15 Best Toys For Children With Autism To Play In 2024, As Per An Expert

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Encourage learning and interaction among children with autism with the best toys for autistic children. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder learn well through play (1). When they play with these toys, their sensory-motor skills develop along with their language, problem-solving, and social interaction skills. With various designs and features, these toys are fun to play with and aid the children’s overall development. Unlike neurotypical toddlers and kids, children with ASD may struggle to play with some toys. We have handpicked a few best-selling ones that they can interact and engage with easily. So, read on to explore these time-tested options and find the one that best suits your child’s needs.

In This Article

Sensory Toys For Children With Autism

The majority of children diagnosed with autism also have sensory processing disorder. Some toys provide a sensory experience that children with ASD crave. The toys allow the children to engage their senses of touch, hearing, and vision. Also, integrating sensory therapy via play by using music toys, sensory mats, water toys, and more can help improve a child’s daily functioning and sensory sensitivity.

1. Best Focus-Enhancing Toy: Adorox Liquid Bubble Drop Motion Wheel

Adorox Liquid Bubble Drop Motion Wheel

The Adorox Liquid Bubble Drop is a beautiful desk toy that doubles as a visual stimulant for children with special needs. Children with autism tend to look at lights or moving dots or objects to stay focused. A toy like this can help a child with autism who might also have hyperactivity. This special needs toy can help the child calm down and focus on one thing.

Color: White, Clear Bubbler

Pros

  • No heat danger
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Durable and safe

Cons

  • May be smaller than expected
  • May leak over time

Our Tester's Experience

"I got these liquid-motion toys to improve my child’s focus and alleviate stress, and they have worked so far. They have also proven durable, surviving numerous drops without damage. The limited color choices were slightly disappointing, but the versatility of the toys makes up for that."


2. Best Stress-Relieving: ATiC 12-Sided Fidget Cube



When the child is stressed and does not have a parent or teacher to calm him down, a fidget toy might come in handy. The ATiC 12-sided fidget cube can help relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and relax children with autism or ADHD. This pocket-sized toy is a must-have when your child goes out on long drives or outings and needs something to keep their hands occupied and mind relaxed, making it a trusted choice.

Material: ‎ABS, Polycarbonate and ABS, Polycarbonate | Color: ‎Green/Colorful | Item Weight: ‎0.14 Pounds | Item Dimensions LxWxH: ‎2.7 x 2.4 x 2.9 inches

Pros

  • Includes smiley minion faces, sliding blocks, soft buttons, silicone sensory ball, a joystick that moves 360 degrees, etc.
  • Made from high-quality and non-toxic polycarbonate
  • Safe, durable, and child-friendly
  • Small and lightweight enough to carry in pocket

Cons

  • Might be slightly smaller than expected
  • Some might find it slightly loud

Our Tester's Experience

"Traveling with my restless toddler has become much easier, all thanks to this compact fidget cube. Although some components can feel a bit noisy, the various stimulatory options have kept my child entertained on multiple occasions. So, it has become a staple in my travel bag."


protip_icon Quick fact
Fidgeting can help children with autism stay calm and block the sensory inputs that cause discomfort (1).

3. Best Oral Sensory Toy: Atsky Sensory Chew Necklaces

The chew toy necklaces by Atsky are made of food-grade silicone for optimal safety. They have satin nylon cords that are skin-friendly and don’t irritate or get tangled in the hair. These necklaces help relieve your child’s anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and reduce fidgeting. They are soft and easy on the gums and teeth due to their medium firmness. According to the reviewers, you can easily clean them in the dishwasher or with mild soap.

Item Weight: 2.08 Ounces | Color: multicolor | Material: Nylon, Silicone.

Pros

  • Easy-to-shorten cords
  • Durable
  • Free of latex, PVC, phthalates, and BPA
  • Suitable for children with ADHD, SPD, and special needs

Cons

  • May be smaller than you expect
  • May not be suitable for aggressive chewers

Our Tester's Experience

"I found these chew necklaces useful for my child's sensory needs. Their durability stands out, and the breakaway string doesn't compromise safety. However, the hardness could be too much for some. Overall, it is a great tool, and I would recommend it!"


protip_icon Caution
The FDA warns against using chewing necklaces, as they might cause choking and strangulation (2).

