Natural Environment Teaching: Resources for Building Pretend Play

Today on Turn Autism Around®, it is all about play skills! I am a big proponent of table time, and often I see kids naturally gain play skills as their language skills increase. But today, I’m focusing on natural environment teaching. This approach is all about seamlessly weaving teaching moments into a child’s everyday life, whether they’re at home or in a classroom. So come join me as I share one of my favorite books Playtime Social Time and how you can use this free resource in the natural environment to build play and social skills.


  • Importance of natural environment teaching
  • How to build play and social skills
  • How to use Playtime Social Time FREE book
  • Organizing play materials
  • Using play materials in the natural environment
  • Video example of a play session

Pretend Play

Let’s dive into pretend play, as today I’ll be sharing some great ways to boost these essential skills for both parents and professionals. I have used a fantastic resource that you can download for free from the University of Minnesota, Playtime Social Time with my clients for years. It is a really fun resource for teaching pretend play.  I love it because I am not super creative when it comes to creating play scenes and it includes examples of how to set the play up, including materials you will need! 

Get “Playtime Social Time” now!

Speaking of materials, I will share with you ways that you can organize your play materials at home so that you can get right down to teaching! Clear bins, sorted by play type is the way to go. So, for example, you might have a bin for birthday party play, a bin for doctor play, and so on! 

You will also get a sneak peak into an old session I had with a client where we are playing the birthday party scene from this book. I sat down with Cody and his sister and we practiced natural environment play scenes. I have never shared this video outside of my online courses, so you will get an inside peak to what type of content is in my courses. 

You won’t want to miss the considerations I have and things you should do before you start teaching play and social skills. 

So, if you’re eager to learn more about teaching play and social skills to children with autism, I invite you to tune in to this episode. Get ready to soak in all the insights I’ve got to share!

natural environment teaching