The top-rated sensory toys can stimulate one or more of the five senses: taste, hearing, smell, sight, and touch. When kids play with these, it engages their senses and develops their physical and mental abilities. Through the various temperatures, weights, textures, and vibrations, sensory toys stimulate the tactical system, which is helpful to children with special needs. Moreover, the best sensory toys for toddlers provide a safe and natural way to become calm and focused.
There are occupational therapists or special education teachers that can aid parents in choosing the right sensory toys for a 3-year-old.
However, there are other factors that you should consider before making a purchase. It is not that complicated as long as you know what to look for in a sensory toy. To assist you in making a sound decision, I have put together some product reviews and buying guides.
Top Picks Sensory Toy
1. Small Fish Sensory Fidget Toy Set
Calming sensory toys benefit toddlers of all ages and abilities. These types of toys can help aid children’s early growth.
The 25 included items in this product makes it a complete set that can be anyone’s first sensory toy pack. Right out of the box, we got a liquid motion timer, six spiky balls, a snap-and-click snake, three marble and mesh, a squeeze bean, a magic cube, a stress ball, six stretchy strings, and two flip chains. Besides, it comes with a storage box making it easy to store everything away.
I can trust that it is long-lasting since it is made from top quality materials. In detail, each fidget toy is manufactured from durable material that is safe to use. Moreover, it has CPSIA and ASTM F963 certificates proving that it passed the international toy standard for safety.
By merely squeezing and stretching the toys in this set, kids and adults can have relief from stress and anxiety. Each item helps release and soothe tension, thus providing a relaxing and entertaining time. Furthermore, these kits can aid children with sensory processing disorder, as well as ADHD/ADD and OCD.
There are many toys to choose from in this set. Hence, each of our family members can have their own sensory toy. It is shareable and travel-friendly as it fits in pockets and bags. I bring it anywhere with me so I have something to give to my son when he needs to work his hands.
- Easy to store
- Made of top-quality materials
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Travel-friendly kit
- It doesn’t last very long
2. MONILON B07F8J5TYV Water Beads
Children with special sensory needs often struggle with many aspects of their life. To assist them are sensory toys.
The set comes in a creative packaging that instantly attracted the attention of my daughter. Inside, there are 24 mini ocean creatures, 9oz of sea-colored water beads, and a 23.6 inches by 17.7 inches inflatable play mat.
The kit encourages imaginative play where toddlers can build their own sea world, turning their imagination into a reality. Besides, it provides an opportunity for my little one to engage in sensory play. It helps in brain development, hand eye coordination, and blocks out distracting noises as well.
With just the beads and some water on the inflated mini pool, bonding with my kids has become more fun than ever. We watch the crystal balls absorb the water and grow in size. Aside from nestling the miniature sea animals on the water beads, the gel can also act as little sensory balls that my daughter can smash.
If you are concerned about this kit’s safety, rest assured that it is 100% non-toxic, reusable, and environmentally-friendly. They are safe for children to play with and can also be used again after drying in the sun.
- Creative packaging
- Encourages an imaginative play
- Great for family bonding
- Reusable and environmentally-friendly
- No instruction manual included
3. Learning Resources Fine Motor Hedgehog
Many experts and therapists, specifically occupational therapists recommend using sensory toys for autism. It can engage children’s senses and promotes sensory input in a way that is enjoyable and beneficial to them.
We have here an adorable hedgehog toy that is recommended for toddlers aged 18 months old. It is a good product that can build your little one’s fine motor skills and problem solving skills.
The chunky and peg-shaped pieces lodged on the back of the hedgehog can be pulled out and put back. My son also uses Spike for occupational therapy exercises.
Furthermore, the brightly colored quills can help my toddler develop essential skills, such as color recognition, counting, and sorting. It is an excellent fine motor game for kids since it comes with easy-to-grasp pieces that are just the right size.
The set includes a 6 inches in diameter 2-piece hedgehog, 12 colorful quills, and an activity guide. There is no need for me to worry about storing the playset since the back opens for easy storage of the spikes after each play.
Moreover, the pieces are made of plastic, which means that they are easy to clean. I snap the quills, wipe them clean with a cloth, and stow it back.
- Fine motor games for toddler
- Encourages the development of essential skills
- Easy storage
- Easy to clean
- Pegs slide around at the bottom
4. AbeyongD Sensory Fidget Toys Bundle
For babies and toddlers, there are a lot of new things to discover around them every day. Sensory toys for anxiety naturally decrease their fears and discomfort while learning.
