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The entire month of April is a time to recognize people on the spectrum, their families, and the ever-growing research surrounding autism.


Art is a soothing activity and a great form of self-expression — and it develops and strengthens fine motor skills, too! However, children with autism can be highly sensitive to textures, sounds, and smells, which makes crafting challenging for them. To raise awareness of autism, here are six craft materials to consider using for your next sensory-sensitive art project!


1. Finger Paint

Brushes may be too constraining for a child on the spectrum — substituting this utensil for their hands and fingers can be a great solution! Finger paint introduces them to a new texture and invites creative thinking. If that’s too messy, try adding latex gloves for an extra layer of protection and sensation!


2. Foam

Soft, squishy materials offer children the chance to create without the possibility of a rough or harmful texture. Replace paper with foam squares for a material that can be marked with anything — from glue to markers, or even more foam!


3. Glitter















Extreme sensitivity can also take form in sight — it’s important for a child on the spectrum to feel safe when they start to feel overwhelmed by what’s around them. One technique to help bring relief in these situations is to create a sensory bottle. Mix food coloring dye and glitter in a water bottle, shake it up, and release tension by watching the colorful, sparkly liquid!


4. Rainbow Poms

These puffy accessories are the perfect squeezable size for any craft project! Add an assortment of poms into a small container to create a sensory box — encourage a child to reach in and explore the different textures, sizes, and colors! Poms can help with color association and counting games, too!


5. Fuzzy Sticks















Fuzzy sticks work those fine motor skills while exercising the imagination — bend them into different shapes and twist them together to create animals, flowers, and other objects for the perfect 3D component in an art project!


6. Melty Beads














Loud noises can be another restriction when it comes to crafting — limit the amount of sound by working with melty beads. You can even add beads to sensory bottles and boxes for extra texture, or connect them with fuzzy sticks to bend into melty bead people!


It’s important to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable when they’re creating art! We hope these materials inspire you to make crafting accessible to people who are on the autism spectrum. Let us know what kind of sensory crafts you like and share them with us on Facebook or Instagram — tag @craftprojectideas!