Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders
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More About This Title Early Intervention Games: Fun, Joyful Ways to Develop Social and Motor Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum or Sensory Processing Disorders


A resource of fun games for parents or teachers to help young children learn social and motor skills

Barbara Sher, an expert occupational therapist and teacher, has written a handy resource filled with games to play with young children who have Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other sensory processing disorders (SPD). The games are designed to help children feel comfortable in social situations and teach other basic lessons including beginning and end, spatial relationships, hand-eye coordination, and more. Games can also be used in regular classrooms to encourage inclusion.

  • A collection of fun, simple games that can improve the lives of children with ASD or other SPDs.
  • Games can be played by parents or teachers and with individual children or groups.
  • Games are designed to make children more comfortable in social situations and to develop motor and language skills
  • Also included are a variety of interactive games to play in water, whether in a backyard kiddie pool, community swimming pool, or lake
  • All the games are easy-to-do, utilizing common, inexpensive materials, and include several variations and modifications


Barbara Sher, M.A., O.T.R., has more than 30 years experience as a teacher and occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics. She conducts workshops for parents, teachers, therapists, and children around the world, and is the author of nine books, including Attention Games, Self-Esteem Games, and Extraordinary Play with Ordinary Things, which have been translated into eight languages.


Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction 1

CHAPTER 1 Understanding Sensory Processing Issues 9

CHAPTER 2 How the Games Help Sensory Processing Challenges 19

CHAPTER 3 Social Gross Motor Games 51

A Kid Sandwich 51

Are You My Mummy? 54

Balloon Baseball 55

Blanket Ride 57

Boat Ride 59

Box Ride 61

Going Through the Tunnel of Legs 63

Hammock Swing 65

Hit the Homemade Piñata 67

 “I’m Here!” 69

Jump to Colors 71

Leap the Shoes 73

Massages 75

Name Game 77

Obstacle Course 79

Races 82

Rolling Children 83

RurRurRurRurRUN! 85

Sausage Roll (or Sushi Wrap, Hot Dog,Burrito . . . ) 86

Scarf Toss 89

Shape Targets 90

Stack the Cans 92

Stop and Go 94

Target Games 96

Throw the Balls into the Box 98

Throwing into the Tubes 101

Throwing Through the Tube 103

Tug-of-War 105

Walk with Rhythm 106

We Are Rocking 109

Who Is This? 111

Who’s in the Box? 112

Wiggling Snake 114

CHAPTER 4 Social Fine Motor Games 117

Bingo Game 117

Bubble Blowing 119

Cereal Box Puzzles 121

Cereal Necklace 123

Colored Slots 125

Drawing Faces 127

Dump and Fill 128

Eyedropper Squirts 130

Feather Blowing 132

Listening Game 134

Lost in Rice 135

Penny Flick 137

Point to the Cup 139

Pudding Party 141

Secret Message 142

Sink the Boat 144

Smelling Game 146

Sound Makers 147

Straw Sucking 149

Styrofoam Hammering 151

Tile Painting 153

Toothpick Treats 155

What’s in the Sock? 156

Yes-No Game 158

CHAPTER 5 Water Games 161

Blow Bubbles and Hum 162

Boogie Board Ride 164

Bury the Body 165

Catch a Fish 167

Choo-Choo Train 169

Fill the Bucket 171

Floating on Your Back 174

Gecko Walking 176

In and Out Crash 178

Into the Hole 179

The Kids in the Water Go Splashy Clap 182

The Little Dutch Boy 185

Little Jumps, Big Jumps 186

London Bridge 188

Make a Pond 190

Monkey Walking 192

One, Two, Three—Change 194

Parallel Swim 196

Ping-Pong Play 198

Ready? Set. Jump! 200

Riding the Horse Noodles 202

Ring-Around-a-Rosy 203

Save Your Life 205

Shark Attack 207

The Sponge Pass 209

The Squirting Game 212

Tug the Tube 214

Wa-Wa-Wa-Water! 215

Appendix I Index of Games by Sensory System or Skill Stimulated 219

Appendix II Additional Resources 227

The Author 231

Bibliography 233