This bundle includes many assorted sensory toys for kids in a gift box. It is a great present for any special occasion like birthdays or holidays. Kids can spend time playing with them, lessening their boredom and relieving stress.
Each toy in the set is made of top-quality and durable materials. I can also be rest assured that it is non-toxic and perfectly safe for both me and my kids. It is also an ASTM F936 certified product, which means it passed the international toy standard.
The stress balls are designed to withstand around 200 to 400 constant squeezes and approximately 1,000 to 1,300 non-constant squeezes.
By slightly squeezing and stretching these fidgeting devices, my son can relieve stress and anxiety. Furthermore, it is ideal for kids with sensory processing disorder, OCD, and ADHD.
- Includes many assorted toy
- Top-quality and durable
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Travel-friendly and easy to store
- Some pieces becomes sticky after washing
5. Pure Compression Push Pop Bubble
Sensory toys are great for any child because they stimulate their senses and provide them with the sensations they seek. There are many variations of these that you can see in the market.
I like this toy made of high-quality silicone that is 100% environmentally-friendly, it is an educational toy suitable for children from five and older. This kind of toy can help my son train his logical thinking ability.
Aside from being an entertaining plaything, this can help kids with special needs. Children with autism, ADD or ADHD, OCD can use this to focus and calm down. The brain-challenging game and innovative playing board can surely jumpstart neurons and ease them down.
Playing with this is easy. Each player takes turns pressing any mouse bubble in a single row, and whoever presses the last one loses. When pushed, the beads make a slight popping sound, and when you are done with one side, flip it over and start again. There are instructions in the package that you can read for a more detailed explanation as well.
- Made of environment-friendly materials
- Ideal for kids with special needs
- Easy to play
- Detailed instruction is included
- The print is smaller than expected
6. Infantino 210-231A Sensory Balls Blocks
Growing kids are always curious about their surroundings. To help them handle the new things that they discover, sensory toys can come to the rescue.
Take a look at this basic set of sensory exploration. The set comes with 20 pieces of sensory toys that can introduce kids to sorting, counting, numbers, and colors. In detail, the kit includes four soft play animals, eight brightly colored balls with different textures, and eight sturdy colored blocks with numbers.
Each one features a smart design that can help parents in providing a joyful and entertaining playtime for kids. Moreover, the materials used to manufacture these are BPA free so you can be assured of your kids’ safety.
Cleaning and caring for these toys are effortless. They are designed for easy maintenance. I simply wipe it clean and remember that it is not intended to be used during bath times. This way, my kids can use them for a long time.
This kit is packaged to be quickly wrapped and given as a gift. It is a suitable baby toy for most occasions such as showers, Christmas, Easter, and birthdays.
- Features smart designs
- Safe to play with
- Easy to clean and care for
- Great as a gift
- Water can seep into the hole
7. BunMo Calming Stretchy Sensory Toys
Sensory toys can provide a safe and natural calming effect to many children. If you have a kid who needs this, it is vital to purchase the best sensory toys.
We bought these textured, stretchy strings that are perfect for relieving stress and anxiety. My son is having fun squishing, snapping, wrapping, stretching, and squeezing which helps him relax.
In detail, the kit comes with six-packs of different colors and unique textures, each 11 inches long. He can stretch it over to nine feet since it is durable and strong.
Kids can use this to relieve all their stress. A therapist I know recommended this type of toy for autistic children, and it is even widely used as therapy for ADHD and ADD.
The vibrant colors, patterns, shapes, letters, and numbers, help increase focus and provide tranquility. It also doubles as a toy that can teach kids essential skills.
There is not much needed to clean this product. Simply wipe it clean! Moreover, it is hypoallergenic and non-toxic. No phthalates are present in this toy and it is also BPA free as tested by a third party.
- It comes in six bright colors with different textures
- Relieves anxiety
- Great for learning
- Safe to use
- It can be dangerous in some situations
8. KINGYAO Bundle Sensory Toys
A variety of textured toys for babies is vital for healthy development. Not only will they have a good time, but their senses will be stimulated and they will get to engage in a sensory experience.
24 items of sensory toys are packed in a transparent storage box. With the box that it comes with, cleaning and storing after each play is easy.
The bundle includes a basketball, magic cube, liquid motion timer, six stretchy strings, an American football, three marble in a mesh, two grape balls, a flippy bike chain, wacky tracks, two egg slime, a squeeze soybeans, and a lot more. This way, kids have many options to choose from.
