Hobbies for Kids with Autism

Interests and hobbies are an important part of development for all children and adolescents. However, as a parent of a child with autism, you know everyday activities can be challenging. Whether your child experiences sensory issues or struggles with communication, finding hobbies can be tough.

The goal is for you and your child to leverage their strengths. While all children are unique, many children with autism are often strong in areas such as visual thinking or thinking that focuses on specific interests.

Starting to Find Hobbies For Kids with Autism

Finding hobbies your child enjoys will not only produce feelings of satisfaction and pleasure but also provides opportunities for your child to master new skills. Depending on the activity, your child may be able to practice social skills, improve physical aptitude, and increase feelings of motivation. This can lead to greater happiness and self-confidence.

To find what your child enjoys most, pay attention to your child’s unique skills and interests.


Exposure, exposure, exposure!

Provide your child with a wide range of opportunities to explore multiple activities. In many cases, you may find that you’ll need to work with your child to develop specific leisure skills. Work with your child to develop these skills, boosting their self-esteem and willingness to get involved.

Some children with high-functioning autism display intense, almost peculiar interests. This can create socially isolating effects. For example, a child with autism may be so interested in fossils that it interferes with other activities in their life. If your child displays restricted interests, connect them with others they can relate to so that they can develop new skills while exploring their topic of interest. Search for any related clubs online or offline that you can help them join and take part in.

Autism Activity Ideas to Consider

Every child with autism is unique. That is why you must focus on what it is your child enjoys. Is your son interested in trains? Perhaps a model train collection would be a great place to start, especially when aiming to improve organizational skills. Does your daughter love to build things? Legos will encourage creativity and motor skill development.

Based on how individuals with autism perceive the world, arts and craft activities that incorporate the senses can often help improve a child’s ability to express themselves. These types of activities may also improve your child’s attention span.

  • Coin rubbing– Collect a range of coins and place a piece of paper on top of them. Using different colored crayons, rub the crayons until a coin pattern appears. Children with autism will appreciate making patterns while you help them develop their hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Create a sensory collage– Different textures and sensations can quickly become overwhelming for children with autism. To ease your child into using various materials, offer a small selection to start. Maybe begin with magazine clippings or glitter. Make a collage together that helps them express how they’re feeling. Encourage them to share their collage with you and other family members. Over time, introduce new textures.
  • Poetry– Since many children with autism find it challenging to communicate and express themselves, poetry can help them make sense of the world around them. The goal here is to release any built-up thoughts or emotions. Drawing is another way to express oneself without using words.

Read more: Art Therapy Activities for Autism

Other activities that encourage creativity and a heightened level of independence include:

  • Cooking and baking – This is a rewarding activity that allows children with autism to follow instructions and learn about new foods. If your child is a visual learner, create pictures that represent each step. Try a new recipe each week.
  • Music – Since it stimulates both sides of the brain, music is a common tool used in autism therapy. Music encourages communicative behavior and can encourage interaction with others. Although learning an instrument is rewarding for some children, others prefer singing or dancing. This can help stimulate sensory systems while enhancing motor skills.

Unfortunately, autism is often associated with harmful health outcomes, such as obesity. This is often because of low levels of physical activity and high levels of sedentary behaviors. This is why it’s so beneficial to encourage activities that are physical, such as trampolining or swimming. Research shows that physical activity programs for youth with autism improve motor skills, elevate fitness levels, encourage social functioning, and enhance muscular strength.

  • Start small – While the CDC recommends children get at least one hour of physical activity a day, shorter periods throughout the day may be easier to maintain. If possible, walk to school, walk your family dog after school, and after dinner, take a family trip to the park.
  • Try different types of physical activities – From riding bikes to playing table tennis, encourage fitness activities, activities that encourage social interaction (tennis or catch), and activities that encourage independence (yoga).
  • Create a routine – Build a predictable structure for your child’s physical activity plan. A visual schedule can be highly effective for children with autism.

Carmen B. Pingree Can Help

The Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning offers treatment, education, and supportive services for children with autism. We offer several programs depending on your child’s age group, helping each individual become the greatest version of themselves. Our goal is to help children with autism reach their full potential. We work closely with families to develop treatment plans that are tailored to each child. As we get to know your child, we will suggest hobbies that may be of interest to them and allow them to thrive.

Have questions? We’d love to hear from you. Contact us today!