Toys for Autistic Kids: A Guide to Help Them Thrive
Shopping for the perfect toy can be a challenge, no matter what age your child is. But if your child has one of the autism spectrum disorders, finding an engaging toy that suits their needs can prove to be even more difficult.
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with all of our top tips when it comes to choosing gifts and toys tailored specifically toward autistic teens and kids.
From classic board games to fun science kits, we are sure you will find something suitable in our ultimate guide. So let’s get started—there are autistic children’s toys out there to suit any need or interest.
- Understanding the Importance of Age and Interest for Autistic Kids
- How We Selected the Best Toys for Autistic Kids
- What to Look for in Toys for Autistic Kids
- Ensuring Safety for Autistic Kids while Playing
- A Chick Flies the Nest: The Findmykids Story is About Growing Up Safely
Understanding the Importance of Age and Interest for Autistic Kids
When it comes to selecting appropriate toys for kids with autism, knowing the defining characteristics of their condition can help parents find fun and stimulating objects that will aid in their development.
Autism manifests differently in each person, but some signs include difficulty communicating, sensory sensitivities, and hyperfocus on an activity or object. Keeping these behavioral characteristics in mind, parents should look for toys that keep their child actively engaged while adding structure to their playtime—activities like matching games and construction sets are ideal.
Toys incorporating bright colors, different shapes, or amusing sounds provide stimulation without being overstimulating, while puzzles featuring larger pieces make them accessible even to those who struggle with fine motor skills. Knowing your child’s individual needs is key when picking out the right toy and ultimately creates memorable moments of joy between parent and child.
Children of varying ages have different needs and interests that should be taken into consideration when choosing which toys to introduce into playtime. There’s no single answer to the best toys for all autistic children, as all autistic kids vary in their preferences, just as all other kids do.
Younger children might benefit from simpler toys such as blocks, whereas older children might need more challenging games or puzzles to maintain their interest. Interest can also play a role since particular colors and materials may help keep the child engaged.
At any age, it’s most important to select toys that match their developmental level, as well as that fit their interests and needs. For example, infants need items with bright colors and sounds, while older kids could find stimulating activities such as arts, crafts, or construction sets helpful in developing skills such as hand-eye coordination.
Toys for Autistic Kids (Toddlers and Preschoolers)
Toys for toddlers and preschoolers with autism can provide valuable stimulation, help promote independence and strengthen development.
Appropriate toys for autistic kids in this age group include cause-and-effect toys such as pop-up toys, shape sorters, and sensory processing toys like textured balls. Stackable and nestable blocks or pegs also help young children explore cause-and-effect relationships while building fine motor skills.
Toy #1 The Teeter Popper
The Teeter Popper is an innovative toy that combines physical activity with calming movement. It has a low center of gravity which allows it to rock back and forth in place when used on hard floors.
The up-and-down motion helps develop core muscles while providing gentle stimulation to the senses. It’s also great for developing balance, spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, and gross motor skills.
Average Cost: $40
- Makes an engaging sound
- Good for a range of ages and personalities
- Helps with vestibular system regulation
- May be too stimulating for some kids
Toy #2 Fat Brain Toys Baby Toy Five Bubble Popper
Looking for a great sensory toy? Poppers are the way to go.
This bubble popper toy is designed specifically for young children in mind. It encourages eye-tracking skills, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills development, and sensory exploration. These are some of the best sensory toys you’ll find for autistic kids of all ages.
Average Cost: $13
- Made of BPA-free plastic and food-grade silicone
- Can help with stimming behaviors
- Suitable for a wide age range
- Small and easily misplaced
Toy #3 No Spill Bubble Bucket (Fubbles)
If your toddler loves bubbles, but you hate the mess they make, then this Fubbles No Spill Bubble Bucket is just what you need! This innovative bucket makes it easy for toddlers to blow their own bubbles without making a mess—simply dip the wand in the solution and blow through it to create beautiful bubbles without spilling a drop!
Plus, this toy encourages imaginative play as well as fine motor skill development with its colorful bubble wands.
Average Cost: $18
- Allows for engaging, mess-free play
- Small enough to be carried anywhere
- Leak-proof and nontoxic
- Small wand and limited bubble-holding capacity
Toy #4 LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Digital Book
This interactive book from Leapfrog is perfect for young children who are just starting to learn letters and words. It introduces 100 common words in both English and Spanish through fun songs, stories, and activities—all designed to encourage early language development in toddlers and preschoolers with autism or other special needs.
With this book, your child will also learn valuable problem-solving skills as they explore each page through touch technology!
Average Cost: $20
- Can help build vocabulary
- Varying themes to suit a range of interests
- Bilingual settings
- Noises and activities may be overly stimulating for some kids
Toy #5 Harkla Sensory Swing
If swinging or rocking helps your autistic toddler relax or destress during times of high anxiety, then this Harkla Sensory Swing may be just what you need! This swing provides soothing vestibular input, which means your child will feel like they’re floating on air without ever leaving the ground!
The swing also encourages deep pressure input, which helps calm overactive minds so that your child can focus better on tasks at hand or take a break from playtime if needed.
Average Cost: $100
- Easy to install and durable
- High weight capacity
- Tools needed for the installation process
Toys for School-Aged Kids with Autism
School-aged children with autism often benefit from toys that are interactive, as they can help to build communication skills, creativity, and imaginative play.
Popular toys for this age group usually include board games, construction sets, and electronic toys like LEGO sets, jigsaw puzzles, and handheld electronic consoles.
Toys that make noise or light up can be especially helpful in creating a stimulating environment for these kids.
Toy #6 Tilcare Chew Chew Sensory Necklaces
Tilcare Chew Chew Sensory Necklaces are designed to provide comforting tactile stimulation while relieving anxiety and stress. They feature brightly colored, food-grade silicone beads that are strung together on a breakaway clasp necklace. This is perfect for fidgety fingers that need something to keep them busy, as well as those who have difficulty focusing due to sensory overload or other issues associated with autism.
Average Cost: $7
- Nontoxic and sturdy
- Comes with three necklaces for longevity
- Helps to redirect children who have issues with chewing
- Not a teething tool
Toy #7 Little Tikes 4.5′ Lights n Music Trampoline
The Little Tikes 4.5′ Lights n Music Trampoline is an ideal way for little kids to exercise their bodies while having fun at the same time. This trampoline has lights and music built into it, which makes it even more enjoyable for kids with autism who may be easily distracted by noise and motion.
In addition, jumping encourages physical activity and helps develop gross motor skills—a great way to help your child stay active during school hours!
Average Cost: $105
- Great way to keep kids occupied indoors
- Allows you to choose your own music and lighting
- Fold down for easy storage
- Can be heavy
Toy #8 Aylik Robot Toy
Eilik Robot Toy is an interactive robot toy that helps children improve their social interactions. It comes with over 30 different commands that can be programmed using a simple drag-and-drop c system, allowing kids of all abilities the chance to interact with the robot in creative ways.
Plus, its bright colors make it visually stimulating.
Average Cost: $140
- Helps with social skills and connections
- Sensitive to touch, music, and conversation
- Additional accessories available
- Can be challenging to set up
Toy #9 Magnetic Tile Building Blocks
Magnetic Tile Building Blocks are a great way for children to explore their creative side while engaging in fine motor skills development activities.
These colorful blocks come in different shapes and sizes, so they can be used to create anything from buildings and vehicles, or simply just stacked up like traditional building blocks! Plus, they stick together using magnets so they won’t fall apart easily, which is perfect for little hands whose owners might get frustrated if things don’t stay put!
Average Cost: $60
- Allows for hours of creativity
- Promotes good hand-eye coordination
- Smooth surfaces and easy to clean up
- Not completely compatible with Magnatiles
Toy #10 Scientoy Fidget Toy Set
This set includes 10 different fidgets, such as spinners, cubes, sticks, and rings made from durable plastic materials—perfect for those who need something small enough to hold comfortably but also sturdy enough not to break easily when being manipulated over time! Plus, each fidget has its own unique design, so there’s plenty of variety included in this set for all types of learners!
Average Cost: $16
- Help relieve stress and reduce stimming behaviors
- Diversity of playing methods, like flipping, stretching, squeezing
- Great birthday party favors, Easter basket stuffers, etc
- Lots of small pieces that are easily misplaced
Gifts for Autistic Teenagers
Shopping for gifts for autistic teenagers can be a challenge. These individuals may have unique needs and preferences, so it is important to research the appropriate options. To get started, consider building sets, sensory toys, and musical instruments as good gift choices.
For example, fidget spinners can provide calming sensory input, while weighted blankets offer comfort and support.
Toy #11 Drones with Camera for Adults /Kids /Beginners
Drones provide a fun, hands-on experience that is perfect for kids and adults alike. The cameras on these drones allow users to capture stunning aerial photos and videos, which can be shared online or printed out as keepsakes.
Average Cost: $70
- Advanced features like headless mode and 360-degree flip
- Easy to control and connect
- Long Lasting batteries
- May be too overwhelming for some kids with autism
Toy #12 LESONG Brain Teasers Metal and Wooden Puzzles for Kids and Adults
Brain teasers are a great way to challenge the mind of an autistic teenager while also providing hours of entertainment.
LESONG’s brain teasers come in metal and wooden versions, both of which require problem-solving skills to complete successfully. Not only do these puzzles help build critical thinking skills, but they also help improve coordination and fine motor skills too!
Average Cost: $22
- Engaging and mentally stimulating
- All metal and wood parts are durable
- Allows players to test logic and creativity
- May be too challenging for some kids, especially younger teens with sensory issues
Toy #13 Northern Lights Aurora Projector
The Northern Lights Aurora Projector is a great gift idea for any special teen who loves star gazing but doesn’t have access to a telescope or binoculars. This projector displays an array of stars across any wall or ceiling in its range—up to 12 feet away—giving viewers the ability to explore the night sky from their own bedroom!
Average Cost: $34
- Calming displays for relaxing nighttime displays
- Multiple colors available
- Can be used by kids of all ages
- Some users report issues with the remote control
Toy #14 Tikduck Flying Orb Ball Toys
Tikduck’s Flying Orb Ball Toys make a great gift idea for any teen who loves technology and gadgets! These flying orbs respond to hand gestures like clapping—making them incredibly fun to play with—plus, they come with colorful LED lights that light up when activated by sound or motion! They are easy enough for beginners but challenging enough for more experienced players too.
Average Cost: $31
- Multiple color options
- Can be used indoors or outside
- Fun toy that is durable and lightweight
- Does not always boomerang back as it’s supposed to
Toy #15 Hetyre Night Light Bluetooth Speaker
Here’s Night Light Bluetooth Speaker is another excellent gift idea for teenage techies! This speaker doubles as a night light thanks to its built-in LED light feature; it also has multiple color options so you can customize it according to your teen’s preferences!
Average Cost: $38
- Can be used both as a nightlight and a Bluetooth speaker
- Colors change for rhythmic displays
- Alarm comes with a snooze function
- Powers down after two minutes of inactivity
How We Selected the Best Toys for Autistic Kids
We understand the importance of finding the right toys for autistic kids. We carefully researched and evaluated numerous options to create a selection that caters specifically to their needs.
Our team of experts considered various factors, including engagement, developmental stage and motor skills, sensory experience, and promotion of social skills. By taking these elements into account, we aimed to provide a range of toys that can positively impact the development and well-being of autistic children.
What to Look for in Toys for Autistic Kids
When choosing toys for autistic kids, it’s crucial to consider their unique requirements and preferences. Here are key factors to keep in mind.
Look for toys that capture their attention and foster engagement. Autistic children often thrive when presented with toys that offer interactive features, such as buttons to press, lights, or sounds. Toys that encourage imaginative play or problem-solving can also be highly engaging for them.
Developmental Stage and Motor Skills
Select toys that align with their developmental stage and promote the development of fine motor skills. Consider their current abilities and choose toys that offer appropriate challenges to encourage growth. Toys that involve stacking, sorting, or manipulating objects can be beneficial in developing these skills.
Autistic children may have sensory sensitivities, so it’s important to choose toys that provide a positive sensory experience. Look for toys with varying textures, colors, and shapes. Some children may find comfort in toys that provide gentle tactile stimulation, while others may prefer toys with soothing sounds or visual effects.
Promotes Social Skills
Toys that facilitate social interaction and communication can be valuable for autistic children. Look for toys that encourage turn-taking, sharing, and cooperative play. Board games or toys that involve group activities can help develop social skills and promote positive interactions with peers and family members.
By considering these aspects and selecting toys designed specifically for autistic kids, you can provide them with engaging and beneficial play experiences that support their overall development.
Ensuring Safety for Autistic Kids while Playing
With a focus on sensory stimulation, the toys autistic children prefer often contain a variety of materials and colors. It is important to be mindful when selecting toys for these young ones, as some may not have the same safety standards as regular products.
Avoid sharp edges, small parts that might be a choking hazard, paints and other materials that may contain toxins and anything that could cause injury.
Also, look for toys with textures like velvet which can provide comfort but still be safely operated by young hands. Making sure their environment is suitable for them will make it easier to ensure they are in a safe place when playing.
A Chick Flies the Nest: The Findmykids Story is About Growing Up Safely
With the rise of tech-savvy kids wanting more freedom as they grow older, parents often struggle to keep track of their children’s whereabouts.
The Findmykids app has taken the monitoring of family safety to a whole new level. It provides a unique way for parents to ensure that their children—particularly those with special needs such as autism—are safe and secure. The app offers many features like geofencing, which allows parents to set up virtual perimeters around their kids, ensuring they never leave specific areas.
My son is 15 and has autism. Because of the Findmykids app he has been becoming more independent. He likes to go to a place called ‘House of cards’ to look at Yu-gi-oh cards but wants to go alone. For the past year because of this app, he has been able to and I have been able to see where he goes and listen to his surroundings. Thank you so much for giving my son a chance at having some type of normalcy in his life it means the world to us.
Parents can also receive instant notifications whenever their kids go out of range, providing real-time updates on where they are located.
My daughter has just very recently been diagnosed with Autism. She is 11. She did not report for school one morning and we frantically started searching for her. She did not have the Findmykids app on that day and we went through tremendous panic to locate her. After this event which was before Christmas, she now has her app activated again and I can see where she is all the time. It helps me tremendously with my anxiety about her safety. Thank you!
All in all, Findmykids is an invaluable tool for parents looking for an objective way to safeguard their kids as they navigate their growing independence.
What to Buy a 4-Year-Old With Autism?
Gift ideas include educational toys such as electronic or online learning programs that may help the child learn basic concepts like counting and shapes. You can also select sensory autism toys, such as balls or stuffed animals, that might provide comfort and soothe the child if they become overwhelmed or overstimulated.
What are Sensory Toys, and How Can They Benefit My Autistic Child?
Sensory toys can help improve communication skills by providing an outlet for expression that doesn’t rely on words alone. They also provide a way for the child to interact with their environment in new ways, which can help them develop problem-solving skills.
The picture on the front page: Elenka Klimova/Shutterstock.com
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