Have you ever faced a dilemma when buying gifts for children? Finding a perfect gift for a child can be difficult, but buying one for a child on the autism spectrum can be downright exhausting. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew right away which toys would make a great gift for an autistic child?
Seeing as these toys shouldn’t only be fun, but also educational and engaging, finding the right ones can be challenging but not impossible. We understand your dilemma, so we have taken it upon ourselves to review ten popular toys for kids with autism.
- 1 Best Gifts for Autistic Toddlers and Kids
- 1.1 Bundle Sensory Twisted Squeeze Fidget Toys Set
- 1.2 Cards Photo Vocabulary Autism Learning Products
- 1.3 Autism Supplies and Developments Picture Exchange Communication System
- 1.4 Anditoy Sensory Fidget Toys Set Stress Relief Toys for Autism
- 1.5 Indoor Swing for Kids by InYard | Great for Sensory Integration
- 1.6 BizyBeez MagStix Wheel Set Sensory Magnetic Building Blocks
- 1.7 GloFX Onyx Full Size Space Whip
- 1.8 The Original Toy Company Fold & Go Trampoline
- 1.9 Set of 10 Artic Photo Cards Fun Decks (Combo Set One)
- 1.10 Teether Necklace, Maberry Chew Necklace pendant
- 2 How to Choose the Best Toys for Autistic Kids
- 3 Conclusion
Best Gifts for Autistic Toddlers and Kids
Bundle Sensory Twisted Squeeze Fidget Toys Set
When it comes to toy diversity and getting the most for your money, this set is the best choice as you get several different toys. There are fluorescent cubes, ferrofluid bottle, fidget cube and chain, liquid motion timer, etc. Liquid motion timer is excellent for keeping your child’s attention and calming them down, while fidget cubes and chains are perfect for lowering stress and anxiety levels.
In our own opinion, this is a wonderful set of sensory toys for autistic children in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, and most of them are small and compatible enough to be carried around in a bag or a pocket. They are made of high-quality and durable materials so you can let the child keep them in their schoolbag or their pocket. Seeing as you get several toys for a reasonable price, you can encourage the child to share them with siblings or friends.
- Several toys included in price
- Small and convenient
- You never know what color toys you’re getting
Cards Photo Vocabulary Autism Learning Products
Cards are a great way to engage the child in an interesting activity they will be able to learn from, and they are a wonderful educational toy you will be able to use for many years. Seeing as the photos on the cards are pretty up-to-date and kid-friendly but not overly juvenile, they will be a great choice for some older kids (or even adults with speech problems).
There are 350 cards in a set and they can be used to teach identical matching as well as for similar matching and generalization. You can encourage the child to show you a certain object or use a card and ask them to tell you what they see.
Cards with vivid, colorful photos are excellent learning toys for kids with autism as they can help them understand similarities, differences, and sorting into categories, but what is more, they can also be used to encourage storytelling.
- Durable, High-quality
- Can be used when children grow up as well
- High price
- Some of the photos can be outdated
Autism Supplies and Developments Picture Exchange Communication System
When it comes to educational toys and toys which help autistic children adapt to the world a bit better, this board is a great choice. By breaking down everyday activities such as going to the toilet, eating, playing, and going to bed into smaller ‘tasks’ and turning it all into a game, you help children with autism transition from one activity into another more easily. They will be able to rely on themselves rather than on others because they will have a sense of understanding.
As far as we are concerned, even if it’s small, this is one of the best learning toys for kids with autism because it helps them understand what is expected of them in certain situations. By learning what they should do next in a certain situation, autistic children aren’t as anxious and nervous as they used to be for they are able to cope better with the challenges life can bring them.
- Great for non-verbal kids
- Waterproof, Blunt corners
- Overall a small toy
- Contains small parts which can be swallowed
Anditoy Sensory Fidget Toys Set Stress Relief Toys for Autism
When it comes to sets of sensory toys for autistic children, this is yet another great choice because you will get a pack of ten toys for a reasonable price. There will be different fidget toys as well as a few that can act as calming, especially marbles in a mesh sleeve. All of these toys are fun to play with, help develop child’s fine motor skills, but also help them focus.
We already mentioned that a pack of different sensory toys can be a great gift for autistic children, but you should be careful as giving them several different sensory toys at once can be overwhelming or can cause too much stimulation. Instead, you can try introducing a toy at the time and seeing which ones the child likes best. When you learn which toys they prefer and which senses they’re focused on, you’ll be able to buy them toys they’ll love in the future.
