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Top 100 art therapy ideas for kids with autism

Updated: 6 days ago

Top 100 art therapy ideas for kids with autism

Author; Samantha Badrock

Published: November 11 2023

Embarking on a creative journey with individuals on the autism spectrum opens up a world of infinite possibilities.

Art therapy, with its unique ability to transcend verbal communication, becomes a powerful tool for self-expression, exploration, and connection. In this curated list, we present 100 art therapy activities designed specifically for children with autism.

Each activity is a doorway into a vibrant realm of colors, textures, and imaginative play, tailored to embrace the diverse needs and preferences of these incredible individuals.

From sensory-rich experiences to collaborative projects, this collection aims to foster creativity, build confidence, and create an inclusive space where every brushstroke, every texture, and every moment becomes a unique form of self-expression and communication.

Let's get started!

art therapy ideas for kids with autism

1. **Collage Creation:**

- Use magazines, newspapers, and colored paper to create collages.

2. **Sensory Painting:**

- Explore different textures with hands or brushes and various paints.

3. **Bubble Wrap Stomp:**

- Step on bubble wrap coated with paint to create textured prints.

4. **Nature Prints:**

- Collect leaves, flowers, or twigs to make prints with paint.

5. **String Art:**

- Wrap string around nails on a board to create dynamic patterns.

6. **Tissue Paper Flowers:**

- Create colorful flowers using tissue paper and pipe cleaners.

7. **Clay Sculpting:**

- Explore sculpting with different types of clay.

8. **Sand Art:**

- Layer colored sand in bottles to create visually appealing designs.

9. **Paper Plate Masks:**

- Decorate paper plates to make fun masks.

10. **Finger Puppet Making:**

- Craft puppets using fingers and simple materials.

11. **Shaving Cream Sensory Play:**

- Use shaving cream for a sensory-rich art experience.

12. **Sock Puppets:**

- Transform old socks into expressive puppets.

13. **Potato Stamps:**

- Carve designs into halved potatoes and use them as stamps.

14. **Watercolor Resist:**

- Use oil pastels to create resist patterns for watercolor painting.

15. **Mirror Drawings:**

- Draw on one side of a mirror and observe the reflection.

16. **Beaded Bracelets:**

- String beads to make colorful bracelets.

17. **Glow-in-the-Dark Painting:**

- Use glow-in-the-dark paint for a magical experience.

18. **Sock Dyeing:**

- Create tie-dye effects on white socks.

19. **Collaborative Murals:**

- Work together on a large-scale mural.

20. **Leaf Rubbings:**

- Place leaves under paper and rub over them with crayons.

21. **Texture Rubbings:**

- Explore different textures by making rubbings with crayons.

22. **Paper Mache Creations:**

- Craft with paper mache to make 3D objects.

23. **Button Art:**

- Create pictures using colorful buttons.

24. **Paper Bag Puppets:**

- Decorate paper bags to make puppets.

25. **Feather Painting:**

- Paint with feathers for a unique texture.

26. **Crayon Resist:**

- Draw with crayons and paint over with watercolors.

27. **Sticker Collage:**

- Create pictures using various stickers.

28. **Playdough Exploration:**

- Mold and shape playdough in different ways.

29. **Fabric Collage:**

- Cut and glue fabric pieces to create collages.

30. **Recycled Art Sculptures:**

- Use recycled materials to build sculptures.

31. **Edible Art:**

- Create art with edible materials like fruits and vegetables.

32. **Texture Boards:**

- Glue different textured materials to boards for exploration.

33. **Melted Crayon Art:**

- Melt crayons on canvas for a vibrant effect.

34. **Nature Collage:**

- Collect and arrange natural materials into collages.

35. **Sponge Painting:**

- Use sponges to create unique paintings.

36. **Yarn Wrapping:**

- Wrap yarn around objects for colorful patterns.

37. **Foam Stamps:**

- Create stamps using foam shapes and paint.

38. **Pasta Art:**

- Glue pasta shapes onto paper to make art.

39. **Sandpaper Art:**

- Draw on sandpaper for a tactile experience.

40. **Drip Painting:**

- Drip paint onto paper and observe the patterns.

41. **Straw Blown Art:**

- Drop paint onto paper and blow through a straw for movement.

42. **Tape Resist Art:**

- Create patterns with tape and paint over it.

43. **Therapeutic Drawing:**

- Use drawing as a way to express feelings.

44. **Rain Stick Craft:**

- Make rain sticks using cardboard tubes and rice.

45. **Texture Collage:**

- Glue textured materials onto paper for a sensory collage.

46. **Recycled Magazine Art:**

- Cut and arrange pictures from magazines.

47. **Nature Weaving:**

- Weave natural materials into a small loom.

