Fun and Sensory-Friendly Labor Day Ideas for Autism Families
September 04, 2020
Activities for Children on the Spectrum to Celebrate Labor Day
Like many holidays, Labor Day can be confusing or overwhelming for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While the weekend should celebrate a day of respite in honor of our nation’s past and present laborers, the hustle and bustle of backyard barbecues, boat days, vacations and parades can be a lot to absorb.
Teaching the meaning behind Labor Day can also be tricky. The little ones may not yet understand the idea of employment, and this is one holiday in which many adults could also use a refresher.
To help children on the spectrum join in the fun while teaching them about the hard work behind Labor Day, our Hopebridge team came up with a few ideas for families to bring home the festive fun.
4 Ways to Celebrate Labor Day at Home
Bake an American flag cookie cake. Who doesn’t love dessert?! Whether you are attending a cookout or enjoying a quiet day at home, making an American-themed cookie cake is an easy and delicious way to celebrate. There are several steps that can be handed over to the kids. Mixing homemade dough and rolling out the store-bought version both provide children with a sensory experience when baking this giant sugar cookie. Let their creative and fine motor skills shine as they finish by topping it with frosting, whipped cream, fruit, sprinkles or other red, white and blue embellishments.
Host a career day dress-up party. Kids of all ages can enjoy dressing up like their favorite community workers. Purchase a few costumes or make your own with printable paper hats so your kid can take turns working as a firefighter, grocery worker, nurse and security guard. If the act of dressing up is too much, there are other activities like Totschooling’s community helpers puzzles that can teach kiddos about different jobs. Use this playtime to talk about the different roles of each worker and how they contribute to where they live. Even if they do not fully comprehend the meaning of Labor Day through this project, it’s a great opportunity to work on imaginative play and social skills.
Make thank-you care packages for community helpers. Labor Day is a perfect time to honor and share gratitude for those who spend their days serving others. Help teach appreciation and kindness by creating small Labor Day gifts for the workers around your home. Ask your child to choose some of his or her favorite pre-packaged snacks and drinks and wrap them in a basket or bag (setting a few aside for personal use too, of course!). Then take out the paper, crayons and stickers to have them design “Happy Labor Day!” cards for their recipients. Once ready, plan a time to hand out the care packages to sanitation workers, USPS employees, delivery drivers and lawn maintenance teams your child comes in contact with throughout the week.
Decorate with patriotic crafts. Even if you will not have guests over this Labor Day, give your kiddo the chance to spice up the living space with red, white and blue crafts. By working on the décor together, you’ll give your child the choice and chance to participate in the celebrations, plus a learning opportunity to work on fine motor skills and colors. Tailor the art projects to your child’s developmental age and join in to help, when needed. Some of our favorite crafts include a pom-pom flag painting, patriotic paper plate wind catcher, and this mess-free star art.
Holidays may look a little different for families touched by autism, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be experienced. For more ideas on how to keep your child engaged and practice independence-building skills, contact us to learn more about applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy).
“Does insurance cover ABA therapy for kids with autism?” “How soon can my child start therapy?” Dive into the details by checking out some of our frequently asked questions.