4. Best Toy For Auditory Senses: Vehicle Sound Blocks

4.5

The Vehicle Sound Blocks by the trusted brand Melissa & Doug is a simple puzzle that engages the child’s auditory senses. It features six different vehicles, and all that the children have to do is match the blocks to hear the sound of that vehicle. Vehicle sound blocks enhance visual perception, fine motor skills, and coordination, and improve the daily functioning skills of your child. Watch a tester’s experience in this video to get a detailed review of the product.

Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required | Item Weight: 1 pounds | Product Dimensions: 12 x 1 x 8.5 inches

Pros

  • Easy to play with
  • Teaches picture association and identifying vehicle sounds
  • Comes with six sides featuring a boat, plane, train, motorcycle, fire engine, and ambulance
  • Sounds are realistic and engaging

Cons

  • Batteries are not included
  • Might have a slight sound delay

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

About 11,145 reviewers on Amazon have given their seal of approval to the product.

Puzzles For Children With Autism

Children with autism enjoy solving puzzles. In fact, they have a knack for solving puzzles! Puzzles are fun and can be used to teach the kids anything with ease. Our list of puzzles includes sound puzzles, peg and knob puzzles, sensory foam puzzles and more.

5. Best Animal-Themed Puzzle For Autism: Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle

4.4
Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle Image: Melissa & Doug

The puzzle helps engage the child’s auditory senses. This wooden peg sound puzzle features eight pegs that your child has to set in the appropriate gaps. If the child places the animal puzzle piece correctly, a happy farm animal sounds its voice. This age-appropriate sound puzzle is interactive and focuses on identifying and matching colors and shapes.

Batteries: 2 AAA batteries required | Item Weight: 1.2 pounds | Product Dimensions: 1 x 11.6 x 8.5 inches

Pros

  • Light-activated
  • Bright colors promote color recognition
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Handcrafted design
  • Encourages hands-on, screen-free play

Cons

  • Trigger might only be activated by very bright light
  • Does not include batteries

Our Tester's Experience

"I appreciate the educational value of this interactive animal puzzle. The pieces are durable and fit well, engaging my child with cute animal sounds and songs for delightful learning and playtime. While some sounds are more authentic than others, its interactive design and simple interface make it an excellent learning tool."


6. Best Educational Toy For Autism: See & Spell Learning Toy

4.7

The toy for autism focuses not just on the pictorial representation of the words, but also on the language part. The See and Spell Learning toy by Melissa and Doug is a simple puzzle that also doubles up as a basic educational toy that teaches spelling to the child. The skill-building puzzle helps improve sight-reading, language skills, and fine motor skills.

Item Weight: 2.6 pounds | Product Dimensions: 3 x 6.5 x 14 inches

Pros

  • Comes with over 50 pieces of English letters and eight two-sided boards
  • Helps teach the spellings of four-letter words
  • Colorful letters and boards make the toy appealing and engaging
  • Can be a helpful addition to classrooms for children with special needs

Cons

  • Lack of lid might lead to misplaced pieces
  • Edges of the toy might be slightly rough

Our Tester's Experience

"I love how effective these educational puzzle boards are in teaching spelling and reading. While I like their sturdy construction and engaging learning process, the quality and storage design can be better. Overall, it's a satisfying purchase."


Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Join the 13,776 satisfied buyers on Amazon who have said the product meets their needs and expectations.

7. Best Building Blocks For Autism: Edushape Magnetic Shapes

3.6
Edushape Magnetic Shapes Image: Edushape

The set of 54 soft magnetic building blocks encourages creativity through play while helping your little one develop their sensory and gross motor skills. Being lightweight, these can be carried around easily. Furthermore, these are made from quality and safe materials and do not include rough surfaces or splinters, making them suitable for babies. Playing with these alone or with friends will keep those little minds busy for hours.

Item Weight: 12.8 ounces | Product Dimensions: 11.81 x 7.87 x 3.94 inches

Pros

  • Helps promote STEM learning
  • Helps learn about shape and balance
  • Can be arranged in numerous ways
  • Colorful and easy to use
  • Encourages socialization

Cons

  • Magnetic strips might fall with use
  • Size might be smaller than expected

Our Tester's Experience

"These foam blocks are very gentle on my son's hands. He likes to chew on things, so the soft build is much loved. It has also come in handy for explaining the concepts of balance and geometry. Although the magnets are not the strongest, the set works wonderfully for my little man."


