For many parents with special needs children, finding engaging lesson plans can be difficult. A lot of moms and dads have chosen to homeschool their kids to ensure that the child’s needs are met, especially those children who are nonverbal or have issues with being in a loud, busy environment, so fortunately there are many great lesson plans available on blogs and sites around the web. It can be difficult to narrow them down and find the perfect plan for your child, however, so it’s important to sit down first and make a list of all the learning goals you and your child have. Think about his specific needs, challenges, and interests and research lessons that he’ll find engaging.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Sensory table

A sensory table is a wonderful tool to have for a special needs child. Fill it with water, sand, dry rice, cotton balls, and other textured items and allow your child to explore and create. In the summer, this table can be kept outside for a cool break from the heat; use gallon-sized resealable bags and fill with ice cubes, then place on the table and have your child manipulate it with his fingers to see how the ice breaks up and returns to liquid. This is a great way to help your child work on fine motor skills.

Get creative

Have your child create a self-portrait with the help of a mirror, and consider doing one yourself to show him what to look for. Explain that he needs to look at relationships, such as where his nose is placed on his face in relation to his eyes. Have him fill in details, such as his eye color.

What’s in the bag?

Some children with special needs have trouble with the idea that others have information they don’t, so a game of “What’s In The Bag” is a perfect way to explain this concept. Fill a bag with small toys, snacks, crayons, and other small items that your child is interested in and have him ask questions about what’s inside. This is a great game for communication skills.

Name the order

Using printables–or your own simple drawings–cut out pictures of three things that have a specific order. For instance, mimic your child’s evening routine with pictures of a bed, a toothbrush, and pajamas or a storybook. Have him put the pictures in order the way he does them.

Teach about personal space

Some children on the autism spectrum have trouble with personal space. Create two red stoplights and two green lights out of construction paper and give your child one of each, then keep two for yourself. Move around the room and have him do the same; when he gets too close, put up your red stoplight and encourage him to do the same. This teaches kids about boundaries.