Raising a child with autism is a labor of love. You have to be understanding of their quirks and antics while ensuring children get the playtime and learning they need at their young age. And for that, it’s awesome to treat your little ones to the best sensory toys for autism.
Toys like fidget spinners and stress balls have grown in popularity in the last decade among stressed-out adults, but they started as sensory toys to let those with autism calm down and relax.
In the same way, there are toys for toddlers and young kids with autism to help hone their developmental and motor skills while stimulating their senses. These autistic sensory toys come in all shapes and sizes but ultimately have the same goal—to allow your child to relax, have fun, and learn.
Here are some of the best sensory toys for kids with autism:
Best Sensory Toy for Autism Reviews
1. Lesong Water Beads Bean Bags
First up are these colorful water bead bean bags by Lesong, which promote physical and cognitive activity while stimulating the child’s visual senses.
This pack comes with six polypropylene bean bags in different shapes, including a square, star, circle, triangle, hexagon, and rectangle. Each bean bag is filled with water beads of a different color. These bean bags make it easier for kids to learn about different colors and shapes by seeing and touching them.
Since the water beads are sealed shut inside the polypropylene bags, you don’t have to worry about your child choking on them. They’re completely safe because they are very durable and stay intact, even if your little bundle of joy is a biter!
The bags are soft and squishy to the touch, so if your child tends to fidget when they’re scared or nervous, they can hold on to them to help decompress their emotions. For that reason, these toys can provide relief from anxiety and stress.
You can even use these toys to promote physical activity in the great outdoors. They’re perfect for playing catch in the backyard, which also helps enhance your kid’s hand-eye coordination.
2. Fi-gent Sensory Fidget Toys
If you’re looking to give some sensory toys to a child as a gift but have no idea what to get them, you can check out this collection of fidget toys and stretchable toys by Fi-gent.
This bundle has not one, not two, but over ten sensory toys for children with autism and anxiety. It’s great for picky, indecisive children that want different toys every day.
The box contains many visually stimulating toys, like a colorful liquid timer that moves and glows like a lava lamp. This is great for providing kids with downtime to give them clarity and focus when they’re in distress.
The box also has lots of objects they can feel and squeeze, all in different sizes and textures to stimulate their tactile senses. There are mochi animal squishies, and stress balls to help reduce anxiety. Colorful slime is another fun and silly toy to play with.
There are also some toys to help hone their cognitive skills with some brain activity. These include a DNA ball and a magic rainbow cube to help them learn colors and logic.
Because the box contains so many options, it would be a great addition to any special needs classroom.
3. Ipidipi Toys Light-Up Wand
If your child gravitates more towards bright, colorful lights, then this light-up wand by Ipidipi Toys might be perfect for them.
This wand contains a plastic bulb with LED lights inside. When activated, the lights inside the bulb spin and create many different color lines that are so enchanting and mesmerizing.
When used in a dimly lit room, the toy’s lights can create special effects and patterns on the walls. This is sure to amaze any curious little boy or girl. Because it stimulates the sense of sight and piques curiosity, it calms and soothes the child, allowing them to focus clearly.
The wand has an easy-to-hold handle that allows your kid to bring it around wherever they go.
This wand isn’t just a toy. It can be used for costumes when your little one gets invited to kids’ parties and wants to dress up as a magician or fairy godmother.
The toy comes packed in a high-quality box, so you don’t have to worry about the bulb cracking or the handle detaching while it’s in transit.
4. ToyerBee Sensory Fidget Toys
If you’re looking for more bang for your buck and don’t want to settle on giving your child just one sensory toy to manage their autism, you can pick up this set of sensory toys for autism children by ToyerBee.
It contains a total of nineteen fidget toys your kid will love, including fidget spinners, slinkies, squishy mochi animals, and stretchy strings. It gives amazing value because you get so many toys in one set. Your kid will thank you for this!
Most of the toys in this box are fidget toys, which means they help your child cope with any anxiety or feelings of distress they can’t verbalize. They can squeeze and pull on these toys to help them feel more relaxed and calm.
