5 Activities for Autistic Teens

Discover inclusive recreational activities for autistic teens! From art therapy to outdoor adventures, unleash their potential for fun and inclusion.

Understanding Autism and Recreation

Recreation plays a vital role in the lives of autistic teenagers, providing them with opportunities for growth, learning, and enjoyment. Understanding the importance of recreation and creating inclusive activities are essential steps towards promoting the well-being of autistic teenagers.

The Importance of Recreation for Autistic Teenagers

Recreation is not only a source of fun and entertainment but also a valuable tool for the development of autistic teenagers. Engaging in recreational activities can help them improve their social skills, communication abilities, and overall quality of life.

Participating in recreational activities allows autistic teenagers to explore their interests, build self-esteem, and develop a sense of independence. It provides them with a safe space to express themselves and connect with others who share similar experiences. Additionally, recreation can help reduce stress and anxiety, promoting better mental health.

By engaging in activities tailored to their needs and preferences, autistic teenagers can experience a sense of accomplishment and joy. It allows them to discover and nurture their talents, fostering personal growth and a positive self-image.

Creating Inclusive Recreational Activities

Creating inclusive recreational activities is vital to ensure that autistic teenagers can fully participate and enjoy the benefits of recreation. Here are some key considerations to make recreational activities more inclusive:

  1. Sensory-Friendly Environment: Many autistic teenagers are sensitive to sensory stimuli. Providing a calm and sensory-friendly environment can help them feel more comfortable and engaged. This may involve reducing noise levels, providing visual supports, and considering lighting and temperature conditions.
  2. Clear Communication: Clear and concise communication is essential when engaging with autistic teenagers. Using visual aids, social stories, and visual schedules can enhance their understanding and participation.
  3. Individualized Accommodations: Recognizing and accommodating the unique needs of each autistic teenager is crucial. This may involve providing additional support, modifying activities, or allowing for breaks when needed.
  4. Peer Support: Encouraging peer support and fostering inclusive social interactions can create a welcoming and supportive environment. Pairing autistic teenagers with neurotypical peers or involving trained volunteers can promote socialization and inclusivity.

By incorporating these elements into recreational activities, autistic teenagers can experience a sense of belonging and fully engage in the joys of recreation.

Understanding the importance of recreation and implementing inclusive practices can transform recreational activities into valuable learning experiences for autistic teenagers. It is through these activities that they can discover their passions, develop social skills, and embrace the joy of being themselves.

Activity 1: Art Therapy

Engaging in art therapy can be a beneficial recreational activity for autistic teenagers. Art therapy provides a creative outlet that allows individuals to express themselves, explore their emotions, and develop important skills. Here, we will discuss the benefits of art therapy for autistic teens and provide tips for engaging in this activity.

Benefits of Art Therapy for Autistic Teens

Art therapy offers various benefits for autistic teenagers, both emotionally and cognitively. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Self-expression and communication: Art therapy provides a non-verbal form of communication, allowing autistic teens to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences through art. This can be especially helpful for individuals who may struggle with verbal communication.
  2. Emotional regulation and stress reduction: Engaging in art can help autistic teens manage their emotions and reduce stress. Through the creative process, individuals can find a sense of calm and relaxation, promoting emotional well-being.
  3. Sensory integration: Many individuals on the autism spectrum have sensory sensitivities. Art activities can help in integrating sensory experiences by providing a controlled and engaging environment where individuals can explore different textures, colors, and materials.
  4. Social interaction and connection: Participating in art therapy sessions can offer opportunities for social interaction. Group-based art therapy allows autistic teens to engage with peers, fostering social connections and a sense of belonging.
  5. Skill development: Art therapy can enhance various skills, including fine motor skills, visual-spatial abilities, and creativity. Engaging in art activities can also promote problem-solving skills and boost self-esteem as individuals see their artistic abilities evolve.

