This blog post is sponsored by KiwiCo.
Finding activities to do with our two children with autism can be a real challenge.
My youngest son, Jude, is 7 years old. Jude is diagnosed with Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder. He’s a creative little boy who loves math, video games, and art. He can talk for hours on end about his favorite things and loves being around people. My oldest son, Charlie, is 9 years old and was diagnosed with Level 3 (severe) autism when he was 22 months old. Charlie is a happy child who loves sensory play and physical activities.
Charlie shows little interest in the things typical nine-year-olds enjoy, so we have to be creative. Charlie is delayed in all areas of development — he’s nonverbal and communicates only basic needs with a specialized iPad app. However, communication is not his only struggle. Charlie’s also significantly behind in his fine motor, gross motor, and cognitive development.
We’ve been working really hard on fine motor skills because this is the foundation for sign language. Without these skills, Charlie can’t learn ASL, so that’s a big focus of ours.
I’ve had a subscription to KiwiCo for a couple of years because their crates have something for both Jude and Charlie.
You can use my link to get your first month free.
KiwiCo and autism: From fine motor skills to understanding cause and effect
Charlie used to receive occupational therapy (OT) weekly until his therapy center got rid of its speech & OT department earlier this year. We haven’t found a new place yet that can collaborate with his ABA therapy, so we’ve been on our own since then.
For Charlie, KiwiCo crates have been great for fine motor development and hand-eye coordination. And something I love is seeing him gain an understanding of a cause-and-effect element in a kit.
Charlie and I really enjoy spending time together exploring the activities that come inside each KiwiCo crate. Charlie can get distracted or frustrated so I help Charlie stay on task and prompt him so that he successfully builds the project.
Jude loves being in charge, showing Charlie how it’s done. And as you can see, he’s very proud when his big brother finally gets it.
Improving self-confidence and problem-solving skills
My other son Jude is 7 and diagnosed with Level 1, high-functioning autism. He has no issues with fine motor skills, but he struggles with patience and confidence. He gets frustrated when he doesn’t know how to do something right away.
KiwiCo crates motivate him to keep trying and work on problem-solving. But most importantly, with each completed crate, his self-confidence goes up. I stay close by when he’s working on his crates — far enough to give him space to figure it out on his own, but close enough to offer encouragement and help if he needs it.
Jude’s been excitedly opening packages from KiwiCo since he was just three. His first crate was a Panda crate for making a felt butterfly. Jude has always loved butterflies, so it was a hit. Recently, Jude’s been into the solar system and outer space, so he was ecstatic when he got to build a little device that orbited the earth around the sun.
The projects have grown with Jude over the years, with enough variety and skill levels to stay interesting. KiwiCo has 9 different lines covering all age, skill groups, and themes. If your kiddo has a special interest, you’ll most likely find a KiwiCo crate that fits their taste, in science, cooking, geography, art, and more.
If you don’t want to get a subscription right off the bat, you can purchase gifts and individual projects at the KiwiCo Store. It’s a great way to try out their activities.
5 KiwiCo crates and activities for parents of autistic children:
Here are some of our favorite KiwiCo activities and crates. Keep in mind that these are recommendations based on Charlie and Jude’s skills and interests. All children with autism are different so your mileage may vary. I’m sure you’ll find something they love, though, if you browse the KiwiCo store.
1- Armadillo Bowling Set: Great for gross motor skills, learning cause and effect, and exploring textures.
2- Giant Bubbles: Charlie’s first-word approximation after his speech regression was “bubble.” These giant bubbles are so fun and so motivating!
3- Environmental Science: Oil Cleanup: Great for sensory play while introducing kids to big things happening in the world around them.
4- Panda Crate: This will depend on your kiddo’s skills and interest — I’ve found this line to be perfect for Charlie. Their activities are designed for younger kids so they’re more accessible to his skill level. Get 50% off your 1st Panda Crate delivery with code ELP50.
5- Colorful Chemistry: This one is so much fun. Great for kiddos who are into science, sensory play, colors, and experiments. Both Charlie and Jude loved it!
Why I love KiwiCo crates for my autistic kiddos
If you’re looking for fun activities to do with your autistic kiddos, I can’t recommend KiwiCo enough.
As a parent, I love them because my kids learn while having fun. I also love that I don’t have to spend time worrying about gathering materials and coming up with those fun activities myself. KiwiCo crates get delivered to my doorstep and are ready to go with easy instructions.
I’d love to know if anyone else has tried KiwiCo for their child with autism. If you have, what was their favorite activity/crate?
If you haven’t, use my link to get your first month free: http://www.kiwico.com/autismcafe