Lesson 4: Independent Leisure Activities

hands making a small ceramic vase

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To learn and practice independent leisure activities in order to reduce stress levels.

Materials needed: Internet access, materials specific to student’s leisure interests


“Suppose you have an hour at home before you have to be somewhere in the evening. It’s been a long, stressful day at school and you want to enjoy some alone time. How would you want to spend your time? (Pause for response.) Today we are learning about ways to spend alone time in order to relax, recharge, and reduce stress.”

Discussion: Need for “Down Time”

“You’re at school Monday through Friday, you have homework in the evenings and on the weekends. At your age, life requires much time, focus, energy, and determination. When you work a full-time job in the future, the hours you invest will be similar, if not significantly longer, at least 40 hours per week. That’s certainly a lot of “on time.” To lower stress levels and live a balanced life, “down time” is necessary. It is re-energizing for most people to spend some time alone, and for others, it is at least relaxing.”

Exercise: Brainstorm Leisure Activities

“Let’s brainstorm a list of possible leisure activities that provide “down time” or a distraction from the demands of school and work.” Suggestions include listening to music, reading or listening to audio books, watching a movie or sports game, creating artwork, gaming, baking, walking, exercising, sitting with a cup of coffee or smoothie, etc.

Discussion: Interests Determine Leisure Activities

Communicate your general interests to your student, followed by related leisure activities you pursue. (Example: “I appreciate culture and artwork. If I have a free Saturday, one of my favorite activities is taking pictures of new places.”)

Explain that interests are reflected in leisure activities. If sports are a personal interest, a relaxing or recharging activity is likely watching sporting events on TV or listening to play-by-plays on the radio.

Help student acknowledge his interests and determine related leisure activities.

Exercise: Equipping Student with Skills

Your student may be unfamiliar with common leisure activities or may need training in independently pursuing the activities. He should take the lead in self-reflection. What skills does he need to master in order to participate in desired leisure activities?

Assist your student in coordinating opportunities in the near future to learn leisure skills or take part in leisure activities. Examples of opportunities: Taking students to a hockey game, teaching the use of a radio with headset to listen to plays, baking a favorite dessert, demonstrating exercises that can be done at home, enrolling in a cake decorating class or painting lessons, exploring tactile art, or making smoothies.


“Today we examined your interests and determined leisure activities you may enjoy. Next, we will determine the skills you will want to master in order to experience the leisure activities independently. You took initiative in the learning process by organizing learning opportunities.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: