
Links to Useful Websites
Copy and paste these into the search bar
- Great resource website called Twinkl this link shows resources for children specifically on the autistic spectrum but could be used with most:
- ‘Clap it’ song by Bari Koral – This is an action song that the children use every day, they love it, this would be a great way to start the day and incorporate some exercise:
- The wiggles – there are lots of clips on youtube and they tend to be educational so if the children are on phones and tablets more try some of these: