After all they do for our kiddos, we came up with a few ways to turn the tables and celebrate Nana, Pop, Pawpaw, Gigi – or whoever that special someone is – this Grandparents’ Day. From gifts of crafts that build communication skills, to sensory activities that can be experienced together, here are three ideas to shower grandparents with love … with a side of learning!
3 Autism-Friendly Grandparents’ Day Crafts and Activities
“Thank you for Helping Me Grow” Grandparents’ Day Card Skip the real flowers for grandma, as these one-of-a-kind florals will last a lot longer! This DIY card offers the time and space for your child to experiment with new textures while getting a little messy, for a change. Start with paper and washable, non-toxic paint. Let your kiddo decide on the colors to give them some freedom of choice in this project. Squirt some paint onto a paper plate or aluminum foil and help them spread out their fingers (like a high five) before placing their hand into the paint. If this task is too difficult, another option is to use a paintbrush to spread the paint onto their palm and fingers. Next, have them press their hand onto the paper to make a handprint. This will serve as the flower. The finishing touches will depend on your kid’s skills and interests. Maybe you have them fingerpaint to create the stem and leaves, or you can paint the rest for them. Once it’s dry, write “Thank you for helping me grow” at the top. To add some more sensory fun to the project, have your child add stickers or glue pom-poms as the finishing touches.
Skills and benefits: This craft helps children express their creativity, explore various textures and practice fine motor skills.
Sensory Shadow Box This activity is a gift for grandkids and their grandparents, alike. Put together your own mini sensory box or purchase one that centers around your child’s interests and/or activities over which they bond with their grandparents. Examples of themes include camping, space travel, unicorns or autumn landscapes. Instead of using the box it comes with, encourage your kiddo to play with the elements and design their own scene within a special shadow box. Once they are finished playing, the box becomes a work of art that can be gifted for Grandparents’ Day. Alternatively, the pre-assembled box can also serve as the gift if you’d like to make it into an activity they can build together.
Skills and benefits: This project can help kids build a tolerance to various sensory experiences, work on imaginary play, and learn to focus and soothe themselves. If they work on it with their grandparents, it also becomes an opportunity to work on social skills.
Grandparents’ Day Questionnaire Is your kiddo working on new words? Whether they are learning to speak verbally, or using PECS or an AAC device to communicate, some kids may have fun “filling in the blanks” when it comes to their grandparents. If they are developmentally able, work with your child to create a card that answers simple questions about their grandma or grandpa. For example, ask them what their grandparent’s favorite color is, what kind of food they make best, or how they like to play with them. For those who are already mastering their language, here is an easy printable from the Skip to My Lou site that may spark some ideas. Remember that silly answers are often the most personal and fun for everyone to read, so we encourage you to write down whatever answers they choose without the need for perfect responses. Afterwards, have them decorate the page with crayons, stickers or any other chosen art supplies.
Skills and benefits: This activity encourages communication and social skills, as well as helps them learn to follow directions.