The box also has colorful puzzles that come in the form of magic cubes and rainbow balls. While these visually appeal to kids because of the bright colors, they also encourage kids to develop problem-solving skills.
Each toy is made only with non-toxic and hypoallergenic materials to ensure your kid’s safety. The toys are also quite small, so your child can easily have them in pocket wherever they go.
5. Impresa Monkey Noodle
Does your kid love pulling and stretching objects to calm down? Maybe they’ll love this set of five colorful stretchy “noodles” by Impresa to manage their stress.
These “noodles” are stretchy little strings that you can pull, twirl, tie in knots and ribbons—basically, do whatever you want with them. They’re durable and don’t snap apart even if you pull hard.
This pack of five stretchy strings all have different colors, so they’re easily a visual stimulant for your child. They’re super flexible and can stretch up to eight feet long, so they’re fantastic for both fidget and tactile stimulation. Your little ones can twirl and pull for fun or even play tug of war with these.
This set of strings allows any child to stop and calm down for a while because it’s a very intriguing set of toys. A child with autism can play with these to practice focusing on one or a few objects, therefore, developing their ability to focus and concentrate.
The strings are made only of hypoallergenic materials and never contain phthalates and latex. This ensures the safety of your children and that the strings won’t irritate their skin.
6. ArtCreativity Pin Art Game
Many children with autism are artists at heart and love to think creatively. If you want your child to be able to express themselves, try gifting them with this set of two pin art game boards to encourage them to create their own “art.”
This board allows your child to create their own 3D pictures by pushing on metal pins (that are very safe for kids). They can do so by using their hands, face, or just pushing random pins to develop abstract designs.
This pin art game is awesome because it inspires your child’s artistic side to come out. You get to bond with them while playing with a cool, new toy, while you do your part in encouraging creative thinking.
The board also provides some tactile stimulation. That’s because the texture of the pins is unique against the board, so this is something that may fascinate your kid.
Your kid’s art can last years if they wish. The plastic frame of this board is made to be very durable. Meanwhile, the metal pins ward off any rusting and also resist bending.
7. Infantino Sensory Blocks
Lego is one of the world’s top toy brands for a reason—kids love building blocks! It’s a creative way to let their imagination run wild. This Infantino set of sensory blocks make it easy even for toddlers, with or without autism, to use their imagination and creativity to play with blocks at a tender age.
The set contains 24 blocks that are easy for young children to manipulate. You can put the blocks together easily because of the press and stay design. That means that you don’t have to make sure the blocks are aligned, unlike traditional block toys.
You can put them together at any position and direction, whether it’s one stacked on top of another or attaching them sideways.
The blocks have a different color on each side, so it’s a great way to show your child several colors. They’re very appealing to the eye and can stimulate their sense of sight.
It’s also perfect for tactile stimulation. The blocks have a unique interlocking pattern on each side that makes the press and stay mechanism possible. This pattern gives the blocks a nice texture through which children can run their fingers.
8. Niezizhie Push Pop Bubble Toy
Popping bubble wrap can be super satisfying when you’re having a stressful day. This innovative toy by Niezizhie attempts to mimic that super calming habit many of us have with this push-pop bubble fidget toy for kids and adults.
It’s a great way to get someone with autism to calm down without having to look for some bubble wrap you have onhand.
This fidget toy is super easy to reuse. All you have to do is pop the bubbles on one side, flip the tray over, and start all over again!
It’s also less noisy than real bubble wrap, which tends to make a loud popping noise each time you push a bubble. This toy omits a smaller, quieter popping sound, which many children with autism may appreciate.
The toy is made of silicone, so it’s super easy to clean and maintain. Just a quick rinse with water, and your child can have their new favorite toy to play with again.
I also like that the toy comes in bright colors, which are very attractive to the eye. This helps stimulate your child’s sight.
9. Small Fish Sensory Toy
These stretchy strings by Small Fish are unique because it isn’t just your ordinary, boring string. It has a unique unicorn head and tail to it in bright pastel colors. This helps work your child’s imagination, making for a fun and memorable playtime.
