An autistic child may experience challenges when it comes to playing, but there are specific toys for autism to develop numerous skill sets like:

  • Motor skills (balance and coordination)
  • Social skills (interaction)
  • Speech skills (communication)
  • Sensory skills (relaxation and focus)

Playtime is a vital role in a child’s development, especially early on.

Without further ado, here are the best 15 toys to encourage learning, play, and development for kids diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Be sure to stick around to access your bonus resource at the end of this post. 🙂

Crash Mat


For kids who need to get their energy out, a crash mat provides a safe way to do this.

These mats are fantastic versatile tools to use for movement-based activities like:

  • Jumpingcrash-mat
  • Rolling
  • Sitting or resting
  • Dancing

For added safety, place the mat under things like a swing or slide to protect from bumps and bruises.

Pros

  • Hassle-free to clean (easily remove the cover to machine wash)
  • Helps sensory seeking
  • Helps sensory under responders
  • Improves mood and focus
  • A fun way to exercise

Cons

Final Verdict: An incredibly versatile tool for ages 3 years and up.  It offers sensory input to protect high-energy kids from injury.  Use it in sensory rooms, schools, clinics, or at home.

►►View Now: Crash Mat◄◄

crash-mat

Wily Fox Sensory Toys


Developed by a speech therapist and disability specialist, this educational activity enhances a child’s speech.

Consider this toy a ‘speech therapy’ tool for a child to learn through play.

How it Works

Enjoy this simple puzzle game where you “sort” the animals by color.

The game includes an assortment of things like 36 cardboard animal flashcards, stickers, velcro, and 4 colorful game boards of different habitats (farm, forest, ocean, and jungle).

Pros

  • Game pieces made out of high-quality safe material
  • Enhances various skill sets (fine motor, memory, problem-solving, and visual perception)
  • Inspires imaginary play
  • Easy to play

Cons

  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: A fun learning game for kids who experience a speech delay or who love animals.

►► View Now: Wily Fox Sensory Toys ◄◄

Super Chews


Hence the name “super chews” this material is “super tough”.

These chews are great for kids teething or for aggressive chewers.

The purpose of a chew toy is to reduce a child’s stress and anxiety.

It provides a safe alternative chewing solution to clothes, pens, hands, or other unsafe things kids may want to put in their mouth.super-chews

Pros

  • Strengthens oral muscles
  • Releases tension in the mouth
  • Helps tactile sensitivity
  • Made from non-toxic materials (free of PVC, BPA, phthalates, and latex)
  • Two texture chew options (knobby or smooth)
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Smaller in size so better suited for kids ages 6 months to 3 years

Final Verdict: For kids 6 months and up, this toy supports challenges of sensory issues, ADHD, Autism, and little ones who are teething.  

►►View Now: Super Chews◄◄

super-chews

Fat Brain Dipl Baby Toy


This toy holds a little one’s attention (even adults) with the bright colored silicone bubbles.

You can’t help but keep staring at it!

Most importantly, your sensory skills are put into action as you poke, pop, or push the colorful bubbles.

Pros

  • Encourages cause-effect learning
  • Develops sensory exploration
  • Improves fine motor skills
  • Entertaining
  • Keeps little fingers busy
  • Safe for chewers (BPA-free)
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Hair may cling to the silicone material (if you have a pet that sheds)

Final Verdict: A great fidget toy or tool to encourage sensory play for babies and toddlers.

►► View Now: Fat Brain Dipl Baby Toy ◄◄

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book


This wordbook exposes kids to 100 different words in both English and Spanish.

It’s an educational tool for a child to learn their vocabulary.

You are introduced to all sorts of things like animals, food, colors, cars, clothes, body parts, and opposites.

It’s an interactive toy where you touch the word to play cool sound effects and facts.

Pros

  • Helps progress speech skills
  • Develops fine motor skills (turning the pages, pressing buttons)
  • Engaging
  • A great alternative than capturing your cell phone 🙂
  • Interactive

Cons

  • Requires two AA batteries
  • The thin pages may be slippery to turn for small fingers

Final Verdict: This is a wonderful speech tool to learn beginner words for babies and toddlers.

►► View Now: LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book ◄◄

leapfrog-learning-word-book

Wooden Number Puzzle Sorting Montessori Toys


An engaging STEM activity to help with early math skills.

Learn shapes, numbers, and colors.

Get hands-on by stacking blocks or dropping the counter rings over the pegs.