- You get 10 different sensory toys
- Small and compatible
- Pea pods can break easily
- Bike chain fidget can be heavy
Indoor Swing for Kids by InYard | Great for Sensory Integration
This cuddle swing is a perfect toy for kids with autism who seek vestibular input, creating a cocoon-like effect and this deep pressure can help children calm down and relax. Simply getting in and being still while the swing gently sways off the floor helps autistic children relax, while those who are active can twist, swing, and occupy their physical energy while they focus on something else.
On the other hand, it does take up quite a bit of room and stretches as the child gets inside, so it’s a good idea to attach it a bit further from the walls and to hang it high. At first the child might need help to get inside and learn how to use it, but even this can be a wonderful bonding opportunity for parents or other siblings until they figure out the way to get in and out on their own.
- Easy install
- You need to buy additional eyebolt
- It’s quite stretchy so you need to hang it high
For parents who are looking for sensory toys which will engage their autistic child’s creativity, these magnetic building blocks are just the thing. They come with a lovely magnetic board which will help the parents keep their fidgety kids entertained even when they’re on the road and sitting in the car. This is a 41-piece set that has parts with four different textures, meaning that a single toy provides an autistic child with different sensations and engages them in play.
This toy allows children to develop their creativity and to create different shapes: houses and towers, trains and cars alike. The best thing is that there are also magnetic wheels included in this set, which means that any shape the child makes can instantly be transformed into a vehicle, which will be a source of joy for the child.
- Great for toddlers and older kids too
- Different textures and shapes of magnets
- Magnetic board included
- The parts might be too big for toddlers’ small hands so you will have to assist them
GloFX Onyx Full Size Space Whip
LED fiber toys and items are great for décor, but they can also be great sensory toy for autistic children. They are a source of joy and fun for visually oriented autistic kids, and with 34 different colors and 13 display modes to choose from, these space whips are fun toys for kids with autism. They can pick the colors they like and choose which brightness level suits them best and no longer will they see dark rooms as something to be frightened of, but rather a space where they can enjoy their favorite toy in.
That being said, the fiber is 1,5 mm in diameter which means that the colors are better visible, but also that the whip is more difficult to manipulate. Still, while it might not be easy to whip around, it also means that the children are less likely to hurt themselves while playing with it.
- 34 possible color combos
- Different flashing modes
- Strands are very thick
- Might need to change batteries often
The Original Toy Company Fold & Go Trampoline
For autistic children who have excess energy or even have problems learning to walk or stand, this trampoline is the best choice. Safety pads are very helpful if the child gets carried away a bit, but the best thing is the safety hand rail with the foam protector, as this is perfect for children who have problem with their balance or standing up straight.
On the other hand, the trampoline might not be able to fold so easily, as first you need to disassemble the legs and the handle. It’s wise to have someone help you assemble and disassemble it, or you can simply put it together and keep in the place where your child can use it (for example your backyard).
It’s important to remember that autistic children who have problems with their gross motor skills may require your assistance to use the trampoline, so you should always have an adult close by.
- Handle makes it safer to use
- Has a safety pad
- You need to screw on legs every time
- Doesn’t come with a carrying bag
Set of 10 Artic Photo Cards Fun Decks (Combo Set One)
When you’re thinking about buying gifts for autistic children who have problems with speech and articulation, this fun card set is a good choice. Not only are the pictures very vivid and colorful, but the cards can be used to play different educational games as well.
Seeing as some of the cards are duplicates, you can always try the memory game which you can spice up a bit by asking the child to tell you what is that they see on the card. These cards are pretty large so the child can hold them on their own when you’re playing a game, which is also a great chance to teach them about sharing toys.
When the child gets older, you can use the cards to slowly start introducing particular sounds as well. Initial, medial, and final sounds in different words are underlines and you can ask the child to recognize and pronounce the sounds the best they can.
- Comes in a sturdy tin box
- Can be used for different games
- It might take a while for a child to understand ‘medial’ or ‘final’ sounds
Teether Necklace, Maberry Chew Necklace pendant
Not every child with autism will need chewable toys, and even those who do might not use them the same, as there are autistic children who sometimes bite and children who bite often. Autistic children with oral sensory processing problems will love chewing, biting, and licking different things, and by giving them something safe to chew on will help them with oral stimulation they need and crave.
This U-shaped silicone pendant comes on a smooth silk cord and has a special clasp, and this means that child’s hair will not be pulled while they’re wearing it. The pendant is flexible which means the child can twist and turn it around, but it’s also very fashionable and looks like a regular necklace.
If you notice that the child really likes the necklace, you might want to invest in another one, as even the sturdiest pendants made of the most durable materials can weaken and chip over time, especially if a child really likes them and uses them often.