The unicorn’s “body” has spikes on it, giving the strings a nice texture that kids can touch and play with for some tactile stimulation.
These strings can stretch up to eight feet long. They’ll remain sturdy and bounce back into shape no matter how much you twist, pull, tie, and twirl. They’re made of thermoplastic rubber that is very sturdy and durable, so you can rest assured that these will last a long time.
The strings are a great way to encourage your kid to stop fidgeting, which often leads to hurting themselves with hair pulling and scratching. They can use these strings to vent their anger and soothe anxiety, making them perfect for toys for nonverbal autism.
They also improve your child’s hand and grip strength because of the pulling and stretching involved.
10. HAN-MM Preschool Busy Book
Many children with autism do their best learning when they see the colors, shapes, and information they have to remember. HAN-MM came up with this book and toy hybrid to encourage fun learning during playtime, designed especially for visual learners.
This book has ten pages with different themes. Some pages are for the alphabet, colors, numbers, while others are for puzzles and completing pictures. That way, your child learns the basics to improve their cognitive skills and develop their problem-solving prowess.
The book includes velcro pieces you can attach and detach from the pages, kind of like stickers. It makes learning a lot more engaging because instead of just reading, the kids can tack on the pieces on the page themselves.
This is a fun, innovative way to encourage kids to learn but disguise it as playing puzzle games and sticking stickers. Your child will be excited to learn because they’ll have fun doing it.
This book is a lot of fun to go through with children with special needs, but cleaning up can be a hassle. There are too many velcro pieces included in this kit.
11. Scientoy Fidget Toy Set
The biggest fidget toy set in this review is brought to you by Scientoy. This toy set has a whopping 35-piece collection of toys for young children with autism. There’s always something for a child of any age.
There is a wide selection of toys in this set. It contains slinkies, fidget spinners, magic cubes, and soft, squishy balls to help eliminate stress and anxiety. Because of the variety in the box, it’s an excellent set for any kid who gets sick of toys fast and can’t wait till they can move on to a new one to play with.
I love this collection because it has the right combination of all the senses that need stimulation. There are balls and bubble timers that show you awesome colors for visual stimulation. There are also toys with textures for textile learning.
Some toys help hone your child’s skills in problem-solving, like the magic cube or the puzzle ball.
The toys are lightweight and small, so they’re easy to carry around. They all fit in one sturdy toy box for easy portability too.
12. zeBrush Push Pop Fidget Toy
Unlike the other bubble wrap-like fidget toys we’ve already seen on this list, this push-pop bubble tray by zeBrush comes in a unique hexagon shape, which can be visually stimulating for any child because it’s different from the usual.
It has the same mechanism as other bubble-popping toys. You pop as many bubbles as you want and flip the tray over to start again. It’s a great way to reduce anxiety and calm down for a little bit, so it’s perfect for kids with ADHD.
The toy is made with a safe and washable silicone material that is easy to squish, pull, and bend in any direction. It goes back to its shape because of the rebounding material, so you can treat it like any other stress ball.
This toy is incredible for anyone experiencing a lot of hyperactivity and anxiety, even if you don’t have autism. For kids, in particular, it’s a fun way to practice how to focus and concentrate.
Because this toy is a one-piece item and has no loose parts, it’s easy to bring around anywhere you do.
What to Look for When Buying Sensory Toys for Autism
Helps enhance their motor and cognitive skills
Sensory toys should inspire active play, so your child should want to get up on their feet and move around when having the toy on hand. When you play games like catch or tug of war with sensory toys, you’re helping your child develop their motor skills, including hand-eye coordination.
You should also make sure children have toys to hone their cognitive skills, like problem-solving. Encourage some brain activity with toys that allow them to think, like puzzles, magic color cubes, and more.
Allows the child to calm down, de-stress, and be free of anxiety
Fidget toys are an example of sensory toys that allow children to feel more at ease and relaxed. Give your child a fidget toy they can focus on and maneuver while trying to process the anxiety.