Pros

  • Develops color recognition
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Inspires creativity and imagination
  • Strengthens fine motor functions
  • Durable (made of 100% natural wood)
  • Safe for kids (pieces covered with non-toxic water-based paint)
  • Encourages focus and concentration

Cons

  • The wooden pegs are not glued in so they may come loose during playtime
  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: This makes a great sensory toy for toddlers to encourage focus while developing early math skills.  Use it in the classroom (grades Pre-K to Kindergarten), at home, or in clinics.  

►► View Now: Wooden Number Puzzle Sorting Montessori Toys ◄◄

Wooden Number Puzzle Sorting Montessori Toys

Magz-Bricks 40 Piece Magnetic Building Set


This is a fun hands-on activity to build different shapes and designs.

It allows kids to express themselves creatively.

The sky is the limit of how you want to build!

Pros

  • Encourages open-ended play
  • Learn colors
  • Easy to build (strong magnetic force pushes pieces together)
  • Sparks creativity
  • Builds numerous skill sets (fine motor, sensory, visual perception)

Cons

  • No storage bag or container included
  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: An excellent hands-on activity to boost a child’s creativity and focus.

►► View Now: Magz-Bricks 40 Piece Magnetic Building Set ◄◄

Magz-Bricks 40 Piece Magnetic Building Set

The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids


Exposing a child to various moods and emotions gives them the permission that it is “OK to feel this way”.

In this fun flipbook, you learn facial expressions along with the mood to match.

A positive exercise to do with this book is to have your kiddo flip to the page of the current mood they feel.

Then, reinforce a positive action to take.

This exercise helps kids identify their feelings and make positive choices.

Pros

  • Boosts confidence
  • Helps you compartmentalize emotions
  • Learn 20 different moods
  • Built-in stand to flip the pages easily
  • Durable pages are laminated for quick cleaning
  • Benefits communication and social skills

Cons

  • There are no flip tabs to find the mood you may need right away

Final Verdict: A helpful learning tool for kids of ALL ages to recognize and understand their emotions.  Use it to display at home, in school, clinics, or counseling offices.

►► View Now: The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids ◄◄

The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids

Magna Tiles Metropolis 110 Piece Set


This STEM activity helps improves a child’s learning skills in math and science through play.

It’s a magnetic building set to develop these skill sets by:

  • Building patterns and numbers (math-based skills)
  • Learn concepts of gravity (science-based skills)
  • Build two or three-dimensional designs (both math and science-based skills)

Pros

  • Engaging STEM activity
  • Improve fine motor skills
  • Spurs creativity
  • Easily change up your play environment (build the tiles on a magnetic board, metal baking sheet, refrigerator, or garage door)

Cons

  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: For kids who get bored easily, the Magna Tiles create a flexible play environment to keep things fun and fresh.

►► View Now: Magna Tiles Metropolis 110 Piece Set ◄◄

Magna Tiles Metropolis 110 Piece Set

Pop Tubes


For kids who are like to fidget or grasp onto things, these pop tubes are an excellent sensory tool.

There are numerous ways to play with these plastic tubes by stretching, connecting, or popping.

This is a wonderful activity to get fingers moving to improve fine motor strength or to focus.

Pros

  • Develop strength and coordination in the hands
  • Budget-friendly
  • Provides tactile stimulation
  • Storage box included
  • Lightweight
  • Fun fidget toy to improve concentration or anxiety

Cons

  • The plastic is not made for kids to chew on or to put in their mouth

Final Verdict: For kids who struggle with sensory processing disorders or who are anxious, the pop tube is a perfect toy to get.  Use it as a physical therapy tool during sessions, at home, in the classroom, or in clinics.

►►View Now: Pop Tubes◄◄

pop-tubes

Brain Flakes 500 Piece Interlocking Plastic Disc Set


Another great building activity for developing spatial skills is the brain flakes set.

Spatial skills are when you recall the relationships among objects.

Learn to create different designs by snapping the interconnecting discs into place.

If you need building inspiration, the set comes with simple instructions on how to construct your very own “Brain Flakes Ball”.

Pros

  • Encourage fine motor functions
  • A fun way to learn colors
  • Inspires imagination
  • Challenges thinking
  • Plastic jar included for easy storage or to travel with
  • Plastic material is safe for kiddos (free of lead, metal, and BPA)

Cons

  • Pieces may be difficult to disassemble
  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: This toy is made for aspiring young engineers!  It’s an excellent STEM activity to use at home, in the classroom, or in clinics.

