Autistic children are constantly seeking out ways to get the sensory input they need. With so many toys out there, it’s hard to know what will work. Even harder is to know what are the best toys for an autistic toddler.
There are many toys out there that serve as amazing sensory tools, even if not listed for sensory needs. I’ve compiled a list of our favorite toys that have been recommended by therapist or we have found works great ourselves.
Best Toys for Autistic Toddlers
1. Shape Sorting Blocks
The Shape Sorting Cube helps children with eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and visual perception. You can also use the shapes to learn colors, shapes, and practice following directions. Place two or three blocks several feet away, then ask the child to bring you a specific one. Wooden Shape Sorting Cube
2. ABC Puzzles
ABC puzzles are great for learning the alphabet and letter identification, but they off so much more. They also help with color and shape matching as well as fine motor skills. ABC Cookie Puzzle
3. Wiggle Balls
Wiggle Balls are a blast. I like the mini versions for toddlers, but the regular size ones work great too. Wiggle balls provide both sound and sight to help keep their attention. Since it moves around, it helps with touch and fine motor skills and coordination. Mini Wiggly Giggly Ball
4. Jumbo Knob Puzzles
Jumbo knob puzzles are one of my favorites toys for autistic toddlers. The large knobs are easier for toddlers to work with which reduces frustration. They are perfect for working on colors, shapes, identification, and coordination. There are many out there, so you are able to work with shapes, animals identification, and more. Jumbo Knob Puzzle
5. Sensory Chew Toys
Sensory chew toys are amazing and rarely expensive. Most parents see these as solely for little babies who are teething. A lot of children with autism do have oral sensory needs. These types of toys are safe for toddlers to chew on and many have extra textures that help as well. Sensory Chew Toys
Bubbles with wands and blowers are such amazing sensory toys for autistic toddlers. Bubble guns make it easier for parents. Catching bubbles helps with sensory as well as visual awareness. Blowing bubbles is a calming activity as it causes slow, deep breaths. This also helps promote speech. Bubble Blowers
7. Counting Bear and Cups
Our occupational therapist introduced us to this set of toys for autistic toddlers. Counting Bears and cups are so versatile! These cannot be left down due to size, but they are perfect for working with your child. You can have them pick them up with their fingers and ask them to place them in the matching cup. You can also use children’s pretend tweezers for them to pick up the bears and work on fine motor skills. Rainbow Counting Bears with Matching Sorting Cups
8. Lacing Beads
Lacing beads are perfect for working on fine motor skills. Have your child place the shape in one hand and the string on the other hand. By stringing them one-handed, it will work on eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Practice with asking them to grab a specific color or even work with making patterns. Melissa & Doug Primary Lacing Beads
9. Mini Trampoline
Mini trampolines are amazing! We have a large trampoline in our backyard, so I wasn’t quick to buy one of these as I thought it was pointless. Then winter came and my son refused to go out in the cold (even though we bundled him). After a couple of weeks of not being able to get that psychical input from our outdoor trampoline, I gave in and bought one. It was our best investment to date! He can go jump whenever he needs to. Even while doing other therapy, we let him jump for 10-20 times (while counting) to help him get through the task at hand. Mini Trampoline
Looking for more?
Whether you just received an autism diagnosis or several years in, finding the right support is key. If you have specific needs you are needing help with, we are here for you. To find out more and to get your free session, click here to learn about Autism Parent Coaching.