One in every 68 US children has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Statistics vary across states and between boys and girls. But, it’s clear that providing the appropriate help and education for children with autism is becoming more and more crucial.
Game-based learning is an effective way to teach all children. But those with ASD are far more responsive when they learn through play. As such, toys for autistic children are a vital part of developing effective teaching methods.
Often, the best toys for autistic children are those which focus on sensory stimulation. These can help children with ASD to focus and relax, while also helping them improve various skills, such as problem-solving and fine motor skills.
Here’s a selection of some of the best sensory toys for autism that your child is sure to love.
1. Educational Insights Playfoam Set
This four-pack of colorful playfoam encourages children to develop fine motor skills as well as providing sensory stimulation. Your child can form the foam into shapes or squish it between their fingers. It doesn’t stick so it’s ideal for indoor or outdoor play, and it never dries out either.
2. Tangle Jr. Textured Sensory Fidget Toy
This classic autism toy features a range of textures to keep restless fingers busy including grooves, bumps, and smooth surfaces. Children love manipulating the tangle into different shapes, while the grooves, bumps, and smooth surfaces provide added interest for them as they play.
3. Chubuddy Pendants
Made from non-toxic materials, these pendants make suitable toys for children of all ages, while also serving as chew toys and fashion accessories, or “chewelry”. Sensory toys for autism like these are a great way to provide the necessary oral stimulation for children who have trouble with oral sensory processing.
4. Edushape Easy-Grip Soft Foam Sensory Puzzle Blocks
These colorful, soft foam puzzle blocks help to provide added visual stimulation for children with special needs while also engaging their sense of touch through the dotted texture of the blocks.
Through playing with them, your child will learn about shapes, colors, and textures. And the range of different blocks ensures this autism toy is great for boosting imagination.
5. ATic 12-Sided Fidget Cube
Fidget toys like this ATic cube are ideal for calming down a stressed child by helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. With a range of buttons, balls, switches, and textures, this toy – along with these tips for travel – is a must for keeping your child relaxed during long trips or outings.
6. Education Insights Teachable Touchables
This kit of autism sensory toys includes 20 touchable pillows with a range of different textures for tactile stimulation and learning. Your child can explore and describe silky, fluffy, and smooth textures, while the pairs of pillows make for a great matching game.
7. Fat Brain Toys Klickity
This sturdy, multi-sensory toy is ideal for developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and the principles of cause and effect. Different balls produce different reactions when you push them down, ensuring hours of fun and fascination for your child.
8. Adorox Liquid Bubble Drop Motion Wheel
This might look like a beautiful desk ornament, but it’s also a great visual stimulant for children with special needs. Children with ASD often look at moving objects or light to stay focused and feel relaxed. Thanks to its colorful bubbles of liquid that move down, watching this toy can help your child achieve that focus and calm down.
9. Abilitations Weighted Fuzzy Fin Turtle
Simplicity is often key when it comes to sensory toys for autism children. This turtle might look like an ordinary stuffed toy. But, its 5-pound weight and plush shell are great for calming down a restless or fidgety child and providing focus and stability.
10. Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Blocks
This simple wooden puzzle involves matching two block faces together to form a picture of a farm animal. As a reward, they get to hear the sound of the animal, providing auditory stimulation as well as a means to improve coordination and explore cause and effect.
11. ToyPlaya Special Autism Education Soothing Rain Tube
This rainmaker tube is specially designed for children with autism. As well as colorful beads for visual interest, it features the soothing sound of rain to relax your child while stimulating their auditory senses and improving their focus.
12. Fat Brain Toys Mini Spinny
This sturdy spinning toy features a corkscrew pole and a rainbow of rainbow spinners which are sure to attract the attention of children with autism. Simply flip the toy over to watch the colorful wheels spin as a way to teach cause and effect.
Plus, each piece includes a variety of textures to stimulate sensory play, while children who are sensitive to noise will appreciate the fact that it’s completely silent.
13. Yookidoo Flow N’ Fill Spout
This sensory toy guarantees hours of bath time fun. The swiveling spout, propeller, and tumblers offer lots of different ways for your child to enjoy changing and watching the flow of water. As such, it’s a great autism toy for encouraging the exploration of water, as well as teaching cause and effect.
14. Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board
This educational toy is ideal for children with autism. The board allows kids to practice dressing skills such as tying, buckling, and buttoning. As well as helping to improve your child’s fine motor skills, the toy allows for an exploration of textures and mechanisms that are sure to keep them entertained.
15. LAMAZE Hatching Henry
Young children with ASD will love playing peek-a-boo with Henry. Lift Henry’s shell to hear one of five different sounds. Then, after lifting 50 times, Henry rewards your child with a new special sound.
With a variety of textures, bright visual patterns, and sounds, this is a fun cause and effect toy for your child to play with.
The Best Sensory Toys for Autistic Children
Your child’s specific preferences might make some sensory toys for autistic children more suitable for them than others.
But, as this list shows, there are many innovative toys that can help your child develop a range of skills while also supporting their need for focus and relaxation.
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