Our Mission is to help as many families as possible with individualized supports.

Engaging Holiday Activities for Children with Autism

Engaging Holiday Activities for Children with Autism


It’s not always easy to get your child into the holiday spirit, and that may be even trickier in 2020.  Here are a few ideas your family can do together to start spreading holiday cheer.


Hand Washing:

Even the most resistant hand washers might be motivated to get their hands clean to be ready to participate in unique seasonal activities.  Here is a hand washing graphic you may find helpful while you urge your merry-makers to get their hands germ free!



Baking is a great way to bond with your child, be silly, and have some tasty (and possibly messy) fun! Model the different steps involved in baking (like stirring) and instruct your child to immitate what you are doing by saying, “Do this.” Stirring a spoon in a bowl is a great way to improve fine motor skills!


Decorating Cookies: 

If your child is nervous about new textures or foods, decorating cookies is one way to get them try new foods and flavors. Add chocolate, peppermint candies, frosting, candy buttons, and other items to your cookies. You can just offer a few of each at first to help prevent sugar overload. Talk to your child about the colors they’re using, and if the texture is hard or soft.


Setting the Table:

Setting the table is one way to get your child to practice a matching-to-sample skill. Print out this handy template we created for them practice with. Then, when it’s “showtime” they’ll be able to help you set the table.


Decorating Holiday Cards:

Have your child decorate cards (or the envelopes) for families and friends using crayons and holiday-themed stickers.  Practical and meaningful!


Holiday Binoculars:

Toilet paper has been a valuable commodity this year.  Capitalize on your TP stash by using 2 toilet paper rolls taped together to make Holiday Binoculars! These can be decorated with stickers, markers, paint, colored paper or crayons. They can be used to search for signs of winter or the symbols of any holiday you or your neighbors are observing.


Holiday PJs and Movie Night:

A super easy activity! Grab some jammies, snacks, and pull up your favorite holiday movie to get into the spirit. Use a picture schedule or a first/then board so your child knows what to expect.


Handmade Ornaments

You may not be able to see all your loved ones this year in person, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out your hand to them.  Hand ornaments can be made to hang on trees, garlands, as gift tags, or as gifts themselves for any seasonal holiday.  Here are two fun ornament ideas:

1. Help your child make handprint ornaments using paint, paper, a laminator, hole punch and string. Paint their hands and press onto paper and let dry. If you don’t have paint or it is too scary, trace around your child’s hand on the paper and have them color it in. Once you have your handprint, cut it out and laminate it.   Punch a hole and use string or a pipe-cleaner as a hanger.

2. Use the recipe below to make salt dough.  Roll a ball of dough and flatten into a circular shape about half an inch thick.  Press your child’s hand into the dough to leave an imprint.   Use a straw to punch a hole in the ornament, bake, and string! 

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup table salt
  • 1 ½ cups of water
  • Bake at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours.


Whether you are closing out 2020 with holiday celebrations or just with joy that this crazy year is nearly done, we at Arizona Autism United are grateful to be part of your team.  Happy Holidays!

Back to Blog
Having trouble getting the help, support, and funding you need? We can help.