Tips for Engaging in Art Therapy

To make the most of art therapy sessions, consider the following tips:

  1. Create a supportive environment: Set up a comfortable and quiet space where autistic teens can engage in art activities without distractions. Use sensory-friendly materials and consider individual preferences for lighting, noise level, and space.
  2. Offer a variety of art materials: Provide a range of art materials, such as paints, markers, colored pencils, and clay, allowing individuals to explore different mediums and textures. Autistic teens may have preferences for certain materials, so offering choices can enhance engagement.
  3. Encourage self-expression: Art therapy is all about self-expression. Encourage autistic teens to freely express themselves through art, without judgment or expectations. Allow them to choose the subject matter and style that resonates with them.
  4. Provide structure and routines: Individuals on the autism spectrum often thrive with structure and routines. Establish regular art therapy sessions with consistent timing and duration. This can help create a sense of predictability and comfort.
  5. Focus on the process, not just the final product: In art therapy, the process of creating art is just as important as the final product. Encourage autistic teens to enjoy the creative journey, emphasizing self-discovery and personal growth rather than the outcome.

Art therapy is just one of the many recreational activities that can be beneficial for autistic teens. It's important to consider individual interests, strengths, and sensory preferences when selecting activities.

Activity 2: Music Therapy

Music therapy is a powerful and beneficial recreational activity for autistic teenagers. It provides a creative outlet for self-expression and offers numerous therapeutic benefits. Let's explore the benefits of music therapy for autistic teens and provide some tips for engaging in this activity.

Benefits of Music Therapy for Autistic Teens

Music therapy has been shown to have a positive impact on the emotional, cognitive, and social development of autistic teenagers. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Emotional Expression: Music allows autistic teens to express their emotions in a nonverbal way. It provides a safe and supportive environment for them to explore and communicate their feelings.
  2. Improved Communication and Language Skills: Engaging in music therapy can help develop and enhance communication and language skills in autistic teens. Music has a rhythmic structure that aids in building verbal and nonverbal communication abilities.
  3. Sensory Stimulation and Regulation: Music therapy provides sensory stimulation through sound, rhythm, and vibration. It can help regulate sensory processing difficulties often experienced by autistic individuals.
  4. Enhanced Social Skills: Participating in music therapy sessions encourages social interaction and cooperation. It promotes turn-taking, listening, and collaborative skills, fostering social connections among autistic teens.
  5. Boosted Self-esteem and Confidence: The success and accomplishment experienced through music therapy can enhance self-esteem and confidence in autistic teens. It provides a platform for them to showcase their talents and abilities.

Tips for Engaging in Music Therapy

To make the most of music therapy sessions, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Choose the Right Instruments: Provide a variety of musical instruments that cater to different interests and preferences. This allows autistic teens to explore and find the instruments that resonate with them.
  2. Create a Calming Environment: Ensure the music therapy space is calm and comfortable. Minimize distractions and use soft lighting to create a soothing atmosphere that promotes relaxation.
  3. Encourage Active Participation: Encourage autistic teens to actively participate in the music therapy sessions. They can play instruments, sing, dance, or engage in other musical activities based on their comfort level and interests.
  4. Individualize the Approach: Tailor the music therapy activities to meet the specific needs and abilities of each autistic teen. Personalize the experience to ensure maximum engagement and enjoyment.
  5. Incorporate Visual Supports: Visual supports such as visual schedules, cue cards, or lyric sheets can help autistic teens follow along and participate in the music therapy activities more effectively.

Remember, music therapy is a versatile and inclusive activity that can be adapted to suit the unique preferences and needs of autistic teenagers. It provides a platform for self-expression, social interaction, and personal growth.

Activity 3: Outdoor Adventures

Engaging in outdoor adventures can be an enriching and enjoyable experience for autistic teenagers. These activities provide them with opportunities to explore their surroundings, connect with nature, and develop various skills. Outdoor adventures offer unique benefits that contribute to the overall well-being and development of autistic teens.

