Home Economics in Everyday Life

Today, I was asked by one of my wonderful families for age appropriate ideas for a child who is nonverbal, impulsive, sometimes aggressive, often curious, fun, and almost always active. Basically, one of my goals is to always try to engage people in activities as close to age level as possible with adaptations/ accommodations. I feel that they are most respectful and usually the most intriguing to the person.

Basically, for an older child (e.g., 7 yrs+) I often think of everyday activities when asked about age appropriate ideas. This family is homeschooling, so I suggested a period of everyday for “home economics.” (If you go to Pinterest and search for “home economics,” you will find a lot of great visuals and ideas.)

Here are a few that I chose from my thinking, expertise, and simple internet search to get my ideas flowing.

Home Economics in Everyday Life

I highly recommend having a period of everyday when you work on “home economics” or things that are required for all of us to independently live and thrive. These include food, nutrition, health, personal finance, textiles and clothing, household management, cleaning, fixing, laundry, making a bed, standing in line to make a purchase and more. If everyday, you are choosing to focus on life-long independence, you will have a more independent and happier child of any age. So here goes, these are for someone who is nonverbal, impulsive, sometimes aggressive, curious, fun, and active….and just to get you thinking of age appropriate but adapted activities…. if you have your doubts whether your child CAN participate in any or all of these, consider getting in touch with us for family consultation. We would love to help you involve your child more in your everyday lives as a family. And life is about fun, too… these are activities are just those requested today by a family with whom I work. Don’t worry, we support you to make these fun AND play as a family, too.

The following are ideas per area of daily living and are suggested for you to first do together in a partnership with your child of any age and slowly transfer responsibility to your child/sibling/friend you are guiding. This is NOT an all inclusive list. If your child has ever had a Vineland or similar assessment, it is a great place to go for more ideas…. as is the internet, of course.

Please use this list to generate your own plans for your child. I recommend selecting 2-3 to target in a week or two or even a month before moving on to another one. If you try to do all of them all at once, none of them will truly happen. I promise.

Food prep

  • Tearing lettuce for a salad
  • Washing vegetables and fruits
  • Pouring water into cups for a meal
  • Pouring salad dressing onto a salad
  • Shaking up a sauce or dressing to mix in a closed jar
  • Using an egg slicer
  • Stirring something on the stove (with appropriate safety measures, of course) or in a bowl for later baking

Clothing related

  • Laundry:
    • Collecting from rooms
    • Sorting
    • Putting into washer
    • Adding soap
    • Turning on washer
    • Moving from washer to dryer
    • Turning on dryer
    • Taking out of dryer
    • Folding
    • Sorting
    • Putting away
  • Sewing a button on something (yes, I really suggested that. With your supervision, of course)
  • Sorting out clothes that are too small into a bin to give away


  • Dishes
  • A sink
  • A window
  • The floor
  • A table
  • Dusting
  • Vacuuming
  • Sweeping
  • Mopping
  • Putting items away

Car care

  • Vacuuming out a car
  • Washing windows
  • Washing the car
  • Putting air in tires


  • Responding to the command to “stop!” (can do in play or on a walk or when running together)
  • Responding to the command “danger!”
  • Following street signs for walk, stop, etc.


  • Making a list at home to then find the items at a store (have the person carry the list, please)
  • Waiting in line (yep. I know this one is hard)
  • Paying with cash
  • Paying with a debit or credit card


  • Riding the bus
  • Paying/showing ID to driver
  • Finding a seat
  • Indicating your stop
  • Using a map on a phone or printed from the web with highlighting/etc for your particular trip


  • Cooking scrambled eggs (safety measures in place, of course)
  • Microwaving something
  • Pouring a little of something into a bowl, cup, or onto a plate

Home Maintenance (all with supervision as appropriate, please)

  • Drilling
  • Sawing
  • Cutting with scissors
  • Gluing


  • Thank yous – saying or signing “thank you” appropriately and even “writing” and handing people thank you notes
  • Saying/signing “please” appropriately
  • Saying/signing “your welcome”
  • Sharing

Do you have others you’d like to see on this list? Let me know! barbara@synergyautismcenter.com

Have a great day!

Barbara Avila