25 Sensory-Friendly Holiday Activities for Individuals with Autism

Dec 18, 2023ABA best practices0 comments

For individuals with special needs, the holidays can be exciting, but equally challenging – with issues such as overstimulation, disruption of routine, travel stress, unexpected guests, lack of personal space, etc.

Nevertheless, it is possible to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding holiday season if these things are kept in mind, and you can plan accordingly. To help, we’ve created a 25 holiday activities that are designed to be enjoyable, sensory-friendly, and accommodating for individuals with autism.

  1. Holiday Crafting Session: Engage in simple, tactile crafts like making holiday cards or decorating ornaments with textures that are pleasant to touch.
  2. Baking Together: Bake cookies or other treats, allowing for hands-on mixing and decorating.
  3. Nature Walks: Enjoy a peaceful walk in a nearby park, focusing on the natural sounds and sights of the season.
  4. Storytelling Time: Read holiday-themed books in a quiet, cozy environment.
  5. Music Session with Soft Melodies: Play or listen to soft, calming holiday music.
  6. Sensory-Friendly Movie Night: Choose a movie with minimal loud noises or bright flashes. Keep the room lighting dim and comfortable.
  7. Create a Sensory Box: Fill a box with various safe, holiday-themed items to explore through touch.
  8. Holiday Themed Sensory Bins: Create bins with items like fake snow, pine cones, and other textured items.
  9. Decorate a Quiet Space: Have a special area where holiday decorations can be enjoyed in a more controlled, serene environment.
  10. Puzzle Time: Work on a holiday-themed puzzle in a quiet room.
  11. Holiday Light Viewing: Drive or walk through neighborhoods with holiday lights, ensuring to avoid overly flashy displays.
  12. Simple Cooking Projects: Make simple holiday dishes, focusing on the process and sensory experiences.
  13. Gentle Holiday Yoga: Try yoga with movements themed around winter and the holidays.
  14. Create a Holiday Sensory Bag: Fill a bag with various textures and soft holiday items.
  15. Indoor Snowball Fight: Use soft, plush snowballs for a gentle indoor snowball fight.
  16. Holiday Scavenger Hunt: Organize a simple scavenger hunt with clear and manageable tasks.
  17. Visit a Quiet Santa: Some places offer quiet, sensory-friendly visits with Santa.
  18. Create a Holiday Collage: Use holiday-themed magazines or pictures to make a collage.
  19. Holiday Planting Activity: Plant winter plants or create a small indoor garden.
  20. Make a Holiday-Themed Sensory Bottle: Fill a bottle with glitter, water, and holiday items.
  21. Themed Dress-Up Day: Dress up in comfortable holiday-themed clothes.
  22. Create a Calming Holiday Playlist: Compile a list of soothing holiday tunes.
  23. Relaxation and Breathing Exercises: Practice holiday-themed relaxation techniques.
  24. Holiday Memory Book: Create a book with pictures and notes about favorite holiday moments.
  25. Build a Fort: Construct a cozy, holiday-themed fort using blankets and pillows.

These activities are designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs and preferences of individuals with autism, ensuring a joyful and inclusive holiday experience.

What else should go on this list? Do you have ideas for how your family spends the holidays that we’re missing? Let us know!

Learn more about our Autism Success Stories: https://buildingblockresolutions.com/autism-success-stories/

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