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April Theme Activities (Part 2/2): World Autism Awareness Month (WAAM)!

By April 1, 2021 No Comments

With the 2nd of April being declared as the World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) by the United Nations, April has since then been an important month for the autism community. Needless to say,  EAP Malaysia is a part of that and we are so excited for April this year too. Aligned with our vision in supporting individuals with autism and their families in leading fulfilling lives, we celebrate the World Autism Awareness Month (WAAM) every April and put our best effort to reach out and raise awareness on autism throughout the month. It comes as no surprise that part two of our thematic activities for the month of April would be related to “World Autism Awareness Month” where we compiled a series of kids activities exploring the themes of love, kindness, gratitude and hope, that you can carry out with your children at home!

 

Let’s celebrate World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) together!

Want to join us in celebrating this special day and raise awareness on autism? It’s simple! Here are some ways to get involved:

  1. Wear blue on the 2nd of April and post your pictures on social media to raise awareness on autism! Feel free to also tag us at @eapmalaysia and use the hashtag #lovesomeonewithautism
  2. Educate yourself and learn more about autism! You can check out our social media platform on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or visit our official website to know more about autism! We started a series on Myths and Facts of Autism on Instagram in the effort to reduce the stigma surrounding autism due to false or inaccurate assumptions and you can do your part by resharing them! 
  3. Support the efforts and various initiatives in raising awareness and acceptance this whole month! Through our non-profit initiative, The Hope Project, that aims to make world-class services for autism accessible to all, we would like invite you to join us in:
  • Campaigning with us through social media by reposting and resharing our resources, or post a photo and tell us why you #lovesomeonewithautism
  • Funding services for the community through provision of service, such as training non-profit centres and provision of scholarship, and through the production of resources and materials, which includes training videos in our Autism At Home platform, that will benefit more people out there.
  • Participate in the really cool activities listed below!

 

LOVE

“Love someone with autism” – one of our catchphrases here in EAP. Love is a universal feeling, a universal language that is innate to all of us. Together with your child, learn more about love with the activities below! Most importantly, we hope you can love someone with autism too!

 

Music & Movement Monday-Love has no language

Materials:

  • Device to play video
  • Sign Language Video: I Love You

 

Steps: Play the video and learn “I love you” in sign language with your kids. Take a video and send it to your loved ones to brighten up their day!

 

Crafty Tuesday-Mosaic Heart

Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Colour paper

 

Steps:

  1. Cut out a heart-shaped base on a colour paper of your preference.
  2. Cut the other colour paper into bits of different shapes. Alternatively, you can cut out coloured pages from old magazines too!
  3. Glue the bits of paper onto the heart-shaped base. Remember to leave some space between each shape to create a mosaic effect!

 

Wild Wednesday-Bath Time!

Materials: 

  • Baby doll (or animal figurines/other suitable beloved toys)
  • Towels 
  • Sponge
  • Bath gel/Soap
  • Water 
  • Small plastic tub/sink
  • (Optional) Baby doll clothes

Steps:

  1. Teach your child how to carry out a “bath time” for their beloved toys.
  2. Explain how taking care of their toys is an act of love, just like how parents take care of a child’s wellbeing. You can also let your child “babysit” their toys for a day!

 

Tasty ThursdayI Love You Cookies

Materials:

  • 300g Flour
  • 200g Butter
  • 100g Sugar
  • 50g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 egg (you can replace this with milk to create an edible cookie dough)
  • Cookie cutters (Heart-shape, alphabets)-or shape with your hands!
  • Icing Sugar + a little bit of Water
  • Food Colouring
  • Sprinkles/Mini Pearls

 

Steps:

  1. Mix all ingredients (except icing sugar and water) together and form a dough. 
  2. Roll out the dough (5mm or a little thicker) and cut out your shapes and letters. You can also shape them by hand- have some sensory play time with your child!
  3. Bake in the oven (preheated to 180°C) for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Mix icing sugar with a little bit of water and the food colouring of your choice.
  5. Once the cookies are cooled, add some icing sugar mixture and decorate with the sprinkles/mini pearls.

 

Funtastic Friday-5 Love Languages

Materials:

  • Sticky notes
  • Marker pen
  • Ziplock bag

 

Steps:

  1. On each sticky note, write two activity ideas for each love language (click here for ideas)
  2. Roll the sticky notes up and place it into a ziplock bag.
  3. Give the ziplock bag to your child and let them choose their own mission!
  4. Discuss with your child on how it feels to give and receive love.