8. Best Two-In-One Toy For Autism: Anlabay 2-In-1 Pop Blocks Jigsaw Puzzle


The two-in-one bubble fidget toy set is a combination of 48 pieces of pop and building blocks. It is a great autism toy to keep the children engaged in a fun, creative way and help them think and strategize. Loved by many reviewers, these vibrantly colored toy pieces can also help children identify colors and shapes, develop their logical thinking, and enhance their motor skills.

Item Weight: 10.7 ounces

Pros

  • Comes in a pack of 48 pieces that can be put together to form different shapes
  • Pressing the mouse bubbles helps create a popping sound to relieve stress, especially for children with ADD, ADHD, or OCD
  • High-quality, durable, and non-toxic materials
  • Washable and reusable
  • Easy to carry and don’t require much space

Cons

  • Might not be true to size

Our Tester's Experience

"I recently got these blocks for my nephew and found them to be quite engaging for him. They offer tactile and creative challenges, which work well for children in their early years. While the placement of the circles seemed flimsy, it can keep him engaged for hours."


Physical Activity Toys For Children With Autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder need more than just mind games. The toys listed here have activities for children that can help them develop their gross motor skills and physical coordination.

9. Best Toy For Physical Coordination: Gonge Bouncing River Stone

4.3
Best Toy For Physical Coordination: Gonge Bouncing River Stone Image: Gonge

If you are looking for autism toys that can inspire and motivate your children to be physically active while stimulating their social and cognitive skills, then consider the five-set Gonge bouncing river stones. These colorful stones feature a soft base and a rigid surface, enabling children to play with them for hours without slips or falls. Further, these are supported by three steel springs that allow easy bouncing, adding more fun to the playtime.

Material: PP, TPE, Steel | Item Weight: 6.88 Pounds | Color: Assorted | Product Dimensions: 15 x 14.5 x 7 inches

Pros

  • Helps learn to balance
  • Helps develop motor skills
  • Good for building concentration
  • Can be played individually or with a group

Cons

  • Might be bulky for some
  • Younger children might need supervision

10. Best Balancing Toy For Autism: Alex Toys Active Play Monkey Balance Board


The board helps the kids maintain balance and stay steady on their feet. Not to mention, the monkey balance board promises endless fun. Once ready, the child has to stand on the board with each foot on either side of the platform and try to balance by shifting their weight to the left and the right. The aim is not just to swing left and right, but to try and adjust the board on its center, with both the sides of the platform above the ground. It comes with a colorful platform with the image of a smiling monkey on it.

Item Weight: 1 pounds | Product Dimensions: 17 x 10.25 x 1.75 inches

Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Designed with the safety of children in mind
  • Suitable for children between three and seven.
  • Helps improve physical coordination

Cons

  • Might not be challenging enough for older children
  • Edges might scratch the floors

Our Tester's Experience

"This balance board has been a satisfactory addition to my children's playtime, engaging children's core and balance skills. While it features a sturdy structure, it requires close supervision due to its slipperiness, especially on hardwood floors or with socks on. It may not be a substitute for rigorous balance training, yet it remains a sturdy, fun option for indoor activity."


11. Best Versatile Toy For Autism: Moluk Bilibo


At first glance, the Moluk Bilibo looks deceptively simple, like a military helmet. But it is so much more than just a shell-shaped toy. Made of non-toxic, safe polyethylene material, the Bilibo is light in weight and has multiple uses. The toy encourages open-ended imaginative play, inspiring and encouraging the child to try new ways to use it! It is shatterproof and can be used indoors or outdoors.

Frame Material: Polyethylene | Item Weight: 0.5 Pounds | Product Dimensions: 16"D x 16"W x 9"H

Pros

  • Becomes a rocking seat when placed on the floor on its curved side
  • Acts as a protective shell when placed upside down on the child’s back
  • Available in eight colors and has multiple uses.
  • Can work as a revolving seat for sliding in the snow,  a bowl for toys, a helmet, a float in the swimming pool, or as a stepping stone on sand or snow.