Many fidget toys are great for de-stressing because it forces a child to focus on the toy instead of whatever is triggering their emotions.
Stimulates the sense of sight with bright, fun colors
Stimulating your child’s sense of sight helps their developmental skills by a ton. You can give them visually appealing toys, like those with bright, vivid colors. Go for toys that you think will be attractive to children’s eyes, like pretty lights or pastels.
Squishy, stretchy toys they can use to express anger and anxiety
Squishy and stretchy fidget toys are a good way to express anger, fear, and anxiety. Many kids with autism don’t know how to verbalize how they feel, so when they’re angry or anxious, they could end up hurting themselves with scratching, hair pulling, and even skin picking.
But when you give them a nice fidget toy to pull and twist however they please, they’re expressing their anger without putting themselves in harm’s way. Instead of throwing tantrums, they’ll learn to calm down in the face of anxiety and channel their emotions into fidget toys.
Has different textures to stimulate the tactile senses
Another way to stimulate your child’s senses is by giving them many textures to touch. This piques their curiosity, which leads to cognitive activity. It also makes them keen on learning what the textures mean and discovering new ones.
Fun to play with mom and dad
If you love to bond as a family during playtime, treat your child with a set of toys that the whole family can enjoy. One example is water bead bean bags, which you can use to play catch with your kid in the backyard. You can also opt for a set of toys so that you can guide your child through each one.
Safe to play with even with clumsy hands
Toys should always be safe to use, especially since you’re dealing with children. Make sure the materials used to make their sensory toys are non-toxic and hypoallergenic so that your kid will stay safe as they play and you don’t have to worry about any bad skin reactions.
It’s also crucial that the toys don’t break easily. Don’t go for glass or anything that can shatter into sharp pieces that can end up hurting your baby. Go for durable rubbers and silicones that can stretch and bend without snapping. These materials don’t break even if a child accidentally drops them too, which is a plus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What support does an autistic child need?
A child with autism needs the highest level of support from their family members and peers. They’re at a point in their lives where they should be honing their developmental skills; but because autistic children face more obstacles than most kids, they could have a tougher time coping.
The biggest type of support a child with autism needs is emotional support from their parents. Moms and dads should always be there to teach them the things they need to learn to better themselves, be it their cognitive and motor skills or coping with high-stress situations that are common for kids with autism.
Parents should also provide a lot of guidance. They’re their children’s first teachers, so it’s important that they start learning about colors, shapes, and sounds at home.
One way for parents to guide their children, and at the same time, allow them to have fun is by surrounding them with happy sensory toys. These become a source of active learning and bonding so that kids never feel alone and can keep up with real-world skills.
What are the most trusted brands for sensory toys for autism?
Some of the most trusted brands that always put out the best sensory toys for autism include Lesong, Fi-gent, Ipidipi Toys, Scientoy, Small Fish, and Niezizhie.
While they might not be huge household name brands, these toy labels always deliver effectiveness and quality.
What are the most popular sensory toys?
One of the most popular sensory toys for autism is fidget spinners. These look like tiny wheels with blades coming out of them (never sharp; don’t worry). You put them in between your fingers and use a third finger to make it spin.
It was initially designed for kids and teens with autism who needed a way to calm down when they were in distress or high-stress situations. But over the years, even adults started using them to alleviate any anxiety.
Another sensory toy kids also love is stretchy strings. These are rubber strings that stretch out very far apart, so you can twist, pull, and even tie them in knots or use them to play tug of war. It’s another fun way to keep children from fidgeting.
A stress ball, another popular sensory toy, is common even in families without any members with special needs. It’s a ball that’s usually made of foam. You squeeze tight when you need to relax and release some steam. For children, it also helps out with developing their hand and grip strength.
How do sensory toys help autism?
Sensory toys stimulate an autistic child’s senses, be it visual, auditory, tactile, and others. This helps with their brain development and also allows them to learn more about things, such as colors, sounds, shapes, and textures.