Benefits of Outdoor Adventures for Autistic Teens

Participating in outdoor adventures can have numerous positive effects on autistic teenagers. Here are some benefits worth considering:

  1. Sensory Stimulation: Outdoor environments offer a rich sensory experience, exposing autistic teens to various sights, sounds, textures, and smells. This exposure can help them develop sensory integration skills and increase their tolerance for different sensory inputs.
  2. Physical Fitness: Engaging in outdoor activities promotes physical fitness and overall well-being. It encourages autistic teenagers to be physically active, improving their coordination, strength, and endurance. Regular physical activity also contributes to better sleep patterns and mood regulation.
  3. Social Interaction: Outdoor adventures provide opportunities for social interaction with peers, family members, or group participants. These interactions can enhance communication skills, teamwork, and the development of social connections. It also allows autistic teens to practice social skills in a natural, relaxed setting.
  4. Reduced Anxiety: The calming effects of nature and outdoor settings can help reduce anxiety levels in autistic teenagers. Being surrounded by natural elements and open spaces can create a soothing environment, promoting relaxation and emotional well-being.
  5. Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: Outdoor adventures often involve overcoming challenges and solving problems. Autistic teens can develop critical thinking skills and improve their ability to adapt to new situations. These experiences foster resilience, independence, and confidence.

Tips for Engaging in Outdoor Adventures

When planning outdoor adventures for autistic teenagers, it's essential to consider their unique needs and preferences. Here are some tips to ensure a positive and inclusive experience:

  1. Choose Sensory-Friendly Activities: Select activities that align with the sensory preferences of the autistic teen. Consider activities that offer a balance of sensory stimulation and opportunities for quiet, calm moments.
  2. Prepare in Advance: Prepare the teenager for the outdoor adventure by providing them with clear expectations and information about the activity. Use visual supports, social stories, or visual schedules to help them understand what to expect and reduce anxiety.
  3. Consider Safety Measures: Prioritize safety by ensuring appropriate supervision, using appropriate safety gear, and choosing activities that match the individual's abilities. Make sure to assess the accessibility and potential sensory challenges of the chosen outdoor location.
  4. Provide Breaks and Support: Allow for breaks and downtime during the adventure to prevent sensory overload and fatigue. Offer support when needed, whether it's providing reassurance, offering a quiet space, or adapting activities to accommodate individual needs.
  5. Encourage Self-Expression: Outdoor adventures provide opportunities for self-expression and creativity. Encourage the autistic teen to express themselves through art, photography, or journaling during the adventure. This allows them to capture and reflect on their experience.

Outdoor adventures offer a wide range of possibilities for autistic teenagers to explore, learn, and have fun. It's important to remember that each individual is unique, and their preferences may vary. By considering their needs, interests, and abilities, you can create an inclusive and rewarding outdoor experience for autistic teens.

Activity 4: Sports and Team Games

Engaging in sports and team games can offer numerous benefits for autistic teenagers. Not only do these activities promote physical health and fitness, but they also provide opportunities for social interaction, skill development, and a sense of belonging. Here, we explore the benefits of sports and team games for autistic teenagers and provide tips for their successful engagement.

Benefits of Sports and Team Games for Autistic Teens

Participating in sports and team games can have a positive impact on various aspects of an autistic teenager's life. Some of the key benefits include:

  1. Physical Fitness: Sports and team games encourage regular physical activity, which contributes to overall fitness and well-being. Engaging in these activities helps develop motor skills, coordination, and strength.
  2. Social Interaction: Team sports provide opportunities for autistic teenagers to interact with peers in a structured and supportive environment. This fosters social skills, communication, and the ability to work collaboratively towards a common goal.
  3. Self-Confidence: Achieving personal goals and experiencing success in sports and team games can boost self-confidence and self-esteem. Autistic teenagers can gain a sense of accomplishment, leading to improved self-belief and a positive self-image.
  4. Stress Relief: Sports and team games serve as a healthy outlet for stress and anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can help reduce tension and improve mood, promoting overall emotional well-being.

Tips for Engaging in Sports and Team Games

When participating in sports and team games, autistic teenagers may benefit from certain strategies that promote their inclusion and enjoyment. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Choose Sensory-Friendly Activities: Opt for sports and team games that are sensory-friendly and tailored to individual preferences. Consider activities that are less overwhelming in terms of noise, crowds, and sensory stimulation.
  2. Focus on Individual Development: Emphasize skill development and personal growth rather than solely focusing on competition and winning. Encourage autistic teenagers to set personal goals and celebrate their progress and achievements.
  3. Provide Clear Instructions and Visual Supports: Use clear, concise, and visual instructions to enhance understanding. Visual schedules, cue cards, and diagrams can help autistic teenagers navigate the rules and expectations of the game.
  4. Create a Supportive Environment: Foster a supportive and inclusive environment by educating coaches, teammates, and officials about autism and its unique characteristics. Encourage empathy, patience, and understanding among team members.
  5. Offer Breaks and Modifications: Allow for breaks and modifications as needed. Autistic teenagers may require additional rest periods or adjustments to accommodate sensory sensitivities or attention span. Flexibility is key to ensuring their comfort and enjoyment.