Cons

  • Might not be as engaging for some kids

Our Tester's Experience

"This toy's simplicity sparks creative play, and the durable design withstands energetic use, from spinning to pretend play. While my child needed initial guidance to unlock its potential, it soon became his favorite. It is an excellent toy for encouraging active and imaginative fun."


12. Best Physical Therapy Toy For Autism: Space Hopper Ball

Space hoppers are inflated physical therapy balls that the children can sit on and jump around in the room. Not only do they help in strengthening the core muscles of the child, but also improve the child’s ability to balance. They can also help reduce hyperactivity in the child. These hoppers are also a fun way to exercise the body and can be used by adults too.

4.5
Space Hopper Ball Image: Appleround®
Item Weight: 801 Grams | Color: Blue, Multicolored | Material: Metal

Pros

  • Comes with a handle on top, ensuring a solid grip to keep the child from falling off.
  • Made of an eco-friendly material free of any toxic substances.
  • Helps in balance training and vestibular orientation.
  • Includes a two-way hand pump

Cons

  • Might be slightly big for younger children
  • Not available in other colors

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This hopper ball is a hit with my children, as they encourage physical activity through fun. Its durable construction can withstand enthusiastic play. I would recommend it for both indoor and outdoor activities."


Educational Toys For Children With Autism

Children with autism spectrum disorder have difficulty in focusing, understanding and learning like other kids do (3). They tend to have difficulty learning necessary skills that the other children learn with ease. In this section, we have listed a few toys that can teach them a few basic skills and some more in a fun and exciting way.

13. Best For Fine Motor Skills: Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board

4.4

The Basic Skills Board by Melissa and Doug is one of the best toys for children with autism. Designed to be an educational toy, the board lets children practice simple dressing skills like tying the shoes, buttoning the shirt and buckling up a bag. The board features an image of a happy bear with all the necessary items such as lace, belts, buttons and a zipper. It can be a great addition to the collection of toys of children with ASD.

Batteries: 1 12V batteries required | Item Weight: 1.1 pounds | Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 13.38 x 17.7 inches

Pros

  • Six-piece puzzle board for children aged three or more
  • Helps improve a child’s fine motor skills
  • Each wooden puzzle piece has a tool like a zipper, shoelace, belt with buckle, clasp, and buttons.
  • Made of high-quality wood and is durable
  • Can be used in a classroom

Cons

  • Might not be suited to smaller children
  • May only hold attention for short bursts of time

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This puzzle provides diverse skill-building opportunities, including zipping, buttoning, and tying. While some components seemed stiff or tricky initially, they seem easy to use. The board is a fun and colorful tool for developing fine motor skills, and I am quite satisfied with my purchase."


14. Best For Communication Skills: Childswork/Childsplay The Coping Skills Game

ChildsworkChildsplay The Coping Skills Game

Children with autism might often find it challenging to express their emotions and communicate with others. The Coping Skills Game is designed to help children develop essential skills for emotional self-care. This emotion card game teaches nine essential coping skills and is designed to help children calm the mind, handle frustration, feel more confident, and verbalize their needs.

Item Weight: 1.59 pounds | Product Dimensions: 10 x 10 x 2.5 inches

Pros

  • Suitable for two to four players
  • Suitable for children between seven and 12 years
  • Easy to remember
  • Can work for small counseling sessions

Cons

  • Examples may be longer than expected
  • Board may seem flimsy

Our Tester's Experience

"This coping skills game helped my kids learn useful thinking strategies for managing anxiety. The engagement factor, with tokens as incentives, adds to its appeal. While it's more suited to those comfortable with extensive reading, it may not resonate with younger kids or those with reading difficulties. So, adult involvement is necessary."


15. Best Interactive Flash Cards: Early Flash Cards


Flashcards can be useful when your child has difficulty remembering what he or she has learned at school. The Early Flash Cards set helps the child learn the alphabet, numbers, shapes, phonics and simple words. Ideal for children aged four to eight, these skill-building flashcards reinforce what the child has already learned at school. The colorful pictures on the flashcards make them appealing to children. While this is not technically a toy, learning with flashcards can be as fun as other toys.

