Springtime Activities for Autism Does Not Always Have to be Outdoorsy

I’m sitting on my bed listening to the wind roar outside. It’s freezing out there! Ironically enough, I was asked to write a blog about springtime activities.

I have to be honest. We are not an outdoors kind of family. A hike for us is walking a path at our local park. Looking for bugs? Not going to happen. Those things are gross! Climbing rocks to waterfalls? Nope. Not this family. Picnicking? Sometimes.

Perhaps our somewhat limited outdoors activities are a symptom of raising kids in this advanced technological age or maybe we are just lazy? Well, okay. Not lazy. Weekends for us mean decompressing. My husband Vince and I both work long hours. The kids are in school all day. By the time the weekend rolls around, we just want to hang out and take things at our own pace. Freedom from schedules and demands is gratifying.

So, no! We are not sloths, and we do many things together as a family, even if not outdoors. So what do we do, you may ask? Debbie learned to ride her bike by herself two years ago. Joey was taking a movie-making class at the local senior center. Instead of just going home, we decided to load Debbie’s bike in the back of my CX-9 and hang out in the parking lot. Vince stopped hanging onto the back of her bike and one day she kept on going all by herself! It was one of the best moments ever!

Since our neighborhood is extremely hilly, it’s difficult for Debbie to ride here.  To accommodate her, we head for one of several local parks where she rides along the trails.  Speaking of local parks, playgrounds are also still a big hit with Deb. Sliding, climbing, and swinging have not lost their luster for her.  I’m glad she’s still interested in going to the playground. Not only is she getting exercise, but she is also developing her gross-motor skills, something lying down and watching YouTube videos does not exactly encourage. 

Debbie’s birthday is in the spring. She loves going to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA, and it has become a birthday ritual for her. We stay overnight  at the Country Inn and spend an entire day at the park, following an exact routine. Our first stop is the merry-go-round. Next, we head for the bumper cars, sky ride, and monorail. In between the rides, we eat an overpriced poorly tasting lunch and then head for the “big slide” as Deb calls it. Last year, I managed to get her to go on two roller coasters and “The Whip” thrill ride.  Lines are not an issue for our girl. In fact, when it comes to waiting in long lines, she does better than any one of us!  I love that Debbie has added some new rides to her repertoire. 

Our hotel, on the other hand, is a different story. It has been made abundantly clear to me that the ONLY hotel we stay in is The Country Inn. I made the mistake of booking a room at the Hampton Inn once and I can assure you that I will never ever make that error again-:)

All in all, while we are not a “Let’s go out and explore the great outdoors” type of family, we do have our share of togetherness. Hanging out at parks and playgrounds, riding bikes, and going to Hershey Park top our list of springtime fun. We move at our own pace and work around Debbie’s needs to make sure she feels included and comfortable. Most important, we enjoy our time as a family! How about you? What springtime activities do you enjoy with your family? I’d love to get some new ideas from you! Let’s connect!

xoxoxo ~ Julie 


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"We are not sloths, and we do many things together as a family, even if not outdoors."
Julie Brusio, educator, blogger, and mother of autism