Another attribute of sensory toys is that they help children with autism calm down when they’re in distress. They can fidget with different textures or focus on pretty colors to allow them to pause and breathe. Sensory toys are a great way to rid children of pent-up anxieties they can’t express.
These toys also teach children with autism how to concentrate on specific objects. This is something quite difficult to master if you’re a young child battling with autism.
Why are sensory toys important for autism?
They’re essential because of the two critical objectives of raising children with autism: playing and learning.
They allow these children to play and have fun as any other child would. But at the same time, they can hone their skills in so many different facets of life and learn how to cope with their anxieties.
What should I do if my child doesn’t respond well to a sensory toy?
The best thing to do is to try and figure out why they don’t like the toy. You can do this by asking them or doing your best to pick up cues from their body language. Are they afraid of spinning lights? Do sharp corners trigger them?
Once you figure out why your child might not be too keen on the sensory toy, find a new one better suited for their preferences. Remember, sensory toys are supposed to lessen anxiety, not induce it.
How many sensory toys should a child with autism have?
There isn’t any limit as to how many sensory toys a child with autism can have. If your child responds well to many toys, then you know that their senses are being stimulated, and they’re having fun playing.
How do I make a sensory toy?
If you have a crafty and artistic side, you can create homemade sensory toys for autism. You can use whatever you have lying in the house to come up with something you and your kid will love.
For example, you can use an old cardboard box and transform it into a colorful little playing nook for your child. Paint it with bright, pastel colors to be more attractive to your child’s eyes and be visually stimulating. It’s a good way to introduce colors to your child.
You can also create a collection of textures on the cardboard box that your little one can feel and explore. Stick on textured items like faux fur, dried oats, sandpaper, and more. Your kid will love running their fingers through the different textures, and you can do your part by explaining why those items feel so different from each other.
Are sensory toys for autism available in all countries?
Yes, you can get sensory toys wherever you are in the world. There are children with autism in every corner of the world, so there should be toys available near you.
Granted, we can anticipate that many of the bigger sensory toy stores and markets are in the U.S. and Canada, where sensory toys are extremely popular. But these toys are gaining popularity everywhere in the world too, so you may be able to find a store that can ship toys like these to you from whatever continent.
If you can’t find a store or online shop that sells sensory toys for autistic children where you’re from, you always have the option of ordering online and having it shipped to your home address. That way, you won’t be limited to the toys around your area, and you can choose a toy that will address your child’s specific needs.
Can sensory toys be used by older kids and teens too?
Yes, there are even autism sensory toys for adults. These include fidget spinners and squishy stress balls that help alleviate anxiety and high-stress situations. They’re very helpful for those who need help controlling their emotions in certain situations, so it’s great to have them on hand at all times.
That said, grown-ups with autism can also use sensory toys made for teens and kids if it’s what helps them focus and calm down, especially if it’s what they grew up playing with.
There are no rules regarding what autism sensory toys you can play with at what age. As long as it helps you focus, concentrate, and manage your distress, then it’s perfect for you.
Some sensory toys made for children are even suitable for older men and women who have Alzheimer’s because these autism toys stimulate brain activity.
Where can I buy sensory toys for autism?
You can buy sensory toys in plenty of toy stores near you. While there will rarely be a section or aisle dedicated only to sensory toys, you can explore the toy store with your child to see what exactly they’ll be attracted to.
Another option is to buy sensory toys online. When you shop for toys in an online marketplace, like Amazon, you’ll have way more options as to the brand and toy type you want to purchase.
You’ll see more videos and reviews about these products, so you know exactly how they work and what other special needs children think about them. You can even do online research on sensory toys by age, so you know what your child needs at this stage of their lives.
With the best sensory toys for autism, you’re able to help your child grow and hone the skills they need to exercise their brain and have the chance to let loose and have fun during playtime.
It’s tough growing up with obstacles, but with the right support and love from mom and dad and fun sensory calming toys, your little one’s childhood will be filled with happy memories.
At the same time, they can stay on track with how well they perceive sounds and sights and how they handle anxiety-inducing social situations. Give your child one of these toys today!
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