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Building Social Skills: Fun Activities for Playdates


Playdates can be a fantastic way for children with autism to develop social skills. However, navigating unfamiliar social situations can be overwhelming. Let's explore some fun and engaging playdate activities that promote social interaction in a comfortable and stress-free way.

Embrace Shared Interests:

The key to a successful playdate is finding common ground. Beforehand, chat with the other parent and discover shared interests between the children. This creates a natural starting point for interaction and reduces anxiety.

Here are some activity ideas based on shared interests:

  • Themed Playdates:  Do your children love dinosaurs? Organize a dinosaur dig in the sandbox, complete with toy dinosaurs and plastic "fossils."

  • Creative Collaboration:  Do both children enjoy art? Set up a joint art project, like building a giant spaceship out of cardboard boxes or painting a collaborative mural.

  • Board Games with a Twist: Choose cooperative board games where children work together towards a common goal. This fosters communication and teamwork.

Structured Activities with a Social Spin:

Structured activities can provide a framework for interaction. Here are some ideas with a social twist:

  • Building Challenges:  Set a timer and challenge the children to build the tallest tower using blocks. This encourages teamwork and communication.

  • Interactive Storytelling:  Start a story together, taking turns adding sentences. This promotes turn-taking and creative thinking.

  • Scavenger Hunt:  Create a scavenger hunt around the house or backyard with clues that require collaboration to solve. This fosters problem-solving and communication skills.

Embrace Sensory Play:

Many children with autism find comfort and enjoyment in sensory activities. Here are some ideas that can also promote social interaction:

  • Sensory Playdate Kit:  Prepare a sensory bin with calming materials like rice or beans. Add small toys to hide and find, encouraging turn-taking and conversation.

  • Bubbles Galore:  Bubbles are a universally loved activity. Blowing bubbles together encourages interaction and laughter.

  • Play-Doh Pals:  Set up a Play-Doh station and encourage collaborative creations. This can lead to imaginative storytelling and communication.


  • Keep it Short and Sweet:  Start with shorter playdates to avoid overwhelming your child.

  • Prepare a Safe Space:  Designate a quiet area in your home where your child can retreat if needed.

  • Focus on Fun:  The most important thing is for everyone to enjoy themselves! Let the fun take precedence over rigid social expectations.

By creating a welcoming environment and incorporating these engaging activities, you can turn playdates into valuable opportunities for your child to develop their social skills and build lasting friendships.

At LEAP Autism Therapy, we incorporate building social skills in our programs. If you are interested in learning more about LEAP Autism Therapy, visit our website for lots of information.

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