Christmas Crafts You Can Try with Your Autistic Child

By sandra.caplesc…, 22 November, 2022
A picture of craft tools on a table.

As the song goes, Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It means bright and colorful lights all over the city, delicious smells, many whimsical decorations, getting presents from Santa, or taking the time to decorate the Christmas tree together…

…and a potential nightmare for autistic children. Sensory processing disorder in autistic children is common, making them susceptible to loud sounds, strong smells, different textures, or crowded places. All of these things we think are wonderful, people with autism spectrum disorder might find anxiety-inducing.

Here are some Tips for Having an Autism-Friendly Christmas.

So, to make this holiday more bearable, you might want to consider staying at home this year—and minimize the festivities. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate, but maybe keep it low with some Christmas crafts.

Crafting fun crafts is a nice way to keep your kids entertained and busy during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. They also work on their fine motor skills while creating adorable Christmas crafts you can hang around the house as decorations.

This article will show off ideas you can try to make something beautiful with your kids—along with some wonderful memories.

Christmas Crafts You Can Try

Fake Snow

Maybe your child doesn’t enjoy the snow or staying out in the cold, so why not bring the snow inside? Learn how to make snow with two ingredients: cornflour and conditioner. Add it to a sensory bin to create a Christmas picture with polar animal figurines.

Santa Beard Christmas Countdown

You won’t need much for this Christmas craft, only:

This craft is perfect for kids who love counting the days until Christmas in December. The Santa beard craft will keep your child excited for Christmas all month long—plus, it’s an easy and fun activity.

Clothespin Snowman

If you have many clothespins lying around, then you might want to turn them into something cute. This clothespin snowman craft will look good anywhere and everywhere and can hold notes, tags—or whatever you like.

All you need is a bunch of wooden clothespins, some colored yarn, and paintbrushes.

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are a staple of Christmas for some families. It’s an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and family during a busy holiday season. It’s easy to craft some Christmas cards, and you can add whatever you like to make it unique—and filled with love.

Grinch Calming Jar

Since Christmas might be too much for children with sensory processing issues, these Grinch calming jars are a great way to calm down any stressed and anxious person. They are also fun and easy to make, designed with glitter, water, and a few simple ingredients.

Warning: it might get a little messy.

Felt Christmas Tree

This craft is accessible to children with visual impairments. Felt is a tactile Christmas craft you can quickly put together and take apart—which some children might like to touch. Use felt sheets and some felt shapes to make cute ornaments to hang on the tree.

Christmas Tree Slime

Slime can be your child’s favorite toy—plus, it’s simple to whip up together with grocery store-bought ingredients. Or you can buy premade slime.

This Christmas, decorate your own slime tree with confetti, glitter, tiny plastic ornaments, beads, or pompons.

If you don’t want to make a slime Christmas tree, you can try this Santa slime recipe that can be a fun gift idea.

Gingerbread Playdough

This no-cook gingerbread playdough recipe will add a smell to your house. The result will feel soft and smooth—add some festive shapes or other ornaments for hours and hours of play. Add googly eyes or buttons; let it to your child’s imagination.

Fireplace Ornament

For this craft, you need the following:

  • String
  • Glue
  • 10 craft sticks
  • Green and brown pipe cleaners
  • Craft foam, felt, or paper

This craft is recommended for children over the age of 5 since the craft takes a bit of time to glue them together correctly. Your child needs to be patient—or you can help him to finish this gorgeous craft.

Sponge-Painted Christmas Lights

These lights are easy to make—and look simply beautiful. All you need is a kitchen sponge, scissors, plain white paper, black construction paper, and washable markers. Sprinkle some glitter on them while the paint is still wet to make them twinkle; your child can make the lights come to life with their imagination.

Melted Snowman

Christmas (or the whole winter season) is not complete without a snowman. To make a snowman at home, you can make this melted snowman. Be careful; this might get a bit messy. What you need is:

Your little one won’t resist the satisfyingly big and fluffy mountain of foam—plus, your child will get fine motor activity. Add buttons, googly eyes, and ping pong balls in the shaving foam, and let your little one build the snowman back.

Tips for a Sensory-Friendly Christmas

When it comes to decorations, it’s always best to choose sensory-friendly options. Home decorations are usually more tolerated than store-bought ones, depending on your child’s preferences. Not all children with autism experience symptoms the same, so while some tolerate decorations, others don’t.

Find the most suitable decorations for your home and places to put them. You can let your child choose the decorations, making him more involved in the holiday. In addition, you don’t need to decorate the whole house. Let your child have a room where they can go to relax when overwhelmed. Another idea is to decorate your house gradually—and let your children participate in the activity. There’s no hurry; this way, your child will get used to the Christmas tree's presence in the living room.

At the end of the day, it's important to create your own holiday, the way you like it, filled with traditions that work for your family.