The Best Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022 (2023)

Play is an essential part of a child’s development. It helps children learn about their environment, make sense of the world, and interact with others. Play also provides children with opportunities to explore and experiment-which can be significant for kids who have trouble interacting with others or following directions. When it comes to children with autism, playing can be incredibly important for their development. In this article, you’ll learn how to choose the right autism toy for your child. After that, we’ll explore our favorite toys in the following categories:

  • Best Toys for Toddlers with Autism
  • Best Toys for Children with Autism
  • Best Toys for Teenagers with Autism

In the end, we’ll fill you in on what we think is the best overall toy for every age group! So sit back, relax and start getting excited about your child’s next playtime with these helpful hints.

How Do I Choose the Best Autism Toy?

There are lots of toys that can help your child with autism learn to communicate, learn skills, and relax. In fact, ABA therapists use toys to teach cause and effect, pretend play, and other skills. Speech therapists use toys to evoke communication and learn sequences and play skills. Occupational therapists use toys to develop motor or social skills. For kids, though, toys are just plain fun. With all these options, how do you choose the right toys for your kiddo?

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The material and type of toy you choose for your autistic child should be based on 3 things; their development, personal needs, and interests. Think about how your child can develop and grow with a toy. For example, if your child could benefit from promoting their fine motor skills; try toys like building blocks, puzzles, and art supplies. These toys teach kids how to use their hands while also helping them develop hand-eye coordination skills as part of the process. Next, consider how a toy can meet your child’s specific needs and prevent a meltdown. For instance, if your child gets anxious, you might try a weighted stuffed animal or a therapy swing to help relax them when they’re overstimulated.

After you examine your child’s developmental and personal needs, take into account what they actually like to do! If your child likes toys they can manipulate, malleable materials, like putty, could be a great option. Similarly, if your child responds well to touch, sound or light, look into interactive walls. In general, children with autism often enjoy these toys because they help them feel calm and engage their senses in a positive way.

Read more: The Best Toys for Nonverbal Autism by Age Group
The Best Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022 (1)

Our Autism Toy Picks for Toddlers, Kids, & Teens

Below you’ll find our list of the top autism toys for all age groups. While we’ve arranged this list by age group, remember that all children with autism grow and learn at their own unique pace. At the end of the day, you know your kiddo better than anyone so you know what’s right for them. With that, it’s playtime!

#1 Toy for Toddlers With Autism

Play-Doh | 2-6 Years Old

Play-Doh is a fantastic toy for children with autism because it’s open-ended. There are so many different ways you can use it, and as long as you keep an eye on your child, they’ll be having fun for hours at a time. It also helps with fine motor skills, social skills, and hand-eye coordination. This can be especially helpful for kids who are sensory seeking. Best of all, nearly every age group can safely enjoy this toy.

#2 Autism Toy for Toddlers with Autism

Dimpl | 2-4 Years Old

Dimpl is a small, compact toy that fits easily in a child’s or adult’s hand. A dimpl is durable plastic with smooth edges, so it won’t damage furniture or walls if thrown out of frustration. The circular design also makes it easy for kids with poor hand strength to hold onto this toy during stress or anxiety. Although Dimpl is marketed mostly to infants, it’s actually a huge hit with every age right up to teens and beyond.

Read more: 5 Gift Ideas for Kids With ADHD

#3 Autism Toy for Toddlers with Autism

Activity Centers | 0-2 Years Old

Infants are still learning about the world around them. They often won’t reach for toys, so have a parent or caregiver help them play with the activity center. A parent can also model how to interact with the toy by showing their baby how they use it and watching them closely, which will be helpful when it comes to teaching cause and effect (which happens between an action and its result) later on in life.

Honorable Mention: Shape Shorters

Shape sorters are a classic toy that is fun for all ages and can be used to teach children about shapes, colors, matching, and sorting. They come in many different shapes and sizes – some are small enough to fit in your pocket, while others are large enough to fill up a whole room! If you have more than one child playing at once with these toys, make sure that everyone knows not to take other people’s pieces out of their places!

Read more: Why is Play Difficult for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders?
The Best Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022 (2)

#1 Toy for Children with Autism

Legos | 6-13 Years Old

Learning to build a Lego tower is one of the first milestones in early childhood development. And it’s no wonder since making something with Legos teaches the child important skills like spatial awareness, coordination, and problem-solving. Legos are an excellent toy for children with autism. They help them explore shapes, colors, and sizes while encouraging creativity. Your child can use the blocks to build just about anything you can imagine.

