Top 6 Autism-Friendly Summer Activities for Families in New Jersey

Top 6 Autism-Friendly Summer Activities for Families in New Jersey

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What are the best summer activities for kids with autism?

Autism-friendly summer activities: Summer is a season many eagerly anticipate. Vacations, warm weather, and various activities and travel opportunities make this time of year special for children and families alike. Summer can bring extra joy to everyone’s life and break the monotony of daily routines. However, these changes can present additional challenges for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Being part of the neurodiverse community should not hinder the enjoyment of summer, and many families are preparing for it. So, the question arises: what are the best summer activities for kids with autism?

In this ABA Centers of New Jersey blog, we bring you the best autism-friendly summer activities. Whether enjoyed outdoors or at home, these ideas can provide a fun and memorable vacation for the whole family!

Understanding Routines for Children with Autism

Understanding Routines for Children with Autism

Summer introduces significant changes in routines and schedules for children with autism, which can cause discomfort and anxiety due to the disruption of their usual structure. The absence of school, introduction of new activities, increased free time, and lack of a structured environment can complicate the relationship between summer and children with autism.

A common trait among individuals with autism is a preference for repetitive behaviors, which is evident in the activities and hobbies they engage in and take interest in. Routines are particularly beneficial for people on the autism spectrum because of their affinity for repetition and consistency.

Routines offer a sense of security, predictability, and order, helping to mitigate anxiety and uncertainty. By maintaining a routine, individuals with autism can manage their daily lives more effectively. With a structured routine, they may feel energized and find it easier to navigate everyday life.
Establishing a routine or schedule during the summer is crucial, as is preparing for this transition ahead of time. This preparation can make it easier for your loved one to participate in and adapt to new summer routines.
A structured environment helps develop social, communication, and adaptive skills, encourages learning, and promotes independence. Routines also assist in learning to manage time, organize tasks, regulate emotions and behaviors, and handle transitions and changes more smoothly.
Here are some autism-friendly summer activities that you can introduce into your loved one’s routine:

Top 5 Autism-Friendly Summer Activities

1. Water Activities: Swimming is one of the autism-friendly summer activities that offers a multitude of physical and mental benefits for children with autism. It not only promotes physical development and motor coordination but also helps reduce anxiety, improve mood, promote social development, enhance concentration, improve self-confidence, and foster independence. Plus, during the warmer months, what could be better than a refreshing dip?

Your child can enjoy swimming at local pools, beaches, or community centers. However, some individuals with autism may face challenges such as an aversion to being wet or feeling overwhelmed in crowded, noisy environments.


Top 5 Autism-Friendly Summer Activities

If your child encounters these challenges, consider enrolling them in swimming classes specifically tailored for children with autism. These classes are conducted in a calm, sensory-friendly environment, helping your child overcome their fears and enjoy the long-term benefits of the activity. Swimming stands out as one of the best autism-friendly summer activities, enriching both your child’s and your entire family’s vacation experience.

2. Visit a Local Park: Taking advantage of the sunshine and warmth of summer is essential, especially as those cold, cloudy months approach. Exploring the outdoors at a nearby park allows your child to develop motor skills, play, and explore at their own pace. A day at the park also helps improve social and interactive skills, practice patience while waiting their turn, solve problems, release stress, and stay entertained.

Visiting a local park not only provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy the great weather but also offers a natural and peaceful environment where children can learn and grow. It is one of the autism-friendly summer activities that combines fun, exercise, and personal development in a relaxed and welcoming setting.

3. Explore Summer Camps: New Jersey offers a variety of summer camps specifically designed for individuals with developmental disorders. These camps provide relaxed, inclusive, and non-competitive environments focused on strengthening life skills, boosting self-confidence, and fostering independence.

These camps have trained professionals, including physicians and behavioral therapists, equipped to care for children with behavioral challenges. Besides offering a safe and enriching experience, summer camps present an excellent opportunity to enhance social skills, meet new people, make friends, and reinforce essential skills.

Before selecting a camp, thoroughly research the available options to ensure they meet your loved one’s needs and preferences. Autism-friendly summer camps can provide an unforgettable experience that contributes to your child’s overall development while enjoying a season filled with new experiences and learning.

4. Creative Outdoor Fun: Engaging in artistic and creative activities during the summer months can boost confidence and provide plenty of fun. Thanks to their versatility, these activities are often sensory-friendly, which allows them to be done in calm and quiet settings like your home garden. The summer season, free from academic responsibilities or therapies, provides an excellent opportunity for creativity to flourish through artistic hobbies.

These activities stimulate the brain’s creative areas and are inherently relaxing, engaging both fine and gross motor skills. They also offer a medium for non-verbal communication, encouraging sensory development, self-expression, and self-esteem. Additionally, they provide cognitive stimulation and a sense of accomplishment.

4. Creative Outdoor Fun

Summer is the perfect time for children with autism to explore their creativity outdoors. They will benefit from enriching experiences that promote holistic development in a natural and peaceful environment.

5. Playdates!: Playdates are an essential addition to the list of autism-friendly summer activities. These gatherings are incredibly versatile, as they can take place outdoors at a playground, indoors at your home, or even at a museum.

Playdates are excellent for maintaining structure. You can schedule them weekly or at a frequency that best suits your family’s dynamic, providing opportunities for your child to play with friends, neighbors, or family members.

Playdates are perfect for strengthening social interaction and communication skills, fostering the development of relationships and friendships, and providing a safe and enjoyable environment for children to be themselves. Additionally, these regular gatherings can help your child build confidence and social skills and enjoy structured playtime in a meaningful way.


6. Plan a Trip Together: Exploring new places and environments can invigorate everyone’s mind. While trips and vacations may require additional planning for families with members on the autism spectrum, involving your child in the planning process can be an enriching experience.

By engaging your child in planning, you not only give them a sense of responsibility but also foster inclusion. Together, you can research destinations, decide on trip lengths, explore exciting activities, and choose food options that cater to everyone’s needs.

This collaborative approach not only prepares your child for the trip but also helps them feel more comfortable and confident during the adventure. Additionally, anticipation and preparation can reduce trip-related anxiety, allowing everyone to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

Elevate Your Child’s Summer with ABA Centers of New Jersey

Among the various autism-friendly summer activities, ABA therapy is one of the most beneficial.

At ABA Centers of New Jersey, we are committed to providing practical tools, methodologies, and activities that genuinely benefit children on the autism spectrum. Our ABA therapy services can help develop essential skills for individuals on the spectrum, such as communication, social interaction, emotional regulation, academic performance, and coping skills. These skills can help foster independence.

We offer comprehensive, personalized therapy tailored to each child’s needs and preferences. Whether you prefer therapy in a clinical setting or at home, our services are available to families in Woodstown, Trenton, Paterson, and other parts of New Jersey.

In addition to our therapy sessions, we organize events and sensory-friendly activities during the summer to ensure children can have fun, socialize, and enjoy the season to the fullest.

If you’re ready to prepare for an autism-friendly summer, contact us by calling (855) 640-7888 or visiting our website! At ABA Centers of New Jersey, we are here to support your child’s developmental and wellness journey, no matter the season.

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