Summer Activity Suggestions
- Plant flowers or vegetables in your garden: Grandchildren will gain a sense of responsibility as they care for and water their plants.
- Cook together: Follow a recipe that your grandchild enjoys! Go here for some “grandkid approved recipes.”
- Visit the library: Check out your local library. Enroll your grandchild in a library membership. Locate books and colorful magazines that cater to their special interests while having some quiet time. Choose some books to read together at home. Many libraries have storytelling times that might also be appropriate for you and your grandchild to attend.
- Visit a gym: Exercise together.
- Go on a picnic: Pack a lunch or dinner and enjoy a picnic at your local park or even in your backyard.
- Take a walk or ride bikes to a local park
- Visit a local aquarium, museum, zoo or another local attraction.
- Shop together for a simple craft or hobby you can share together at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or search online for one.
- Enroll your grandchild in a swim class for special needs individuals and encourage their progress.
- Horseback riding can calm those with autism. Check out local riding schools or programs for therapeutic horseback riding.
Find additional activities HERE
If you do not have an opportunity to be with your grandchild in-person, try to stay in touch with Facetime, Zoom, letters, photographs texts, emails or phone calls.
Research online for programs and local summer disability inclusion activities.
Special Needs Summer Camps in California and Other States. Click HERE for a list of camps that accommodate children and adults with disabilities.
These links are for Orange County, California but you can search Google to find local programs in most communities:
If you are traveling with your grandchild, refer to our Summer Tips to plan ahead for safe travel. For security, when you are out together, you can simply pin a note with their identification and your contact information to their clothing. You might also research for a simple tracking device that your grandchild can wear on their wrist or attach inside a pocket or a shoe.
Consider visiting attractions like these that provide special accommodations for families. A letter verifying your grandchild’s diagnosis of autism may be required to qualify for them. Call ahead to learn how best to plan for a visit (food available, recommended attractions, rest areas).
- LEGOLAND Resorts: All LEGOLAND Resorts within North America are now certified autism centers. The resorts are fully prepared to help families create a fun and exciting trip with their sensory guides and specialized training.
- Sesame Place San Diego and Philadelphia: These are Certified Autism Centers. offering sensory guides, quiet rooms, and noise-canceling headphones.
- SeaWorld San Diego: At SeaWorld San Diego you can enroll in the Guest Accessibility program, in which you will receive a Ride Accessibility Program sheet. The sheet allows one to book a specific time for attractions and rides.
- Balboa Park Museums San Diego: The Balboa Park, Museum of Us, San Diego Museum of Art, and the Museum of Photographic Arts offers Social Stories that families can download beforehand. These visual previews cater to high-functioning adults with autism.
- Fleet Science Center San Diego: On the third Saturday of each month, the center offers Autism Accessibility Mornings. The day allows for quieter explorations and a cooling-off space.
- MOXI Wolf Museum of Exploration & Innovation Santa Barbara: This museum presents a hands-on STEAM (science, tech, engineering,arts, and math) exhibit. They provide a sensory-friendly app so that visitors can preview the attraction. Visitors can also borrow a sensory backpack kit.
- 12 Best Special Needs Family Vacation: You’ll find suggestions for destinations that provide special accommodations for families on this site.
- DisabledHolidays.com: This website offers a series of hotels and cruises that best accommodate any disability. World-wide locations are listed.
- Autism on the Seas: This organization collaborates with Royal Caribbean Cruises. They include autism-friendly services and products such as dietary accommodations, phones/pagers for families, autism-friendly toys, Social Stories, and an adjusted environment for film watching.
- Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity Cruises offers an autism-friendly environment with sensory-friendly films, dietary menu options, and toys.
- The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens: This location is a Certified Autism Center with the attraction providing fidget tools, sensory guides, and noise-canceling headphones.
Visit Visalia: This City was the first to be designated as a Certified Autism Destination. You’ll find a list of hotels and attractions on this site with accommodations for those with sensory needs.
Improve Communication with Your Grandchild
Assistive Technology has many new easy to use devices that will help you to enhance communication with your grandchild. Autism Speaks.