Autistic children play differently than neurotypical children. As a result, they may have fewer opportunities to develop their social skills with others their age.
Playing is vital for social skill development; therefore, board games and card games are excellent methods to provide children with ASD with additional opportunities to practice their social skills while having fun with friends and family. We’ve compiled a list of the best board games for autism for you to try with your child!
How to Choose the Best Board Games for Autism
We chose the games below for a variety of reasons: Each game can be tailored to the needs of the children, friends, and family that play it. Some may necessitate a little more ingenuity and “rule-bending,” but that’s all part of the joy of playing! The only rules that must be followed are those that your family decides to obey.
We also tried to include games that could be played by more than two people whenever possible. Although there aren’t as many options for more than four players, we did our best to include as many as possible that could accommodate larger families.
The great majority of these games do not necessitate significant periods of focus. Although some may take longer, the majority may be completed in about 30 minutes (and in some cases, much less). All of these activities serve to enhance important skills that many autistic (and neurotypical) children lack. These activities teach children to take turns, cooperate, accept frustration, problem solve and even develop fine motor abilities. They’re entertaining!
It is crucial to note, however, that not every game is suited for every youngster. We advocate considering your child’s developmental stage and interests above and beyond most other variables, as we do with all children. Furthermore, we encourage playing these games with your child so that you can help modify and direct playtime as needed.
Best Board Games for Autism
All of these autism games are appropriate for children aged 3-5 (and up). This implies that some of the games may contain little bits that could pose a choking hazard, so they may not be acceptable if your child is still putting items in their mouth.
Each game specifies the number of players required as well as the manufacturer’s recommended minimum age. Remember that the recommended minimum age may or may not be appropriate for your child.
Many children may still require supervision and aid with playtime, so even if you aren’t playing these games with them, be close by to help guide play. As an extra benefit, none of these autism games require reading ability!
Chess is one of the world’s oldest games. The game’s rules are relatively simple and can be picked up quickly. It is an excellent method for teaching strategy, reasoning, and concentration. It also teaches children confidence and problem-solving skills.
Chess can also help you develop your hand-eye coordination, focus, and planning skills. It’s a fun game for kids of all ages.
Scrabble is a combination of a word game and a mental test. The game is relatively simple to master but leaves the player with a hard conundrum. On the game board, there are approximately 4,000 possible words and numerous methods to score. The game can also be played with one or two players. This is one of the best board games for children with autism.
3. Catan Settlers
Settlers of Catan is one of the greatest board games for autistic children since it is simple to learn yet difficult to master. The game is placed on a globe map, and resources such as sheep, minerals, and trade products are used to construct communities and roadways. It is an excellent game for teaching children about economics, geography, and trade.
4. Ladders and Chutes
Chutes and Ladders can be perplexing to look at at first. It may be tough to comprehend which way to move the pieces and when to ascend a ladder or down a chute, similar to Candyland. Your autistic youngster may struggle to understand that you win this game by chance, depending on the spinner and the arrangement of the ladders and chutes.
If your child is frustrated or dissatisfied throughout the game or is not in the lead, try encouraging them with words like, “Oh no; you got a slide!” to help them better comprehend their course.
5. Ride Ticket
Ticket to Ride frequently necessitates significant tactical and strategic decisions. It’s an excellent plan for children who enjoy trains. In the board game, players must collect numerous colored cards of various types to claim railroads across multiple continents. The longer the path, the more points you will receive.
The satisfaction of completing each adventure in this game is excellent for children with ASD. Although player involvement is required for the game, no eye contact is required. You can change the rules at first if required, but your youngster will soon be able to play without them.
Candyland’s purpose is to maneuver the piece through the squares while overcoming numerous obstacles along the route. Although it is a traditional piece, your child may struggle if they don’t know how to share the game pieces, when to go ahead or backward, or how to take turns.
By placing instructions on the board, you can help the child become acquainted with the game’s direction and avoid unpleasant circumstances. You can also include a picture of the child on their game marker, so they know which piece belongs to them.
If you want to help the youngster, have a physical item you can pass around to keep track of who is taking turns. It is without a doubt one of the best board games for autistic kids.
Uno is a card game played with a normal 52-card deck. Uno’s goal is to get rid of all of your cards before your opponent does. It is a simple game that may be enjoyed by families and groups of children. Uno is a terrific game for children of all ages, but it is especially beneficial for autistic children who may struggle with more complex games.