- Child might be able to chew off pieces
How to Choose the Best Toys for Autistic Kids
Types of Toys:
Kids with autism do not develop nor do they learn like other kids do, and some things that other kids may learn or understand with ease may seem like an insurmountable obstacle to them. This is partly because they have difficulty focusing and understanding, and this is where educational toys step in.
There are lovely educational toys for autistic kids that help them ‘conquer’ some difficult tasks such as tying their shoelaces, (un)buttoning their shirts, or (un)zipping their zippers; as well as wonderful toys to help them expand their vocabulary and understand their emotions better.
You might be aware of the fact that come autistic children struggle with oral sensory processing which often leads to them indulging in chewing and licking that can be difficult to control, or they might even bite. A great way to help them deal with this problem is by getting them special toys. Chewable toys for autistic children have been developed with their need for oral stimulation in mind, as this is something much needed by kids with oral sensory issues.
You can get them different chew toys, but it’s a good idea to have one toy which they could keep close at all times and chew on if need be.
Sensory Toys for Autistic Children
Kids and toddlers on the autism spectrum sometimes crave different sensory experience which ‘ordinary’ toys can’t provide them. It can happen that autistic children focus more on their sense of vision, hearing, and touch, and sensory toys satisfy these needs. Lava lamps, liquid bubble drops, moving sand pictures, and different ‘fidget’ toys are the most common and popular sensory toys as they allow your child to focus on one thing or action and keep them occupied and calm.
The best thing about sensory toys for kids with autism is that they can double up as sensory therapy ‘instruments’ and playing with these toys can be of great help with child’s daily functioning.
Exercise is important for all children without exception, and it’s not a good idea to keep an autistic child indoors all the time. Stimulating their mind and fine motor skills is great, but kids with autism spectrum disorder don’t need just mind games.
The best outdoor toys are the ones which will help develop their coordination and gross motor skills: colorful stones for them to step on and practice their balance, colorful chalk which they can use to draw on sidewalks with, as well as trampolines and swings are all great outdoor toys for autistic kids.
Toys for Autistic Children Aged 3 – 7
When they are younger, autistic kids will more likely need more sensory toys as these will calm them down and keep them occupied. Toys which are interesting to touch are always a good choice but also those that are interesting to watch for a long time: lava lamps are great as these give off soft light and can help put your child to sleep if need be, and today there are also toys that have lasers to project stars onto walls and ceilings.
Toys for autistic children younger than 10 should be mostly sensory and chewy but you can slowly introduce some educational toys too: picture cards to expand their vocabulary, or some simple board games.
Toys for Autistic Children Aged 10
Older kids will have more chance to interact with peers in school or in the playground, so toys for autistic children aged 10 and older should be focused on their social skills and expanding their vocabulary. Fidget toys might help ease their anxiety as this is the time when children start feeling more restless in school.
At this age focus should be on educational toys, but a few sensory toys can also come in handy. Different fidget toys are a great choice because these are usually small and can be kept in a pocket and used whenever they feel particularly nervous.
Benefits of Using Autism Friendly Toys
Children with autism often play in a way that seems strange to other kids or even their parents, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t playing. They might pick toys or games that are a bit unusual (they might get fixated on a particular object or a game for a long time), but as long as they chose it, it means they’re enjoying it. This being said, you can pick great toys for autistic kids if you pay attention to objects and toys they usually like to play with or notice that they prefer a certain type of playing, and you can help them learn and grow.
To put it simply: the easiest and the most effective method of teaching is through play and different games, especially when it comes to children with autism spectrum disorder. Using different toys helps develop child’s language and sensory-motor skills, but what is more it helps them develop problem-solving skills and improves their social interaction. On the other hand, it also allows you to get through the child much easier, as sometimes autistic children can shy away from contact and interaction with other people, which makes it difficult even for their parents or other children to approach them.
When you use toys designed and made especially for autistic children, you help them calm down and understand the world a bit better. There are toys which can help develop child’s existing skill or teach them a new one without actually making them feel like they’re learning. When you turn things and tasks they see as difficult and complex into a mere game and you encourage them to get better at the game, you move them forward by making them feel more confident and calm.
Sometimes reaching out to a child with autism can be more challenging than you might think at first. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, a speech therapist, a doctor, or a neighbor trying to befriend them, getting through can be difficult.
One more thing: the best thing about finding the right toy for a child on the autism spectrum is being able to engage them in different activities, playing games with them, and helping them understand the world around them a bit better so they feel more comfortable in years to come.