Item Weight: 2.55 pounds | Product Dimensions: 5.75 x 5.13 x 4.13 inches

Pros

  • Divided by tabs for easy organization
  • Help children succeed in academics and boosts their confidence
  • Includes resource cards with game and activity ideas
  • Helps develop various essential skills

Cons

  • Might be slightly cumbersome to take out of the box
  • Some may find the set repetitive in certain subjects
Our Tester's Experience

"The collection is pretty comprehensive and designed for various learning stages. While the cards are durable, colorful, and provide helpful learning tips, I found it challenging to organize them in the box. However, this set is a valuable educational resource for young learners."

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Tips For Buying Toys For Children With Autism

When it comes to buying something for children, we are seldom hasty. We tend to gauge the usefulness of the toy, the durability, the safety, and the cost. And when it comes to buying something for a child with special needs, we may end up overthinking our shopping. Well, there is no need for that. Here is all you need to remember when buying toys for a child with autism.

  • The child’s needs and interests are the two most important things you need to remember when you look for toys. Just like any other kid, a child with special needs also has likes and dislikes. Being thoughtful about them can help you a great deal in choosing that right gift.
  • Ask the question, “Will my child be able to play with that?” or “How simple or difficult is it to play with that toy?” Keeping in mind the child’s cognitive levels will ensure that the toys you buy will be put to good use.
  • If you are buying a gift for someone else’s kid, just ask the parents what the kid would like.
  • Check online for reviews of a particular toy or game before you buy it. Better yet, just buy it online. Many online shopping websites cater to the needs of toddlers with autism. From sensory toys for tactile stimulation to educational kits, your options online are many. Also, you get some of the best bargains when you shop online.
  • Remember that not all toys are for everyone. Keep in mind the child’s age, interests, ability to comprehend and their skills before investing in a toy. If there is a specific skill that you want the child to improve, such as hand-eye coordination, look for toys that aid in that.
  • Select quality over quantity. Children often end up playing with just one or two toys they like the most, even when they have a box full of them lying next to them. So, it should not be about getting more toys, but about getting the right toys.

How We Selected The Best Toys For Children With Autism

We have tried to be thoughtful while choosing this list of best-selling toys for children with autism. Considering their needs and learning requirements, we have selected the toys that are engaging, stimulating, and child-friendly. These consumer-tested toys will help your child learn valuable developmental skills and reach their milestones. The products in our list are non-toxic and made of high-quality materials to ensure your child’s safety. Moreover, we have considered the reviews of real buyers to provide you an unbiased opinion and to help you choose the right toy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the best types of toys for kids with autism?

Children with autism like playing with fidgets, stuffed animals, and putty. Such toys help them keep calm and engaged.

2. What types of toys should children with autism not play with?

Avoid toys that include art and craft, as they can be tough to play with. Toys like slime, noisy toys, and toys with bright flashing lights are not ideal for children with autism.

3. Are sensory toys good for autism?

Sensory toys help children with anxiety, motor skills, and social interaction. These toys also help them maintain a sense of calm under stressful situations and relieve anxiety.

The Bottom Line

Children with autism can immensely benefit from toys specially designed to help develop their motor and problem-solving skills. These time-tested toys help engage them through play and aid in their overall development. We recommend the See & Spell Learning Toy for sight-reading, Melissa & Doug Vehicle Sound Blocks, designed to engage auditory senses, and Melissa & Doug Farm Sound Puzzle to encourage hands-on play sessions. Moreover, when picking the best toys for children with autism, ensure they are of the right size and shape, suit their age group, and can benefit them. Considering the child’s cognitive levels, interests, needs, and wants can also help you pick a suitable option. Finally, choose a colorful and portable toy to encourage your little one to interact with it.

Infographic: How To Choose The Right Toys For Children With Autism?

Children with autism have slower cognitive ability and delayed developmental skills. Therefore, you must include toys to help them meet their developmental and sensory needs. The infographic below includes specific pointers you should remember when selecting toys to ensure those toys are engaging and therapeutic for them.

Tips For Choosing Toys For Children With Autism (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Sensory issues
    https://www.autismspeaks.org/sensory-issues
  2. FDA: Teething necklaces can lead to choking, strangulation
    https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/9241?autologincheck=redirected

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