 

KINDNESS

Our lives are full of choices, and one good guide for us and our kids is to always choose to BE KIND. Kindness helps to create a more inclusive world, preventing the alienation of individuals with autism, who are often subject to bullying. With the activities below, teach your child more about the impact and repercussions of one’s behaviour and actions, and bask in the warm, glowy feeling after being kind to others.

 

Music & Movement Monday-Act of Kindness: Donate Items to People in Need

 

Materials:

  • Preloved items (toys, clothes, books) that are still in good condition

 

Steps:

One random act of kindness you can carry out with your child is to donate preloved items to those in need! Explain to your child where the items are going and how it is going to help the people in need. Let your child pick out their preloved items that they wish to donate. If possible, pay a visit to the shelter/organization with your child as you donate the items.

 

Crafty Tuesday-Kindness Flower Craft

Materials:

  • Colour paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Marker

 

Steps:

  1. Cut a big circle with a colour paper of your choice.
  2. Pick another colour paper and cut 5-6 smaller circles to create the petals of the flower.
  3. Using a green colour paper, cut out the stem and leaf for your flower.
  4. Write the name of someone special on the big circle with a marker.
  5. On the petals, get your child to write down things they like about the special person, or kind words they want to offer to that person.
  6. Glue the stem to the big circle then glue the leaf to the stem
  7. Glue each petal to the big circle 
  8. Give the kindness flower to the special person!

 

Wild Wednesday-Floating Kind Words Experiment

 

Materials:

  • Whiteboard markers
  • A ceramic or glass plate 
  • Water 

Steps:

  1. Using the whiteboard markers on the ceramic/glass plate, ask your child to write down kind words that they would want to offer to their friends and family.
  2. Gradually pour in some water from the side of the plate at a slow pace.
  3. Observe closely and look out for the magic! After some time, the words will float to the surface of the water.

 

Tasty Thursday-Act of Kindness: Make your loved ones their favourite snack!

One act of kindness that you can carry out with your child is to prepare a snack for a friend/family member. Guide your child to find out his/her favourite snack, then prepare the snack together with your child. You can set this as a surprise occasion, letting your child present what they have prepared to their loved ones. Discuss with your child how being kind to others makes them feel!

 

Funtastic Friday- Secret Mission: Random Acts of Kindness

Materials:

 

Steps:

  1. Create a mission for your child to carry out random acts of kindness in a day! 
  2. Discuss together with your child and come up with a list of kind acts that he/she can carry out through the day. Write it down in a checklist format so your child can tick it off when they are done. Feel free to join your child in carrying out the kind acts!
  3. At the end of the day, check on the list together with your child. Discuss your observations and how carrying out the random acts of kindness affects others, as well as how it made you and your child feel. You can set a reward for your child if they manage to complete the mission (a set amount of kind actions).

 

GRATITUDE

“Thank you” is one of the earliest, most basic phrases we learn and teach our children. With our busy daily schedules and everything happening in this world, being thankful for all that we have is often overlooked. Teach your child the importance of practicing gratitude on a regular basis, and take this opportunity to thank all the people and everything that lights up your world!

 

 

Music & Movement Monday-Thank You Dance

Materials:

 

Steps:

Play the video and learn the dance with your child! You can also record your child’s dance and send it to people that they’re grateful for!

 

Crafty Tuesday-Tree of Thankfulness

 

 

 

Materials:

  • Colour Paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker Pens

 

Steps:

  1. Trace the shape of your child’s hand on a piece of colour paper and cut it out.
  2. Repeat step 1 on different coloured paper until you have 5-6 handprints.
  3. Draw the outline of a tree trunk on a brown paper and cut it out.
  4. On each handprint, discuss with your child and get them to write down something they are grateful for using a marker pen. 
  5. Glue the pieces of handprint onto the branches of the tree and your thankful tree is done!

 

Wild Wednesday- Gratitude Sensory Bin

 

Materials:

  • A plastic tray
  • Papers
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Mung beans/ corn kernel

 

Steps:

  1. Fill the plastic tray with mung beans/ corn kernel.
  2. Cut paper into small card sizes with scissors.
  3. Write down each items or person that your child would express gratitude for (such as daddy, mummy, sister, pet dog, toys, house, food etc.) on the small card size papers
  4. Hide the written papers into the sensory bin 
  5. Ask your child to pick one paper out from the sensory bin and ask some gratitude related questions/ conversation such as:
    1. Do you feel happy to be with mummy (or anyone else)?
    2. What makes you feel grateful about having this person/ item?
    3. What do you say when this person is doing something nice to you?
    4. How do you show your appreciation to this person (Do you give the person a hug? Do you share your cookie with this person? Do you make a thank you card to this person?)?

