Games and Activities for Preschool Children With Autism

Updated on January 3, 2020
Sehar Nadeem profile image

I am a housewife and mother who enjoys reading, writing and cooking gluten-free recipes. My interests include ASD and parenting.

Help your kids learn through play by trying out these games and activities at home. These ideas are designed for preschoolers.
Help your kids learn through play by trying out these games and activities at home. These ideas are designed for preschoolers. | Source

You don't have to buy tons of special-needs toys and equipment to engage your preschooler with autism in fun and educational play. As the ideas below demonstrate, you can create many activities at home by using ordinary house stuff and inexpensive supplies.

5 Activity Ideas for Kids With ASD

  1. The Shoebox Game
  2. The Alphabet Letter Lacing Game
  3. Connect 4
  4. Colouring
  5. Finger Painting

You can use a shoebox and have your child drop in flashcards or other objects.
You can use a shoebox and have your child drop in flashcards or other objects. | Source

1. The Shoebox Game

This game helps with speech and works for almost all kids. It might even yield positive results in less than a week, if you do it consistently.


  • 1 shoebox
  • Scissors
  • Flashcards and/or family photos
  • Other items to place in the box, like coloured pencils or spoons

You need a shoebox (or any other box). To prepare the box, use the scissors to make a long cut in the lid. If you only want to put cards and photos in the box, then a thin cut is enough. However, if you would like to have your child place coloured pencils, chunky crayons or other large items like spoons in the box, you will need to make a wider cut, like mine shown in the picture above.

How to Play

  1. Gather the items you want to place in the box.
  2. Start the game by sitting across from your child with the box on a table between you.
  3. Bring a flashcard up near your mouth and say the flashcard's name at least 3 times. (With coloured pencils or crayons, say the colour name.) Hand the card to your child when they look at your mouth and watch your lips moving.
  4. Ask the child to put the card in the box. Reward your child each time they place an item in the box; you can use snacks or anything else they like as a reward.
  5. As you continue playing, increase the time between rewards: Give the child a reward after every three items instead.
  6. Celebrate playing this game with your child by giving them a high-five!

The supplies for the alphabet letter lacing game.
The supplies for the alphabet letter lacing game. | Source

2. The Alphabet Letter Lacing Game

This game is good for children who have trouble sitting still and paying attention.


  • Alphabet letters with holes in them for lacing
  • Shoelace or other string

How to Play

  1. Sit across from your child and ask them to sit facing you.
  2. Give your child the letters of the alphabet in order, starting with "A." Alternately, if your child is older, you can give them letters that spell out a word or words—the name of their favourite animal, for example, or the words "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Birthday" if it's near a special day.
  3. Have your child lace the letter on the string.
  4. Reward your child in between lacing the letters, or let them play after lacing 1 or 2 letters, then call them again and repeat the activity.

It really depends on your child's mood and behaviour if they want to complete the activity in one go or if they need motivation and reinforcement in between. I am sure you both will enjoy the activity, and it will help build a stronger bond between you and your child.

Playing Connect 4.
Playing Connect 4. | Source

3. Connect 4

This is a useful store-bought game for teaching your child how to take turns and how to wait for their turn patiently. At the start, it could be little difficult as your child may want to quickly drop in all of their pieces themselves! But, slowly, they will learn to let you take a turn.

I found this to be an interesting and engaging game; I hope you will enjoy it. It's also a great way to spend quality time with your child.

Colouring is always a great activity. This book has a snowman to colour.
Colouring is always a great activity. This book has a snowman to colour. | Source

4. Colouring

Colouring is great fun for all kids, and it can help children learn the colour names and practice holding a pencil. Buy a few inexpensive colouring books to have on hand any time your child needs to keep occupied.


  • Various art materials (colouring pencils, crayons, pens, markers)
  • Colouring books

Let your child explore different types of art materials, including pencils, markers, crayons and more. Help them to colour if they have trouble holding a pencil. Believe me, if you do this regularly, they will learn to colour by themselves over time.

Finger painting materials.
Finger painting materials. | Source

5. Finger Painting

Finger painting is good for kids who have sensory issues. Many children with autism are sensory seekers as well.


  • Paints (non-toxic and washable)
  • Paper
  • Plastic sheet to protect the table

Let your child paint with their fingers. You can also guide them to make their handprint on the paper. Don't forget to put a plastic sheet underneath before starting this messy activity!

Join Your Child in These Activities

Last but not least, always accompany your child while they do these activities. Life is very busy, but our children need our time. To help you plan your day, make a chart and spend at least 15 minutes with your child every 2 hours. Even if they are doing silly things, do those silly things with them! Lay with them and jump on the bed, have pillow fights, make funny faces and do all sorts of activities that your child loves. They will slowly start to feel your presence and enjoy it.

Every child is different, but they all are sensitive and have feelings, even if they struggle to express those feelings. Help them express themselves. There's nothing else they really want—just your time, your smile and your love.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • mcgreg28 profile image

      Nicky Fuller 

      6 months ago from Florida, USA

      Thank yor for these techniques. I absolutely love them. I will definitely try the show box and lacing the alphabets. My son has ASD. We do the flash cards but i think puttimg them into a box will be more engaging. He has a hard time just sitting there identifying the cards. He is very active. The lacing the alphabet would also be great for his fine motor skills. Thanks


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)