art activities for autistic childrenI had to make up a name for today’s project. I am calling it “Doodle Squares.” It doesn’t have a great ring to it, but that’s essentially what we are doing. I came up with this idea after discovering how calm my children were if they were given a chance to color or draw.  It’s not surprising, really. There’s a reason that coloring books are all the rage right now.  This is so much more fun, though, because you get to create your art and then color it!  The bonus is that it’s also much more economical than buying several coloring books, and you can do it anywhere.

 art activities for autistic childrenHere’s what you will need for this project:

—Dark marker or pen.
—Great music.

That’s a terribly short list, isn’t it? You can see why this project is so inexpensive. I used the paper from my mix media tablet.  You can use any blank paper you like. The dark markers we used were Sharpies. My family has a deep love for Sharpies. I have to lock them away to keep them safe! So bringing them out for this project was a delightful surprise for them. Your music can be whatever you like. I really like Pink Floyd when we are trying to be creative. Classical music is another great choice.

 art activities for autistic childrenCut the paper

The first thing you will want to do is cut your paper down to size. This might seem like a silly step, but too much blank page is daunting. Cut your paper into about 3½-inch squares. Mine became 4-inch squares. This is really easy if you have a paper cutter. Even if you don’t, though, it doesn’t take long. I actually let my kids do this part. It was fun to let them do the math and try to get as many squares as possible from each sheet. Coincidentally, this also removed a task from my hands. I may or may not have planned it that way.

The pro art activities for autistic childrencess

Explaining this to everybody takes the longest amount of time. Here’s how you do it. You start from one side of the square and draw a line to another side of the square. The lines can be straight or curved. We had great success with all of those. Essentially what you are doing here is creating a place where you will be able to draw repetitive patterns. It’s fun to have  art activities for autistic childrendifferent areas because then you get to use different patterns in all the areas. This is really easy, people. Everyone can draw lines! My daughter ended up drawing a big triangle and making a “dress” out of it. This is fine. Creation is the point.

The patterns

 art activities for autistic childrenNow that the lines have been drawn, just start with patterns! Any pattern will do. This works best if you have no vision. That was a painful discovery on my part. The children, though, had no problem with it. Their minds were completely relaxed and ready to create. I, however, started out trying too hard. Don’t do that. Just relax and let your creative juices flow.

 art activities for autistic childrenI decided to try something like this because I have a child with autism. Finding activities that calm him and keep him focused is a quest that I will be on forever. This one was perfect for him and for everyone else. It turns out that being in your own mind is a great place to be. It’s very tranquil once you get comfortable.

The only caution I would give is to keep track of those markers. There is a small chance that your children will try to color their bodies if you aren’t paying attention. I was able to intervene when I saw this happening. Nobody needs a permanent marker mustache. Nobody.

What’s next

Do as many of these as you like. When you are finished, you can end here. However, the children and I thought it would be fun to save these for coloring later. It’s actually been nice to have something to color that we created.

 art activities for autistic childrenI put the completed squares in a bag that I take virtually everywhere. I know I am not the only mother with a bag like that. It’s filled with colored pencils, crayons, and books. Now it has the great addition of these relaxing doodle squares that we created. I also cut several extra squares for events like doctor appointments, church, long car rides, etc. I’m so excited that we found something simple and relaxing that can be done virtually anywhere. Hopefully you all have a grand time tapping into that free creative part of your mind

Let me know how it went for you in the comments!