8 Best Autism Toys That Help With Sensory Processing and Motor Skills
Autism can bring several challenges, including sensory processing issues, difficulty communicating and socializing, and problems with motor skills such as coordination and balance. Unfortunately, these three challenges account for most problems those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face. Fortunately, there are toys out there that can help kids with autism address these obstacles and improve their quality of life through sensory integration, social engagement, and motor skill development. Here are eight examples of some of the best autism toys on the market today.
1) Magnetic Cars
These little cars are great for kids with autism who need help with sensory processing and motor skills. The magnetic attraction between the vehicles and the track helps to keep them moving in a straight line, while the noise they make is calming. Plus, the colorful designs are visually stimulating and engaging. One of the most popular models is Melissa & Doug Wooden Train Cars (pictured), which can be purchased at places like Amazon or Target. Other options include Magna Tiles (pictured) and Lego Duplo blocks, promoting fine motor skills.LEGO® VIPs get Double Points on all purchases 9th -13th of June. Get Double Points, earn rewards faster!
2) Wooden Puzzles
One of the best things you can do for a child with autism is to help them develop their fine motor skills. Puzzles are a great way to do this! Wooden puzzles are excellent because they are sturdier than cardboard puzzles and won’t bend or tear as easily. Plus, the different textures and colors can be stimulating for kids with autism. Here are eight of the best wooden puzzles for kids with autism. For example, Melissa & Doug Pets Puzzle includes 12 beautifully detailed, solid wood pieces chunky enough for little hands. And who doesn’t love a colorful puzzle? The Royal Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle by Uncle Goose has 24 extra-thick pieces and comes in an attractive storage tin (perfect for those with sensory issues).
The Ravensburger Tooty Frooties jigsaw puzzle has 40 high-quality, chunky pieces that toddlers will find easy to handle – plus, it’s made from recycled materials.
3) Marble Run
One of the best autism toys for kids is a marble run. It helps with sensory processing and motor skills. Plus, it’s a lot of fun! A marble run can be made with various materials, so it’s easy to find one perfect for your child. Like the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Glowing Marble Run – Kids will love using their hands to scoop up marbles and then watch them tumble down a long ramp, under bridges, over ramps, and through tunnels. Kids also love changing their designs by adding more pieces or taking some away until they have created their version of a fantastic marble run. The Deluxe Geometric Tube Slide has loops in both directions, so the balls will always return to where they started!
A stray is an excellent toy for kids with autism because it can help with sensory processing and motor skills. The sand can provide a calming sensation for overstimulated kids, and shoveling and molding the sand can help improve fine motor skills. Plus, the sandbox can be a great place for kids to practice social skills by playing with other kids. I read many good reviews on Sand Tray Play Therapy Premium Starter Kit on Amazon. It has a solid 5-star rating, which is rare for products in this category! Another option you might want to consider is their Super Fun Set which includes more molds and features than just the starter kit. It’s also about $15 cheaper than the premium starter kit but doesn’t include as many additional items like the two rainmakers, 8-piece clay set, 32-piece Crayola crayon set, or 16-piece rainbow chipset (which would have been nice).
5) Finger Lights
These battery-operated lights attach to your fingers and create a colorful light show while you move your hands. They’re great for kids who need visual stimulation and can help promote calmness and relaxation. Plus, they’re just plain fun! The 200 Pieces Finger Lights for Kids Finger Flashlights Led Finger Lights 6 Color Flashing Light up Rings Finger Ring Glow Sticks Glow in The Dark Bright Party Supplies for Holiday Light up Toys were our favorite of the ones we tried because it comes in more colors than most other finger lights. It also includes an on/off switch that turns the toy off quickly when needed.
6) Colorful Balls
These sensory balls are great for autistic kids because they help with visual and tactile stimulation. The different colors are also visually stimulating, which can help calm an autistic child. The balls are also great for gross motor skills, as kids can throw, catch, or roll them around.
The Click N’ Play Ball Pit Balls for Kids, Plastic Refill Balls, 200 Pack, Phthalate and BPA Free, Includes a Reusable Storage Bag with Zipper, Bright Colors, a Gift for Toddlers and Kids aged 3-6 Years, a Set of 10 Soft Plush Blankets: Perfect for cuddling up with on the couch after school, these soft blankets provide warmth and comfort while also promoting tactile sensitivity through their various textures. They’re available in multiple patterns to suit every preference, including stripes, dots, polka dots, flowers, and more!
7) Ball Pit
If you have a kiddo with autism, you know that finding suitable toys can be a challenge. They may not be interested in traditional toys or have sensitivities to certain materials. And while every child is different, some general categories of toys can benefit kids with autism. One such category is sensory processing and motor skills toys. The Amazon Basics BPA Free Crush-Proof Plastic Ball Pit Balls with Storage Bag, Toddlers Kids 12+ Months, 6 Bright Colors – Pack of 1000 is one option, including balls and storage bag for easy cleanup. A small ball pit is another good choice because it gives kids a safe place to crawl around on their hands and knees without worrying about getting hurt from falls. The big plus: many kids who need ball pits also enjoy playing with balls outdoors!
8) Water Table
Kids with autism can benefit from playing with a water table. The water can help soothe them, and the tactile sensations can help stimulate their senses. Plus, the movement of the water can help improve their motor skills. The BIG Spielwarenfabrik, Aquaplay Aquaplay – Mountain Lake Water Playset, Blue Wave Play Systems Wetland Waterfall Table, or VTech Splash & Sing Sea Creatures Bath Toy are great options for this toy. A slip-n-slide is another great toy for kids with autism that have trouble communicating their feelings to others because it allows them to act out what they’re feeling in an open space without harming themselves or anyone else.