With these fidget playthings, my son and daughter can have a good time and simultaneously develop their creativity and visual training. Moreover, it is one of the best ways to relieve stress, feel calm, and develop fine motor skills. Both kids and adults will find this kit helpful as it will help refine problem solving skills.
Each piece in this set is made of durable materials. On top of that, it is non-toxic, BPA free, and meets the international toy standard, which is a good guarantee of its safety. You can purchase this for yourself or kids. It is also a great gift for kids in most special occasions.
- It comes in a transparent box
- Includes 24 variety of toy
- Relieves stress
- Safe to use
- The squishy animals bursts easily
9. Power Your Fun Mini Stress Balls
What makes sensory play toys different from ordinary ones has to do with the sensory system. It features exciting elements that can entertain and engage kids of all ages in a sensory experience.
For example, you can take a look at this squeezy stress ball set in different colors. It is a 3-pack of mini stress balls in three bright colors: blue, yellow, and pink. Besides, each color is labeled with different weight variations: light, medium, and heavy. This way, you can pick one that you are most comfortable with.
Me and my son find this amusing and entertaining since it is a color-changing toy. We squeeze and watch each one change its color: blue to green, pink to purple, and yellow to orange. Moreover, it can strengthen his problem solving abilities and help him concentrate and get back to the task he has at hand.
These calming sensory toys are great for venting stress, anxiety, and anger. It can also be an effective therapy for kids with autism, ADD, and ADHD. The squish balls can be used for finger, hand, and wrist exercises.
The balls measure two and a half inches in diameter and are filled with non-toxic gel. I can rest assured that it is safe to use and is suitable for ages eight and above.
- Ideal for both kids and adults
- Color-changing toys
- Calming and soothing
- Safe and non-toxic
- It might burst when too much force is exerted
10. CHUCHIK Sensory Fidget Toys
What counts as sensory toys for preschoolers? These kinds of playthings stimulate their senses with textures, sounds, contrasting colors, and more.
You can look at this review of a superb 23-pack bag of toys that are made to stimulate the senses.
My son can have a world of interaction with the variety of pieces in this toy set. We are having an entertaining bonding time together as mom and son popping, squishing, twisting, and pulling these sensory toys. I can store it easily with the reusable bag that it comes with, which is not only environmentally-friendly but also makes it easier to carry around.
Say goodbye to jitters with this fidget set. It is designed to soothe stress and bring the calmness that you need. Besides, it is perfect for those who have trouble focusing. It calms the mind by making hands busy and engaging senses. Both adults and kids can find this beneficial for their day to day lives.
Share the fun and advantages of this stress-relieving toy. Gift them to your loved ones and the people you care about. It is perfect for any occasion like birthdays and holidays.
- Comes with 23 variety of toys
- Soothes stress
- Engages the senses
- Great as a gift
- The details of some pieces rubs off easily
11. Narwhal Novelties Liquid Motion Bubbler
We all want to give the best sensory toys by age to our toddlers. This is so they can have a good time, learn from it, and develop essential skills.
Consider this hourglass timer fidget toy that is mesmerizingly good and recommended by therapists. Kids can look at it for hours and never get bored. In detail, the two brightly colored droplets inside the glass travel down in slow-motion as gravity guides it. When the droplets reach the bottom, we flip it upside down for endless hours of sensory play.
This kind of sensory toy can improve visual stimulation tracking and ensures fun sensory input. Besides, it helps my son relax and remain focused for long hours of fun. That makes it ideal for young ones who are hyperactive or children with autism and ADHD.
Occupational therapists recommend these types of toys to alleviate stress and pressure. The bubbles’ movement provides a quieting amusement that effectively works to mitigate stress wherever and whenever.
This therapy bubbler is like a stress ball for the hand which is good for one’s fine motor skills. With its gentle visual simulation, it can bring many beneficial advantages not just for a toddler but also for overworked and stressed adults. It also works as an office or home display for relaxation.
- Engaging toy that can entertain for hours
- Doubles as a liquid timer
- Improves visual tracking
- Compelling and exciting sensory toys
- It could break when dropped
12. Luckyoney LU-20180521 Sensory Toy
Colorful and creative playthings are what most kids like. In searching for good quality sensory toys for 2-years-old, you can look at different options.
I am looking at this extensive set of squishy fidget toys while considering it. The kit comes with six stretchy strings, a liquid motion timer, three mesh and marble, a fidget pad, two grape balls, and many more. There are variations to choose from, so kids and adults can take their pick, making it suitable for both me and my son.