Splendor is a card game played on a board using a conventional deck of cards. It is a hybrid of a board game and a card game that can be difficult to learn but is simple to play. The game is set in a metropolis with numerous roads and destinations. It’s a fun game for both kids and adults.
9. The monopoly
Monopoly is a board game that has been popular for many years. It’s a traditional board game with streets and houses. The idea is to buy every property in a city and then charge the other players rent for using the same streets and houses.
Monopoly is an excellent game for people of all ages, but it is especially beneficial for autistic youngsters who may struggle with more sophisticated games.
10. Playdom: The Mystery of the Abbey
Mystery of the Abbey is a card game that can be played by families and parties. The game is set in a medieval abbey and has visuals of knights, monks, and abbey architecture. Mystery of the Abbey is a fun game to play on the go or while camping. It’s also one of the greatest board games for autistic kids who struggle with more sophisticated games.
11. Connect Four
Connect Four is a great board game for autistic children since it is simple and quick to learn. It’s meant to be played with two people and four game pieces. The first player begins by placing one of their colored pieces on the board.
If the second player follows suit, the two pieces will connect and form one of the four possible combinations on the board. The last two slots are where players can place their colored pieces to make their combinations. The goal of the game is for one player to connect four of their pieces to four of their opponent’s pieces, causing the board to vanish.
This is one of the easiest and greatest board games for autistic children to learn, yet many do not understand how it works.
12. Happy Salmon
This is a game that your child will enjoy, as the name says. The goal of this aquatic-themed game is to move your fish to the other side of the board. You accomplish this by placing a coin on a space, leaving only the opposing side of the coin on the board.
The difficulty arises when you must move the fish across the board without letting it fall into the water. Another advantage of this game is that it can be played in groups, making it an excellent team-building activity.
13. Life is a Game
The Game of Life is a board game representation of life. It contains a grid-like board where you may place your tokens and watch how they modify the board. From birth until death or retirement, and everything in between, the grid depicts people’s lives.
The challenge comes from ensuring that all of your tokens finish up in the same area as you move them around the grid to build your own story. This is an excellent game for families when one member is interested in biology and the entire family can discuss what life is like for people of various ages and stages.
Pandemic is a board game that requires your youngster to think and analyze circumstances. It is a cooperative game in which people collaborate to save the world from various diseases. The players collect disease information and then utilize the cards to halt the infections from spreading.
This game can be played in a group or by yourself. The game can be difficult because it requires a team to cooperate and coordinate their activities.
15. Sushi Go!
Sushi Go! requires rapid thinking. If you want to win, you must collect the correct combination of sushi rolls. You can get points by putting together the most sushi rolls or a whole plate of sashimi.
It’s a basic game that can be learned and played in twenty minutes. Children with autism acquire social skills by passing their cards to other participants.
To succeed, you must quickly examine your hand, decide on the type of sushi you want, and devise a strategy. This is one of the best board games for children with autism.
Other Considerations When Choosing ASD Games
Never panic if the first game you choose does not go as well as you had hoped! There are so many different types of tabletop and board games for autism that even if you don’t succeed the first time, chances are you’ll find one that works for your child and family if you try again.
And if, after experimenting with many types of games, your child appears to be drawn to a specific kind of gaming, don’t be afraid to seek out more of the same type of game! Some children may enjoy two-player strategy games such as Battleship or adaptive chess. Others may prefer card games or short-but-sweet games such as Thin Ice and Candy Land.
This is why we decided to include basic game-type information with each option on our list, making it easier to return and hunt for new, comparable games in the future.
Board games for autism assist children with ASD in dealing with frustration, aggression, and key skills. Teamwork, cooperation, observation skills, object recognition, attention to detail, and matching skills are among the key skills.
It is not all about studying and learning, but it is a lot of joy to spend time with your children. It is also a fantastic tool for enhancing educational and social behavior.
I Spy Dig, Pete the Cat, Hi-Ho Cherry-O, Mouse Trap, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Enchanted Forest, Pop’o’matic Trouble, The Ladybug, and Eye Found It are the greatest board games for kids with autism. The majority of these activities do not require reading and will help youngsters practice basic math skills such as addition and subtraction.
They are simple enough for people of all ages to learn and use to improve memory, cope with problems, and, most importantly, have fun while playing and learning.