Autism Toys and Gift Ideas
The Best Toys for Autistic Children
As a child psychiatrist, I have tried and tested a lot of games and toys with my patients and my own children. For children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, choosing toys that they can not only enjoy, but that can be therapeutic is very important. Choosing the right toys for kids with autism can be crucial in promoting their development and engagement. Sensory toys, for example, can be especially helpful for children with autism as they can provide a calming and engaging sensory experience. Toys that offer a variety of textures, colors, and sounds can help children with sensory processing difficulties regulate their sensory input and develop their sensory skills. Toys that promote pretend play can also be beneficial for children with autism as it can help them develop their social skills and improve their communication. Additionally, toys that encourage movement and physical activity can be helpful in promoting gross motor skills and overall physical health. Overall, selecting toys that are tailored to a child’s individual needs and interests can be an important step in supporting their development and promoting their engagement.
You can also check out my list of games for autistic children here.
Here are some toys that are great for children with autism:
- BunMo Pop Tubes Sensory Toys. These are wonderful for children to fidget with, they provide great sensory input in the form of both sensation and soft sound.
- Therapy Hammock Swing. These soft, stretchy hanging swings provide therapeutic effects for children with autism. Just be sure to hang them securely and always supervise use!
- Classic Pin Games. These are fun for ages 4 and up, both for sensory play and for creative play by placing objects underneath and having them guess what the object is.
- Foam Pogo Jumpers. These are quiet and easy to transport, and they won’t damage your floors like a regular pogo stick. A great way to get some physical energy out.
- Glow in the Dark Stretchies. These are just like their non-glow counterparts, they are squishy and stretchy and great for fidgeting. Easy to transport and travel with too!
- A Zen Garden. A tabletop zen garden is a great way to relax or wind down as needed. Creating soothing patterns in the sand is sure to ease some anxiety.
- Rain Cloud Bath Toy. This simple but fun toy is incredibly soothing to children, they can fill it and watch the rain come down over and over in the bath!
- Fidget Cube (Infinity cube). I like this cube in particular because it is more durable and has some weight to it so it provides some comfort to those children who are soothed by some weight.
- Magnetic Blocks. These are not only fun and portable, but they can be used in so many ways depending on the child. They can be used on a flat metal surface like a fridge or on a table to make something 3 dimensional. Because they are magnetic, they snap together very easily meaning less frustration compared to other types of blocks.
- Educational Mats. These are great for language development as well as learning about science! They are great for long waits at restaurants and doctor’s offices.
- Doodle Tablet. These are great for kids with autism who like to doodle or scribble, they can be erased with the touch of a button! Helps with fine motor skills and very soothing.
- Sensory Sock. These have been around for a while, but some of my patients with autism absolutely love them. Soft and stretchy place to play and be soothed.
- Chew Necklace. I have many patients who are soothed by chewing something. This necklace and many others like it are silicone and have a safety snap on them. Also great for fidgeting.
- Rocket ship Play Tent. Great for a safe and quiet space if your child wants some alone time. I suggest putting a few soothing items inside for them for when they need a break.
- Vibrating Soothing Pillow. For some children with autism, vibration is very soothing and calming. This pillow can travel and provides some weight and vibration.
- Liquid Filled Tiles. These are so fun and versatile, you can use them on a table or by stepping on them on a floor. The sensory and visuals of these is a huge hit with autistic children.
- Wooden Peg Cards. These are great Toys for Autistic Children for learning counting and numbers, and can also be used for building and stacking as well as organizing and putting in different orders.
- Silicone Sensory Textured Circles. These super soft silicone circles are fun for kids with autism who like to feel different textures. They can touch them, step on them, and the best part of this set is that it comes with small and large circles.
- Slimysand. This ooey gooey sandy goodness is so much fun and provides great sensory as well as fine motor benefits.
- Kinetic Table. You can put almost anything in these for endless options, like sand, water, water beads, kinetic sand, slime, oobleck, small toys, marbles, bubbles, and more.
- Therapy Putty. This is a harder type of putty that is great for fidgeting but also for strengthening the hand muscles to help with fine motor skills.
- Buckle Toy. This is great for working on motor skills like buckling, zipping, lacing, buttoning, and clipping and it doubles as a fidget and travel toy. A great Toy for Autistic Children and really all children!
- Puzzle Eggs. These are great learning tools, as well as sensory toys. 3-d puzzles the size of a real egg. One of our favorite toys for Autistic Children.
- Busy Books. These soft and transportable play books are great for kids of all ages. Soft and creative, they are great for imaginative play at home and traveling.
- My Feelings Mirror.
This mirror helps kids see and recognize and even imitate different feelings with facial expressions.
- Magnetic Maze. This maze is both soothing and educational for kids.
- Touch activated Lite Brite. Your child can create art and even animate lights if they enjoy color and light.
Dr. Sean Paul, MD is a child psychiatrist who specializes in evaluating and treating children with autism spectrum disorders. For more reading on Autism, check out our articles on sleep issues in autism, and behavioral issues in autism. *We do receive a small fee if you purchase an item from this page, but we put that right back into creating more new content for readers like you.