When choosing toys for children with autism, start by thinking about what they like. Does the child you are shopping for have an interest in a particular subject? If so look at gifts in these areas. If the child is interested in dinosaurs, cars, or planes then look at toys or books related to this area. However, if this is a highly specialized area you may want to keep an eye out for these types of items all year long as they can be difficult to find around the holidays.

 

Developmental Ability

When choosing toys for children with autism think about their developmental ability rather than their age. Some children may be in grade school, yet their developmental age may be closer to preschool. For example:

  • A child who is beginning to notice their peers will do better with simple turn taking board games such as The Berenstain Bears Learn to Share Game, or Photo Match Up.
  • Good toys for children with autism who interact very little with other people are cause-and-effect toys. These toys teach autistic children that their actions can cause something in their environment to change. These types of toys can provide simple positive interactions with autistic children and their family members.
  • Many children have difficulty with fine motor skills. These are skills that require them to use their fingers and hands (like holding a pencil). Simple fine motor toys that are fun can also help children on the autism spectrum develop this essential skill. Some of our favorites include the Bed Bug Game, peg boards or Wikki Stix.
  • Regardless of age many autistic children enjoy sensory toys.
  • Is the child visually oriented? If so think about interesting visual toys or items such as disco lamps, sand panels, light twirlers or fountains.
  • Does the autistic child seek to touch lots of things? If so think about toys that are tactile. Good tactile sensory toys for children with autism must be durable and interesting touch. Some popular sensory toys for autistic children include vibrating massagers or mitts, squigglets, tangle toys, or fidget toys.

 

Toys Can Help with Social Skills and Language

Children learn through play. Play is essential for teaching social skills and language. The following toys have been very helpful for this:

  • Playtime with Zeebu, GeoSafari Smart Talk, Charades as well as matching and sequencing games.

It can be a challenge choosing toys for children with autism. We hope these tips have been helpful for you. If you have any questions about choosing a gift for your autistic child feel free to contact us!

 

Resources & Stores:

Melissa and Doug

Autism Toys and More

A survey to help decide which toy might be right for your child.