Children won’t get bored going through each type of sensory toy in this bundle. When my kid gets bored squeezing a flip chain link, he can move onto the fluffy slime soft clay. It is good for developing hand eye coordination. Besides, it is an excellent therapy for those who have stiff fingers to warm up before any fine motor activities.
Furthermore, I like that it is one of the best ways to relieve stress and anxiety. By fidgeting around with these things, my focus is diverted to it, bringing a sense of calm. A therapist recommended it to someone I know with high levels of stress and anxiety, I’ve heard from her that it is good and effective.
When it comes to safety, this product meets the international toy standard. Each piece in this kit is made from durable and non-toxic, BPA free materials, so I don’t have to worry about any safety issues when my son plays.
- Comes with 28 variety of toys
- Great for both kids and adults
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- The slime dries pretty quickly
What to Look for When Buying Sensory Toys
Buying toddler sensory toys for children with special needs is different from picking a toy for any other kids. Sensory toys come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have their own exciting elements that can engage and entertain. If you are having trouble because you don’t know the specifics, what I have here might help.
1. Sensory System
There is a wide variety of sensory stimulation toys, and while most of them are good, you might want to have one that specially caters to your kid’s needs.
This means you have to consider which sensory system your child needs help with. In detail, there are seven of these senses: vision, vestibular, hearing, taste, tactile, proprioception, and smell. Once you’ve determined this, you can focus on the specific type of sensory toys.
2. Individual Needs
Observe your child and evaluate what kind of activities they seek or avoid. Does your kid often escape to a quiet space or jump off the couch? Do they cover their ears due to certain sounds? It is essential to list all these after noticing repetitive behaviors.
Besides, it would help if you highlighted those that seem to consume them or are disruptive. It would be best if you thought about movements and sensations that they are gravitated to. Does visual stimulation calm them? Do they prefer swaddle and weight sensations? This way, you’ll know what sensory system you need to focus on when buying fun sensory toys.
3. Environment Friendly
Most early learning toys are made of plastic. This makes them easy to clean, which is ideal for busy parents. There are also wooden sensory toys that work just as great.
The difference between the two is their environmental implications. Plastic toys contain several toxic chemicals that are dangerous for kids to play with. Playthings made of wood, on the other hand, are sustainable and made of renewable resources.
The government’s improved safety standards made most sensory toys for 4-year-olds safe as long as they are appropriately used for the recommended age and stage of development.
You should consider whether the features can pose any risks to children. It is also vital for adults to supervise their kids for safe play. This is because unsafe toys can still be found despite product testings and regulations in place. You must read the product description and find out if any detachable parts can cause a choking hazard.
If you are not really sure about your sensory toys for kids choices, you can ask for recommendations from your child’s therapist, specifically an occupational therapist or a trusted special education teacher.
The professionals and experts in this field can help you determine the most appropriate type of sensory toys for your little one. Moreover, they can redirect you when you are headed in the wrong direction.
Many good sensory toys can fit your budget. You might be thinking of getting a show-stopping item, but you might want to rethink that. Aside from the price tag that it comes with, smaller supports are more fitting since they don’t take up much room.
Consider your budget for a sensory toy and whether your home has any space constraints. These two factors will help you narrow down your options.
Take our product reviews, for example, most of them come in an affordable bundle and are small enough to take around with you. This way, you can use it whenever you need it, and wherever you might be.
While most sensory toys are reasonable, some are better than others. This is why it is necessary to be keen on picking what to give to your kid. Knowing what to look for in sensory toys for children gives you an edge in finding the best one.
Other Important Factors to Consider
You have read in the previous section some of the things you should look for in a sensory toy. If you have other questions that might help you in picking the best sensory toys for a 1-year-old, you might find the answer to them here. Read on.
1. What is a sensory toy?
A sensory toy is specifically designed to stimulate children’s senses. Toys with bright and contrasting colors featuring an array of sounds can stimulate several senses. Not only will these types of plaything engage toddlers’ senses, but they also develop mental and physical abilities.
The stimulation that goes into the brain is closely associated with many skills that a child needs to develop for healthy and functional growth. This includes fine motor skills like writing and cutting and gross motor skills like jumping and climbing.
Moreover, when kids crave for a particular sensation, their brains are distracted a lot. Engaging a child with sensory activities is critical for their development and learning.
A sensory toy helps feed each kid’s sensory needs and permits them to be focused.
2. How does it work?
We discover and interpret the world around us with our senses, and it is the same for babies and toddlers. However, everything is new for them, so it is vital to build neural pathways in the brain to boost their learning activities.
By having sensory play, children’s senses can be simulated. Moreover, it helps fine and gross motor development alongside language and communication skills.
