Virtual autism summer
With the school holidays fast approaching lots of families of children and young people with autism will be looking for accessible things to do over the summer months.
While many big attractions are now reopening following Coronavirus, families may still feel cautious about taking children to them as we ease out of lockdown. These trips often require lots of planning and preparation – and Coronavirus has added another layer of complication.
With this in mind, we’ve researched some of best autism-friendly ‘virtual’ experiences that families could enjoy as an alternative to traditional days out this summer. We’ve found a rich catalogue of resources available to keep everybody entertained...
Science Museum, around the UK
The Science Museum group has a strong track record in hosting autism-friendly events, with its Early Birds sensory friendly sessions. While getting to the museum might now be more difficult for families of those with autism, the museum’s Learning Resources hub has plenty of games and activities all based around its exhibits. From activities that you could try at home, such as ‘Ear Gong’ to making your own version of Kitchen Science at home, it is a great and relaxing sensory treat. And for older children there are a few in-browser games, all set around science.
Eureka! The National Children's Museum, Halifax
Eureka! The National Children’s Museum is a totally interactive experience when you visit in person, but it is also an interactive experience at home. The museum has put up daily lessons and storytimes on its ‘Eureka at home’ page. One that really sticks out among the worksheets and songs is the ‘BSL with Leanne’ series, hosted by Leanne who works at the museum, teaching children the importance of British Sign Language and useful sign language words that they can use, an excellent communication tool to bond and learn with your child.
British Museum, London
Any budding historian can now view over 77,000 of the British Museum's pieces and exhibits from their own living room. From Egyptian mummies, Roman statues and even a 360 degree in-depth look at the Rosetta Stone. You can also explore the museum using Google Street View so make a day of it in your own home, without the crowds and noise. Also check out the museum’s blog for more learning resources and texts to do with the exhibits.
Natural History Museum, London
Ever wanted to go on a tour of the Natural History Museum with none other than Sir David Attenbourgh himself? Now you can hear his dulcet voice narrate the specimens of Hintze Hall. You can also view discussion sessions with NHM scientists and take a tour in its Virtual Lates. The best part for me however, was looking at the life of their famous blue whale, Hope. You can enjoy a 360 degree view of their digs as well as access learning resources and a lot more.
Tate Galleries, around the UK
Got a budding artist at home? Tate has got you covered even if getting to galleries around the UK is a bit trickier. On its Tate Kids website, you can learn about exhibits and artists, take quizzes and even make your own art with a chance for it to be showcased on the Tate Kids website. The website condenses art into a manner that is clear to understand and allows children to experiment with art in a fun and safe manner at home.
London Zoo, London
Where else can you find sloths having a great time eating fruit and other animal delights, all without the queues and the smells? London Zoo has given access to its most popular attractions at home via live feed and videos of zoo-keepers feeding and taking care of the animals. Go to Penguin Beach and also visit the famous giraffe!
National Videogame Museum, Sheffield
The National Videogames Museum is offering lessons on how to make your own videogame while in lockdown. From creating your own pixel character, playing around in computer program Twine and even learning to code with famed video game company Ubisoft. If you have a budding game designer or even if they love computers this is a valuable resource that would teach them new skills.
British Film Institute, around the UK
The British Film Institute (BFI) has made most of its archive available for free as its facilities have been closed during the pandemic. For young aspiring filmmakers there are classes available online via booking for its BFI Film Academy. During lockdown the BFI also moved many of their film festivals online so you can watch what is on offer without noise and hassle.
About the author
Solmaz Farad is a freelance blogger. She loves writing, and also has interests in music, technology and beauty products.