Christmas Activities for Autistic Children

Attention bucket fillers

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year.   A great way for small children to learn about Christmas is to have a wide variety of activities.  My eldest son is non-verbal so we use the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS).  He also relies on visual aids to support his understanding.  I like to stick to our usual activities (routine is important for my kids) but give them a Christmas twist.  Here are my favourite Christmas activities.

Baking

Baking (and eating) mince pies, gingerbread men, cakes and biscuits are great activities for young children.  My boys love mixing the ingredients together and making a mess of the kitchen.  If you are short on time or your little one has a short attention span start with the best bit – decorating.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children Mince Pies
Brushing milk on the mince pies

I picked up a Christmas biscuit decorating set from the supermarket and my eldest loved it (see the results below).  We also had a decorate your own Christmas biscuit stall at my son’s school fayre which was very popular.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children
Christmas Biscuits

Music & Singing

Music is a really fun activity for children.  We have a music bag full of instruments and nursery rhyme visuals.  At Christmas time I replace the visuals with Christmas songs.  The poster below is for the Twelve days of Christmas.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children
12 days of Christmas visual

I have made visual cards for some Christmas songs:

  • Jingle Bells
  • We wish you a Merry Christmas
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
  • When Santa got stuck up the Chimney
  • Mince Pies (to the tune of 5 current buns)

These are placed in a bag so the kids can take turns picking out our next song.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children
Christmas song visuals

Christmas Attention Autism

Attention Autism is a great activity for young autistic children.  We regularly do Attention Autism at home and my eldest does it at school too. It’s great to fill our bucket with seasonal items.

Attention bucket fillers
seasonal bucket fillers

A great idea I have seen is using a stocking instead of the bucket, I must try this myself. For our Christmas bucket I have filled it with wind up reindeer and Santa toys saved from last year’s crackers. I have also added a light spinner with a Father Christmas head and a very annoying Christmas tune.  In addition we have a lovely robin toy that sings and flaps its wings I picked up at B&Q last year.  The shops are full of these sort of toys at the moment.

Christmas Attention Autism
Christmas Attention Autism Bucket

Christmas Attention builder

For stage two you can use some flour and shake it (like snow) over some Christmas templates to reveal the shapes.  Children can take a turn for the interactive stage and make their own templates for stage 4.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children

Messy Play – Fake Snow

We all love a bit of messy play and what better than some fake snow for Christmas messy play. One of our favourites is bath foam soap which makes brilliant fake snow, you can use it to make a snowman then splat him. We also tried some Magik snow which the boys loved.

Christmas Activities for Autistic Children
Magik snow

Small world play

A couple of years ago we had a Happyland Advent Calendar  and it was full of Christmas figures. Now we can play decorating the Christmas tree, visiting Father Christmas, posting cards and other adventures with these great toys.

Christmas happyland toys
Christmas Happyland toys

Christmas PECS

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is my son’s communication method so we like to do some Christmas themed PECS activities.  For example choosing different coloured and shaped ornaments for our tree and requesting stickers to go on our homemade Christmas cards.

Christmas PECS cards
Christmas PECS cards

My favourite activity with my non-verbal son is commenting with PECS. We are doing a book advent calendar this year so will have lots of Christmas books for new commenting activities.

Christmas PECS Activities
Commenting on Dear Santa with PECS

I hope this post has given you some ideas you can try out over Christmas.  You may want to also check out my guest post on Steph’s two Girls with tips to get through Christmas with an autistic child.

You may also be interested in my Christmas visuals which may come in handy over the festive season.

Christmas Day Visuals
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3 Comments

  1. 4th December 2018 / 12:46 pm

    So w brilliant ideas here. Thank you

  2. 5th December 2018 / 3:43 pm

    Some lovely activities. I’m hoping I can encourage some Xmas baking this year x

  3. 11th December 2018 / 10:22 pm

    I love the idea of music and singing. The attention builder activity about flour, shaking and revealing the shape is very an interactive and fun activity. And, baking is always a fun hands on activity for kids.

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