For example, some kids become fussy when they don’t fancy foods’ texture since they are new to it. But when they get used to different textures with sensory toys’ help, they become more adventurous until they get used to it. There are many varieties of these toys, each having a different effect on children’s welfare.
3. What are the different types of sensory toys?
There are many types of sensory toys available in the market, and each one differs from the other for the specific senses that they stimulate. For example, there are hand rattles that can help babies understand the relationship between cause and effect.
Babies who are one year old like to put things in their mouths. Thus, teether toys with different textures should be introduced around this time. For those who are not fond of bath times, bath toys are a fun way to encourage them to stay still.
To fine-tune children’s sense of hearing, processing music through musical toys is ideal. For their vision development, anything that rolls when pushed is great to stimulate their sense of sight. When a child is around six months old, playing with building blocks is a good way to establish different tactile experiences.
4. Why do you need sensory toys for kids?
Growing children experience sharpened senses to aid them in grasping the world around them. Sensory toys help stimulate cognitive development in the brain. It allows kids to develop responses and learn from them.
Many researchers and experts highlight the importance of sensory play. In detail, it supports their social, mental, and emotional growth. Thus, it is vital to consider buying these to entertain young ones and support healthy development.
Frequently Asked Questions
For those purchasing sensory gifts for toddlers for the first time, there might be many questions in your mind. I have a list of commonly asked questions of parents who are buying their first sensory toys below.
1. What are the most trusted sensory toy brands?
Most people purchase depending on the brand. That is not a bad idea when buying the best sensory toys. To help you get started, we have some of the trusted toy brands based on our reviewed products. You can check them out.
This company is one of the most well-known when it comes to manufacturing products for moms and babies. It includes carriers and gears that make parenting easier.
They also have a collection of kids’ toys that are designed smartly to benefit your young ones. Besides, they have an ‘Everybody Plays’ campaign which is committed to the inclusion and acceptance of children with disabilities.
Power Your Fun
You can find a wide variety of things that help your child have fun and learn. They cover babies to older toddlers, including a playset that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Parents can shop on their official website by age, category, product type, and collection.
2. Can sensory toys help anxiety?
Therapists and experts recommend sensory toys to calm anxieties not only for toddlers but also for adults. Diverting their focus to these toys takes their minds off what’s making them distressed, which eventually brings people back to a relaxed state. So. when you are anxious, try fidget toys to release the negative energy that you have.
Children who are struggling with sensory input can also benefit from sensory toys. It could help them cope with stressful situations as it decreases fear and discomfort. Various toys can provide a variation of a sensor through a natural and fun way of learning while playing. To summarize, sensory toys not only help people with anxiety but also kids with special needs.
3. When to start using sensory toys?
There are babies sensory toys available in the market, which suggests that these sorts of products are for kids of all ages. Sensory toys are designed to activate different senses, which is beneficial to babies who are just starting to familiarize surroundings.
Parents can give them these toys as early as infancy, or when they can already grab things. As they grow older, you can switch it with other toys that stimulate different tactile systems.
4. How to make sensory toys for babies?
If you are on a budget and want to make your own right sensory toys for babies at home, you have several options from play-doh to rattles. Making slime is a common craft project at schools.
There’s also the play dough, which you can make with your own color and scent preference. One of the easiest is the stress ball. With just a balloon and beads for texture (sand, rice, and beans will also do), you now have a toy that children can squeeze.
A weighted stuffed animal is another simple toy that you can make at home. It only requires basic sewing skills, and you can turn any stuffed toy you have into sensory toys for your young ones.
What you’ll need are a seam ripper and some heavy poly pellets. Open up a stuffed toy, replace polyfill with pellets depending on the desired weight you want. Then, sew the seam close, and the weighted stuffed animal is ready to snuggle!
Dozens of tutorials and resources can be found all over the Internet so you won’t have any problems doing homemade sensory toys like play-doh.
5. Where to buy?
A simple search on the Internet will result in many sensory development toys for sale. Online stores sell and deliver them right to your doorstep, which is very convenient.
But, it is essential to make sure that the products being sold are authentic and the site you are buying from is an official partner of the manufacturer.
There are a lot of considerations when buying the best sensory toys. Moreover, there are a variety of options to choose from, which makes it complicated. I have covered many types of sensory toys in the product reviews to give you an idea of what is available in the market.
Furthermore, the buying guide and FAQ section will help you narrow down your sensory items for toddlers options. I hope that after reading, you will be able to take your pick without much hassle. If you happen to have tips you want to share, comment on them below!
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