Virtual Summer Activities
Looking for at-home ideas to keep busy over the summer? Browse activities by area of interest by clicking on a link below. While many of these resources offer courses for those with special needs, this is not a list of exclusively autism-friendly programming. Thanks to Autism Behavior Consultants and Los Angeles Unified School District, which together curated many of the activities listed. Thanks also to New England Center for Children, Gateway Learning Group, Helping Hands Family, Kadiant, Neurabilities and Early Autism Services for contributing resources.
- Learning Activities
- Art and Crafting
- Movement and Mindfulness
- Outdoors and Animals
- Virtual Field Trips
- 123 Homeschooling – Homeschooling worksheets. Free.
- ABCya! - provides free educational games organized by grade and subject area
- All Kids Network! – Resources for children’s crafts, worksheets, coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dot, and more. Free.
- Amazing Educational Resources – Resource guide of educational companies offering free subscriptions due to the school closures.
- BrainPOP – Educational website with over 1,000 short animated movies for students in grades K-12, together with quizzes and related materials, covering the subjects of science, social studies, English, math, engineering and technology, health, and arts and music.
- Boom Cards - premade or customizable flashcards for skill building/maintenance (utilizes discrete-trial training format)
- Daily Science Project from Easton Children's Museum - easy-to-do-at-home science experiments
- Crash Course – A YouTube channel offering engaging educational videos suitable for high school students. The channel features a wide range of subjects, from anatomy to world history.
- Edgenuity – For K-12 students to access core curriculum. Each student has an individual code that will allow them to access lessons in English language arts and mathematics. Science and history/social science lessons are available for middle and high school students.
- Highlights Kids – Online magazine with activities, games, recipes.
- Kids Activities Blog – List of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closing.
- KidsKonnect - printable worksheets for teachers & homeschool parents
- Math Play - provides online math games organized by grade level, content and game type
- Math Worksheets 4 Kids - provides Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social studies printable materials
- The Math Worksheet Site - provides Mathematics-related printable materials
- Mystery Doug - posts a new video every week answering scientific questions
- Mommy Poppins Poppins at Home – e-learning, crafts, activities and games for a range of ages. Topics include cooking, gardening, STEM, crafts, languages story time and more!
- Nassau County Museum of Art - engaging kids on the autism spectrum
- PBS SoCal, KCET, and PBS – Free, standards-aligned videos, interactives, lesson plans for at-home learning. Available for students in Pre-K through 12th grade.
- LA Parent Magazine – Activities and information on remote learning for children and families.
- Originator – List of educational mobile and tablet applications for children and families. Fees apply.
- Reading A-Z, RAZ kids and Vocabulary A-Z - provides leveled books, passages, comprehension printable materials, quizzes for interactive reading practice and vocabulary word lists/lessons with online practice. Subscription
- Scholastic Learn at Home – Allows open access to daily learning journeys divided into four grade spans: Pre-K – K, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, and Grades 6-9+, covering ELA, STEAM, science, social studies, and social-emotional learning. Free.
- Starfall - provides Reading and Math games, movies, books and music
- Universal Class – Classes to guide parents and teachers to build their own unit study courses for homeschool purposes. Free access with a Los Angeles Public Library card (which can now be obtained online).
- Virtual School Activities – A collection of sites to live webcams, virtual tours/tips, and other miscellaneous fun educational sites for homeschooling.
- www.EdHelper.com - provides Reading, Grammar, Math and Science printable materials. Subscription
- www.Education.com - provides Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies printable materials as well as Reading and Math online games. Subscription
- www.EnchantedLearning.com - provides Writing and Science printable materials. Subscription
- www.mathworksheetsland.com - provides Mathematics-related printable materials. Subscription
Art and Crafting:
- Autism Speaks DIY Weighted Lap Buddy - Create a DIY weighted lap pad for yourself or a sensory-seeker in your family.
- Autism Speaks DIY Sensory Bottle - Create a DIY sensory bottle for yourself or a sensory-seeker in your family.
- Autism Speaks DIY Stress Creatures – Create fun stress-relieving fidget characters.
- Neurabilities Art with Heart – Caterpillar craft for ages 2-3.
- Neurabilities Art with Heart – Ladybugs craft for ages 2-3.
- Neurabilities Art with Heart – Butterflies craft for ages 2-3.
- Neurabilities Make Your Own Instrument Crafts
- Kadiant Sensory Fun: Rice Bins
- Poppins at Home from Mommy Poppins Make Fluffy Slime with La Piattura Studio – Create fluffy slime using ingredients around your house.
- Elise Gravel – Free, printable coloring pages by children’s author and illustrator.
- Google Arts & Culture – Guide to museums and galleries offering virtual exhibits and tours.
- Khan Academy – Walt Disney Imagineering partners with Khan Academy for Imagineering in a Box. The program is designed to pull back the curtain to show you how artists, designers, and engineers work together to create theme parks. Go behind the scenes with Disney Imagineers and complete project-based exercise to design a theme park of your very own.
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Children’s author, Mo Williams welcomes you into his study at home and guides you through drawing activities using one of his favorite characters for inspiration.
- Louvre – Visit the museum’s exhibition rooms and galleries.
- National History Museum of Los Angeles County – Make Your Own Dinosaur Shadow Puppet and Screen.
- Yaymaker Paint Nite – Virtual events from Paint Nite, including events for kids, teens, and adults. Events are presented through a streaming platform. Fees may apply.