By incorporating sports and team games into the lives of autistic teenagers, we can promote their physical, social, and emotional well-being. Remember, it's essential to choose activities that align with individual interests and preferences.

Activity 5: Social Clubs and Group Activities

Engaging in social clubs and group activities can provide numerous benefits for autistic teenagers. These activities create opportunities for social interaction, skill development, and a sense of belonging. Here, we explore the benefits of social clubs and group activities for autistic teens and provide tips for making the most out of these experiences.

Benefits of Social Clubs and Group Activities for Autistic Teens

Participating in social clubs and group activities offers several advantages for autistic teenagers:

  1. Social Interaction: Social clubs and group activities provide a structured environment for autistic teens to practice social skills and build relationships with peers who share similar interests. These interactions can enhance their communication abilities and improve social confidence.
  2. Sense of Belonging: Joining a social club or participating in group activities can create a sense of belonging and acceptance. Autistic teens can connect with others who understand and appreciate their unique experiences, fostering a supportive community.
  3. Skill Development: Social clubs and group activities often offer opportunities for learning new skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. Engaging in these activities can help autistic teens develop and refine these skills in a supportive and inclusive environment.
  4. Self-Expression: Social clubs that focus on specific interests or hobbies allow autistic teens to express themselves freely. This self-expression can boost their self-esteem and provide an outlet for creativity and personal growth.

Tips for Engaging in Social Clubs and Group Activities

To make the most of social clubs and group activities, consider the following tips:

  1. Choose the Right Club or Activity: Look for social clubs or group activities that align with the interests and preferences of the autistic teenager. This increases the likelihood of enjoyment and engagement. Consider activities like art, music, sports, or special interest clubs.
  2. Create a Sensory-Friendly Environment: Sensory-friendly considerations are crucial for autistic teens. Ensure that the chosen club or activity accommodates sensory needs, such as noise levels, lighting, and crowded spaces.
  3. Establish a Routine: Autistic teens often benefit from routines and predictability. Establishing a regular schedule for social club meetings or group activities can provide a sense of structure and reduce anxiety. Clear communication about schedules and expectations can also be beneficial.
  4. Encourage Communication: Encourage autistic teens to communicate their thoughts, preferences, and concerns with club leaders or activity organizers. Open lines of communication foster understanding and allow for necessary accommodations to be made.
  5. Promote Positive Social Interactions: Support the development of social skills by encouraging respectful and inclusive behavior within the social club or group activity. Emphasize the importance of empathy, patience, and understanding.

By actively participating in social clubs and group activities, autistic teenagers can enrich their lives, develop new skills, and build meaningful connections with others. These activities provide a platform for personal growth and promote a sense of inclusion and acceptance within the community.


Outdoor adventures, sports and team games, and social clubs and group activities are all excellent ways for autistic teenagers to explore their surroundings, develop new skills, connect with others, and enhance their overall well-being. By providing opportunities for sensory stimulation, physical fitness, social interaction, reduced anxiety, enhanced problem-solving skills, sense of belonging and self-expression, these activities can help autistic teens thrive in various aspects of their lives.

However, it's important to remember that each individual is unique and has different needs and preferences. When planning these activities for autistic teenagers, it's crucial to consider their specific requirements to ensure a positive experience. By creating an inclusive environment that accommodates individual differences and celebrates diversity within the community, we can help autistic teens reach their full potential.

In conclusion, outdoor adventures, sports and team games, and social clubs and group activities offer numerous benefits for autistic teenagers. These activities provide a platform for personal growth while promoting inclusion and acceptance within the community. With the right support system in place that considers individual needs, interests and abilities of each person on the spectrum; we can help them lead fulfilling lives.