 

Tasty Thursday- Thankies (Thank You Cookies)

 

Recipe from: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/christmas-sugar-cookies/ 

Ingredients:

  • Cookies:
    • 281g all-purpose flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 170g soften unsalted butter
    • 150g granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • (Optional) ¼ to ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Icing:
    • 180g confectioners’ sugar
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
    • 2-2.5 tablespoons water (room temperature)
    • A pinch of salt
    • (Optional) liquid/gel food colouring
  • Alphabet cookie cutters

 

Steps:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together and mix until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla and almond extract, then beat on high until fully combined.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together, then add it into the wet ingredients at intervals. 
  3. Divide the dough into two parts and roll it out to ¼ inch thick. Stack them together and chill it in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours up to 2 days. This is mandatory.
  4. Preheat your oven to 177°C. Using the alphabet cookie cutters, cut the cookies from the dough and arrange them onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. You can re-roll the remaining dough and repeat the process until all the dough is used.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until the surface and edges of the cookies are lightly coloured. Rotate the cookies in the middle of baking to make sure they are baked evenly. Let them cool completely before decorating with the icing.
  6. For the icing, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. If it is too thick, you can add some water. You can also add liquid/gel food colouring if desired. 
  7. Decorate the cookies with the icing and you can enjoy your cookies right away, or wait for the icing to set before sending them as gifts.

 

Funtastic Friday-Gratitude Scavenger Hunt

Materials:

 

Steps:

  1. Print out the Gratitude Scavenger Hunt Checklist and go through the list with your child (explain if necessary). Alternatively, you can discuss with your child and come up with a list.
  2. Search for the items that match the descriptions on the list and snap a picture of them. Do this together with your child if they are too young to be holding the device. For older kids, you can have two lists where both of you set off to take pictures of the things you are grateful for!
  3. Once all the descriptions are checked off, review the pictures with your child and discuss how each item matches the description. You can also print the pictures out and make a gratitude scrapbook that you and your child can review in the future!

 

HOPE

“Welcome to hope!” -one of our popular catchphrases here in EAP. Hope fuels us to keep going, through all the ups and downs in life. Discuss about being hopeful with your child, by seeing the light amidst the dark shadows, planting seeds of hope, and waiting for the rainbow after the storm!

 

Music & Movement Monday-Shadow Play

Materials:

  • A plain wall/whiteboard (you can also drape a white sheet of paper/cloth over a wall)
  • Torchlight

 

Steps:

Shine a bright light onto the white surface. Get your child to dance in between the light and let them observe their shadows! You can also challenge them to make a certain shape (e.g. animals/alphabets), or get items around the house to observe the shadow it makes (in different distances from the light source/wall).

 

Crafty Tuesday-Star of Hope

Materials:

  • Ice cream sticks
  • Coloured lantern paper
  • Clear plastic sheet
  • Glue
  • Scissors

 

Steps:

  1. Glue the popsicle sticks to create the shape of a star.
  2. Trace the shape of the star on the clear plastic.
  3. Cut out the shape of the star from the clear plastic.
  4. Cut the lantern paper into small pieces.
  5. Glue the bits of lantern paper onto the clear plastic star until the star is fully covered by the coloured pieces.
  6. Glue the plastic star onto the ice cream stick.
  7. Place your star on the window or in front of a torch light and watch the colourful light shine through!

 

Wild Wednesday-Grow A Plant 

Materials:

  • Mung beans or plant sprout
  • Soil or cotton 
  • Water 
  • A pot or plastic container 
  • A ruler

Steps: 

  1. Place some wet soil/cotton into a pot/ plastic container
  2. Sow the mung beans/ plant sprouts into the wet soil/ cotton.
  3. Add some water into the soil/ cotton pad.
  4. Ask your child to water the plant everyday, place the plant under sunlight, measure it with a ruler and record the height of the plant everyday.
  5. In the meantime, explain to your child to be patient, and that the more your child nurtures and takes care of the plant, the plant will grow taller and faster. 