- ABCya – Pre-K to Grade 6 Games
- Splash Learn – K to Grade 5 Math Games
- Nick Jr. – Kids Games
- PBS Kids – Kids Games
- Smarty Games – Kids Games
- Crazy Games – Kids to Teens Arcade Games:
- Playing Cards – Card Games
- Play Drift – Online Games
Movement and Mindfulness:
- American Ballet Theater – ABT will host daily virtual classes on Instagram (@abtschool) taught by former ABT dancers and artist. These classes will engage ABT’s youngest students and their families by exploring musicality, fostering creativity, imagination, and teaching ballet fundamentals.
- Emergent Learning Academy Mindful U program – Short, interactive mindfulness lessons daily for kids ages 4-14 years old
- Go Noodle – Virtual classes to help children stay active, focused, and calm while infusing good energy into their lives.
- Neurabilities Let’s Dance – Caterpillar Moves for ages 3-5.
- Neurabilities Let’s Dance – Ladybug Theme for ages 3-5.
- Neurabilities Morning Moves: Butterflies for ages 6-12 months.
- PopFit Kids - Virtual movement and activities
- UCLA Recreation – Virtual yoga classes for kids on Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons.
- YMCA of Metro North (Mass.) - virtual swimming and water safety course
- Amped Guitar + Gibson – 3 month free trial of Amped Guitar lessons through Gibson Gives.
- Carnegie Hall – Resources and teaching videos for teachers and K-5 students.
- Fender Play – 3 months of free online guitar, bass and ukulele lessons to the first 500,000 to sign up for Fender Play.
- Inkshed - The Inkshed team creates art, writing, music, and theater video lessons to share their love and passion for the arts.
- Music and the Brain – Video tutorials and keyboard instruction for K-12 students.
- Neurabilities Three Cool Music Activities at Home – Make musical instruments from common household items.
- Neurabilities Unlocking Musical Creativity at Home with the Launchpad App
- Neurabilities Unlocking Musical Creativity at Home with the Keezy App
- Neurabilities Unlocking Musical Creativity at Home with BlaBlaBla App
- New York Philharmonic – Watch the famous Young People’s Concerts at home.
- Prodigies – Video library of engaging musical activities and curriculum for kids ages 2-12.
- Kadiant Make a Musical Instrument
- Save the Music Foundation – A list of free and low-cost music instruction and performances.
- Soundfly – Free video courses about producing, playing and writing music taught by industry professionals and educators.
Outdoors and Animals:
- American Museum of Natural History – Their Ology science website provides games and activities for kids and covers a range of science topics, including archaeology, paleontology, astronomy, and marine biology.
- Center for Discovery – Safe indoor and outdoor activities for families in the time of the coronavirus.
- Explore Mars from NASA – Explore the real surface of Mars, recorded by Nasa’s Curiosity rover.
- Google Arts & Culture and National Parks – Google has teamed up with five national parks in the US so people can enjoy the beauty of the natural world virtually: Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska), Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii), Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico), Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah), Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida).
- Live Science – Breaks down stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet, while also digging up fascinating discoveries that hit on a broad range of fields, from dinosaurs and archaeology to wacky physics and astronomy to health and human behavior.
- Los Angeles Zoo – Videos of animals.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute – Resources from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute introduce students to the impacts of climate change on marine habitats; explain the adaptations of animals that live in the deep sea; and present the challenges faced by ecosystems invaded by nonnative species, such as the so-called zombie shrimp.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Tour marine sanctuaries and ocean habitats with a collection of virtual dives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- San Diego Zoo – Videos, activities, and games from the San Diego Zoo.
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo – Animal webcams at the zoo.
- The Nature Museum in Chicago – How do butterflies eat? What’s the difference between frogs and toads? The Nature Museum in Chicago has videos and activities to acquaint kids with the natural world and to inspire their curiosity about the plants and animals in their own backyards.
- Virtual Field Trips – Videos to explore the world, organized by curriculum, by grade, by location, for grades K-12th.
- Yellowstone National Park – Virtual tours of some of Yellowstone National Park’s main attractions around the park.
- Audible – Free audiobooks for kids and teens.
- CommonLit – Free reading passages and literacy resources in all literary and nonfiction genres for Grades 3-12.
- LA County Library – Sign up for a Digital Library Card to get free access to all of the Library’s digital offerings, including ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, TV, homework help, online classes, and more.
- PJ Library - sign up to receive free books and participate in virtual storytimes.
- Storytime at Los Angeles Public Library – Recorded storytime with the Los Angeles Public Library staff. There are also guided storytimes so that families can create their own version at home.
- Time for Kids – For elementary and middle school students, digital subscriptions are free for the duration of the school year. This is the first time that the magazine is fully accessible at home.
- Tumblebook – An online collection of animated, talking picture books, which teach young children the joys of reading. Books available in seven different languages. Free trail available.
- Baseball – Baseball – A Film by Ken Burns.
- Basketball – Free preview of NBA League Pass.
- Football – Complementary access to Game Pass.
- Hiking - A custom program designed by PopFit!
- Hockey – ‘Pause Binge’ replays of archived games.
- Swimming - A custom program designed by PopFit!
- Scratch (MIT Media Lab) – Learn to code for ages 8-16, but used by people of all ages. Program your own interactive stories, games, and animation and share with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.
- The Met Opera Stream – Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming.
- Playbill – Guide of Broadway plays and musicals available to watch online.
- Shakespeare’s Globe Theater – Theater lovers can browse a range of classroom activities and plays by Shakespeare.
Virtual Field Trips:
- Neurabilities Virtual Field Trips & Learning Experiences (infographic)
- NASA Live – NASA TV and live events streaming on a variety of space topics.
For ideas for virtual summer camps, visit this page.