48. **Balloon Printing:**

- Dip balloons in paint and press onto paper.

49. **Felt Art:**

- Cut and arrange felt pieces into art.

50. **Colorful Rice Art:**

- Dye rice with food coloring and use it for art projects.

51. **Egg Carton Creations:**

- Transform egg cartons into art.

52. **Torn Paper Collage:**

- Tear and glue colored paper to create collages.

53. **Bottle Cap Stamps:**

- Use bottle caps as stamps with paint.

54. **Puzzle

Piece Art:**

- Glue puzzle pieces onto paper for a textured effect.

55. **Nature Stamps:**

- Use leaves or flowers as stamps with ink or paint.

56. **Finger Painting:**

- Embrace the tactile experience of finger painting.

57. **Cotton Ball Painting:**

- Dip cotton balls in paint and stamp onto paper.

58. **Cardboard Sculptures:**

- Build sculptures using cardboard and glue.

59. **Salt Dough Creations:**

- Craft with salt dough and paint the finished product.

60. **Stencils and Spray Bottles:**

- Use stencils and spray bottles with watercolors.

61. **Cotton Swab Painting:**

- Create detailed art using cotton swabs.

62. **Nature Mandalas:**

- Arrange natural materials into mandala patterns.

63. **Sponge Water Bombs:**

- Dip sponges in paint and throw onto paper for a messy, fun effect.

64. **Leaf People Craft:**

- Use leaves to create people or characters.

65. **Emotion Collage:**

- Create collages expressing different emotions.

66. **Tape Art:**

- Use painter's tape to create geometric patterns before painting.

67. **Rock Painting:**

- Decorate rocks with paint or markers.

68. **Therapeutic Scribbling:**

- Allow free-form scribbling as a therapeutic exercise.

69. **Sticker Mosaics:**

- Create mosaics using colorful stickers.

70. **Paper Bag Monsters:**

- Decorate paper bags as silly monsters.

71. **Chalk Art:**

- Use chalk on sidewalks or black paper for vibrant drawings.

72. **Marble Painting:**

- Roll marbles in paint on paper for unique patterns.

73. **Leaf Rubbing Wind Chimes:**

- Combine leaf rubbings with a DIY wind chime.

74. **Cardboard Tube Art:**

- Cut and shape cardboard tubes into art.

75. **Mirror Symmetry Art:**

- Create symmetrical art on one side of a folded paper.

76. **Nature Dyeing:**

- Use natural materials to dye paper or fabric.

77. **Therapeutic Collage:**

- Craft collages representing personal goals or aspirations.

78. **Origami Animals:**

- Learn and create origami animals.

79. **Dollhouse Craft:**

- Decorate and personalize a dollhouse.

80. **Sun Catchers:**

- Craft sun catchers using transparent materials.

81. **Shoebox Diorama:**

- Create miniature scenes inside shoeboxes.

82. **Stained Glass Art:**

- Use black paper and colored tissue paper for a stained glass effect.

83. **Tissue Paper Stained Glass:**

- Cut and arrange colored tissue paper on contact paper.

84. **Personalized T-Shirts:**

- Decorate plain T-shirts with fabric paint or markers.

85. **Mosaic Art:**

- Create mosaics using small, colored pieces.

86. **Crayon Etching:**

- Scratch designs into crayon-coated paper.

87. **DIY Kaleidoscope:**

- Craft your own kaleidoscope with simple materials.

88. **Collaborative Thumbprint Tree:**

- Add thumbprints to a tree trunk for a collaborative project.

89. **Felt Board Storytelling:**

- Create felt characters and scenes for storytelling.

90. **Pine Cone Painting:**

- Dip pine cones in paint and roll them on paper.

91. **Musical Instrument Craft:**

- Make simple musical instruments with household items.

92. **Sand Art Bottles:**

- Layer colored sand in clear bottles.

93. **Felt Storyboards:**

- Craft felt scenes for interactive storytelling.

94. **Feathered Friends Craft:**

- Create birds or animals using feathers.

95. **Personalized Storybooks:**

- Illustrate and craft a personalized storybook.

96. **Shadow Drawings:**

- Trace and embellish shadows cast by objects.

97. **Color Mixing Experiments:**

- Explore color mixing with paint or colored water.

98. **Jewelry Making:**

- Craft bracelets or necklaces using beads.

99. **Garden Rock Markers:**

- Paint rocks to use as markers in the garden.

100. **DIY Puzzle Craft:**

- Turn artwork into a puzzle for a fun and interactive experience.

Feel free to mix and match these activities based on each child's preferences and developmental levels. Always prioritize creating a supportive and enjoyable environment, emphasizing the process over the final product.

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