►►View Now: Brain Flakes 500 Piece Interlocking Plastic Disc Set◄◄

Brain Flakes 500 Piece Interlocking Plastic Disc Set

Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad


This game set inspires the “little genius” in kids (hence, the name).

It teaches you all sorts of wonderful things like letters, phonics (ABCs), how to draw, colors, and more.

In order to play you need both an osmo base (which is included) and an iPad (which is not included).

Pros

  • Hand-held pieces to play with while you learn
  • Strengthens numerous skill sets (problem-solving, communication, fine motor)
  • Four educational games included
  • Allows tactile exploration
  • Interactive hands-on activity
  • Osmo base included

Cons

  • iPad not included
  • Compatible with all iPads except Generation 1, iPad Air 4, iPad Pro 11-inch, and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (the minimum iOS version needed is iOS 10).  For current iPad compatibility, click here (this is continuously updated with the most recent iPad versions).

Final Verdict: This is a fun learning game for toddlers or preschoolers that does not require WiFi.  Use it at home or in the classroom.

►► View Now: Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad ◄◄

 

Little Genius Starter Kit for iPad

Water Beads, 24pcs Ocean Sea Animals Tactile Sensory


To inspire sensory play in kids, this toy takes it to a whole new level!

Add a little water to the beads in the ocean play mat and watch the magic unfold.

The water beads become elastic and slippery which creates a soothing sensory experience.

Navigate your fingers through the water beads to move and play with different ocean creatures (24 total come in the set).

Pros

  • Encourages hands-on exploration
  • Enhances imaginary play
  • Excellent sensory tool
  • Water beads are safe (non-toxic and recyclable)
  • Versatile toy (create a stress ball by adding the water beads in a balloon)

Cons

  • Not for kids under 3 years or who like to chew on things (as small beads may be a choking hazard)
  • Instructions are not included for how much water to add in relation to the water beads.  If you need basic instructions, click here.

Final Verdict: From toddlers to teens, this is the best toy to inspire sensory exploration.

►► View Now: Water Beads, 24pcs Ocean Sea Animals Tactile Sensory ◄◄

Ocean Sea Animals Tactile Sensory

Bristle Shape 3D Building Blocks Tiles Construction Toy Set


This is one of the easiest building toys for kids.

The bristle shape design allows you to connect or disconnect pieces effortlessly.

These building blocks are a great alternative for kids who are not ready to play with legos.

Pros

  • Create endless designs
  • Entertaining activity
  • Improve hand-eye coordination
  • Learn colors, counting, and sorting
  • Promotes brain development
  • Entertaining STEM activity
  • Booklet included with how to build different things
  • Safe material (BPA free and non-toxic)

Cons

  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: A fantastic educational tool to encourage fine motor play and foster STEM skills in kids Pre-K to Kindergarten.  Use it at home, in school, in pediatrician waiting rooms, or in clinics.

►► View Now: Bristle Shape 3D Building Blocks Tiles Construction Toy Set ◄◄

Bristle Shape 3D Building Blocks Tiles Construction Toy Set

Monkey Balance Cool Math Game


Learning math just became FUN.

Use the ‘monkey balance’ to count, sort, and practice basic math skills (like adding or subtracting).

Pros

  • Attention-grabbing activity
  • Stimulating multi-level math games
  • Improve memory
  • Encourage fine motor skills
  • Inclusive activity
  • Develop and grow math skills

Cons

  • Not for kids under 3 years (small pieces may be a choking hazard)

Final Verdict: An engaging way to promote math skills through play for kids Pre-K to 5th Grade.  Use it at home, in the classroom, in tutoring sessions, or in daycares.

►► View Now: Monkey Balance Cool Math Game ◄◄

Monkey Balance Cool Math Game for Boys & Girls

Final Takeaway


It is common for kids with Autism to have limited play skills.

You may find your kiddo wanting to play with a few toys or some over and over again, or none at all.

For a toy to hold a child’s attention, it creates a pleasant environment to play rather than engage in self-stimulating behavior.

Playtime matters because it’s an opportunity to have fun, learn, and develop new skills!

Thank You!


I want to wrap up by extending my gratitude to thank you for stopping by today!

If you have other therapy toys to recommend, questions or anything to add that I did not cover in this post, please feel free to comment below.

If you found value in this information, please click the sidebar link to share with someone else. 🙂

→ Bonus Resource: If you are undergoing financial constraints to care for a child with special needs, click here for a list of potential funding resources to help you with the purchase of sensory products. ←

The-Best-15-Toys-for-Autism


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