Danny from Fix It Dads provided us with information on creating a Fun and Functional Backyard space for a child on the Autism Spectrum!
Creating a fun, functional backyard space for your kids is likely a priority now that summer is around the corner, and for parents of children who are on the autism spectrum, it’s important to make it safe and educational as well. Making sure your child’s needs are taken care of is important, but it can be hard to know where to begin where the outdoors are concerned. Every child on the spectrum has different needs, so you’ll need to think about specific ways to help him feel comfortable and safe.
One of the keys to creating a fun backyard haven for your child is to make it a place where he can learn and have a good time simultaneously. Whether he loves water-play for sensory stimulation or enjoys watching birds and other animals, there are several things you can do to help him have a great time during warm weather.
Here are some of the best tips for creating a safe and fun backyard space for your child.
Plant a Garden
Gardening is a great way to help your child learn about how things grow, where our food comes from, and how to be responsible for the care of another living thing. Start a small garden with your child and let him pick out the seeds so he’ll be invested in what you’re growing and all the hard work it takes. Not only that, you can also enjoy the rewards when it’s time to reap the harvest! Make sure you have the right tools for the job; look online for kid-sized gardening tools, and buy fitted gloves for comfort and ease of use. Click here for the best gloves and where to find them.
If you have a pool, you’ll want to make sure it’s completely safe for your child no matter how deep it is. Keep the water clean and use the right amount of chemicals to prevent biting bugs (like mosquitoes) away. Also, make sure you have safety equipment, such as life vests, and that it’s in good working order. It’s also a good idea to install a motion sensor so that if anyone comes near the pool, you’ll know about it.
Create a Tactile Area
Many kids who are on the autism spectrum love textures and exploring different items manually, so consider setting up a tactile area with sand, water, jelly beads, and/or homemade slime. Allow him to play and engage at the same time by encouraging him to follow a certain path to get to each item. For instance, you might set up a small table that can hold a large bucket of water and jelly beads; a few feet away, place a sandbox. Just be sure to cover the sand so animals won’t get into it.
Teach Him About the Birds
Most kids love animals and are fascinated by their behaviors. If your child is interested in learning about different kinds of animals, set up a bird-watching station with binoculars and a book on the different species so he can learn about our feathered friends from the safety and comfort of your backyard. Be sure to teach him about not approaching birds, especially if they have a nest nearby.
Let Him Get Creative
Art is a universal language, so set up a space outside where your child can get messy and make some artwork. You can invest in an easel or simply hang an old white sheet between two trees and allow him to squirt different colors of paint onto it.
Creating a fun, functional backyard space for your child will allow him to use his imagination and learn while getting exercise and engaging his senses. Get the family involved so that everyone can bond, and keep safety in mind when creating different play spaces for your child.