 

Tasty Thursday-Rainbow Smoothie

Ingredients:

Purple layer:

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt

Green layer:

  • 2 kiwis

  • A small handful of spinach

Yellow layer:

  • 3 rounds of pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Orange layer:

  • 1 orange
  • ½ banana
  • 1 raspberry

Red layer:

  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 2-3 strawberries

 

Other tools: 

  • Blender
  • Cups/Bowls
  • Spoon
  • Clear tall glass

 

Steps:

  1. Blend the ingredients for each layer separately using the blender. Make sure you rinse the blender after each layer. Place them in separate cups/bowls.
  2. Carefully add each layer into the glass using the spoon and create your rainbow smoothie!

 

Funtastic Friday-Rainbow in the Tunnel

Materials:

  • Empty Paper Towel Roll
  • Craft knife 
  • Scissors
  • Blank/Old CD
  • Pencil
  • Small piece of cardboard/cardstock
  • Tape
  • (Optional) Paint

 

Steps:

  1. Let’s make a spectroscope (tunnel)! If you wish to paint it, you should do this beforehand and let it dry.
  2. Cut a slit on the paper tower roll to place the CD, and a peephole adjacent to the slit. 
  3. Trace one end of the paper tower roll onto the cardstock and cut it out. Tape it onto the top end of the paper tower roll and cut a slit at the center of the cardstock.
  4. Insert the CD into the 45° angled slit (shiny side up) and your spectroscope is done!
  5. Bring the spectroscope outside and point the top slit up to the sky (not directly at the sun!).
  6. Let your child look into the peephole and they should be able to see a rainbow inside. Let your child move around with the spectroscope and describe what they see under different light sources!

 

These values may be abstract concepts for kids, but it’s never too early to teach them about love, kindness, gratitude and hope! With all the activities above, we hope it helps you to incorporate those values into your daily lives that you and your child can practice regularly. Feel free to try out the activities, share your photos and tag us at @eapmalaysia, with #EAPMalaysia and #WelcomeToHope on Instagram or Facebook! EAP Malaysia is more than ecstatic to  kickstart April as we have so much in store for you. We will be releasing two videos on 2nd and 5th of April respectively that send out the message of being kind to others and how you can partner with us to stop bullying in the community and in school. Stay tuned for more exciting updates coming up this April!

 

References

 

  1. Love has no language :https://www.lingvano.com/asl/blog/i-love-you-in-sign-language/
  2. Mosaic Heart:https://www.craftsonsea.co.uk/easy-mosaic-heart-craft-2/
  3. Babydoll Washing: https://livingmontessorinow.com/baby-doll-washing-practical-life-toddlers-preschoolers/
  4. I Love You Cookies : https://lifeatthezoo.com/valentines-day-cookies-love/
  5. 5 Love Languages: https://meaningfulmama.com/week-6-character-development-love-day_09.html
  6. Act of Kindness: Donate Items to People in Needhttps://www.verywellfamily.com/random-acts-of-kindness-for-kids-4136440
  7. Floating Dry Erase Marker Experiment for Kids : https://activelittles.com/floating-dry-erase-marker-experiment-for-kids-valentines-day/
  8. Secret Mission: Random Acts of Kindness https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kindness-Project-Mission-Possible-1023019?epik=dj0yJnU9czJralg2TTZiWGJZZE5LMlJJUHY2WjU4WE1rWV9nckwmcD0wJm49VjcxeDIxaXpTdUUyWlc0RnVjakhlZyZ0PUFBQUFBR0JjbDNz
  9. Thank You | Kids Dance Music | Didi & Friends Kids Songs to Dance : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea-A00JmhQQ
  10. Tree of Thankfulness https://funhandprintartblog.com/thankful-handprint-trees-craft.html
  11. Grateful Sensory Bin: https://nostresshomeschooling.com/preschool-sensory-activities-gratitude-sensory-bin/
  12. Thankies (Thank You Cookies) https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/christmas-sugar-cookies/
  13. Gratitude Scavenger Hunt : https://www.bestow.com/blog/gratitude-games/
  14. Shadow Play: https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/2017/01/09/light-and-shadow-experiments-for-kids/
  15. Star of Hope: http://www.messestomemories.com/2015/12/tissue-paper-stained-glass-craft.html
  16. Grow A Plant: https://brainpowerboy.com/hope-activities-for-kids/
  17. Rainbow Smoothies : https://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com/rainbow-smoothie/
  18. Rainbow in A tunnel : https://buggyandbuddy.com/homemade-spectroscope/