(Video) BEST Sensory Toys for Autism | MUST Have Xmas Gifts Guide 2022

Read more: Teaching Kids With Autism How to Ride a Bike

#2 Toy for Children with Autism

BunMo Pop Tubes | 6-13 Years Old

For children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, choosing toys that they can not only enjoy, but that can be therapeutic is very important. That’s why we recommend BunMo Pop Tubes. These are wonderful for children to fidget with, they provide great sensory input in the form of both sensation and soft sound.

#3 Toy for Children with Autism

Trampoline | 7-13 Years Old

We’ve all seen trampolines at playgrounds, but did you know that there are trampolines for kids as young as seven? Children playing on a trampoline helps them with balance and coordination skills and teaches them about gravity. Your child can even use them for different games like volleyball or basketball!

Honorable Mention: Playmobil Figurines

Playmobil is a famous line of toys, especially among children aged 9 to 12 years old. The Playmobil figurines are fun for imaginative play and learning about history. Playmobil figures come in different shapes and sizes, from knights and kings to pirates and adventurers. Each set has various characters for kids to act out stories or create narratives.

Read more: Best Gifts for Autistic Kids
The Best Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022 (3)

#1 Autism Toy for Teenagers

Fidgets | 8-18 Years Old

Fidget toys are small objects that offer additional background stimulation to help a child, teen, or adult focus. They are generally hand-held, simple, and manipulated in any number of ways, including spinning, button pushing, silent clicking, on/off switching, stretching, pressing, rubbing, or turning. There are some simple fidgets that kids can wear around the neck as a necklace, on the wrist, or as a ring. Others are more complex and game or puzzle-like.There are so many different fidget toys to choose from!

#2 Autism Toy for Teenagers

Smart Speakers | 13-18 Years Old

Robots are taking over the world, but hear us out on this one. You might not think of a smart speaker likeAmazon Echoas a toy, but you’d be surprised at the number of games they offer. Not to mention talking with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant helps with auditory stimulation, nonverbal communication, listening skills, and socialization, all while keeping your kid screen-free! They also shape responsibility and self-driven routine management.

#3 Autism Toy for Teenagers

Weighted Blanket | 6-18 Years Old

Many autistic adults and parents of autistic children recommended weighted blankets for dealing with stress and sensory overload. A cooling weighted blanket helps reduce sweating at night and will relax the user. We think weighted blankets are perfect for decompressing after a long day at high school.

Read more: What Are the Best Toys for Kids With ADHD?

Honorable Mention: Minecraft

Okay, okay. This is as much of a ‘toy’ as it is a game – but we couldn’t NOT mention the awesomeness that is Minecraft. Minecraft is an open-world sandbox game where players can build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. When playing Minecraft, you must think about what you want to do next before actually doing it. For example, if you’re going to get wood but only have stone tools, then you need to find some wood first to make better tools that will help you get more materials faster. This teaches children valuable time management skills, which will help them later in life when planning things like getting ready for school or work.

Overall Best Option for Toddlers, Kids, Teens & Adults

Goally | Perfect for All Ages

Goallys’ suite of therapy apps for children, teenagers, and adults with neurodiversity. The device helps its users build skills while having. Use game play as a points-based motivator for your kiddo, help them learn emotional regulation skills, and watch them grow! It also has alanguage learning center, an AAC device,visual schedules, and more!Goally’s expert-informed design is easily customizable for your kiddo’s needs. Watch the video below for a tour of our apps and try Goally today!

Ready, Set, Play!

While people from all walks of life are benefitting from these sensory and stim toys, they hold a special place in the playrooms of autistic children. We hope our list of the best toys for kids with autism gave you some ideas. What matters most is that your child enjoys their playtime and the toys you choose. You know your child better than anyone and what toys they’ll like best! So the next time you find yourself in the toy section, don’t be afraid to try one of these toys for your kid, teenager, or adult with autism.

This post was originally published on April 7, 2021. It was updated on September 27, 2022.

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The Best Autism Toys for Toddlers, Kids & Teens in 2022 (4)


We help parents of kids with special needs with our suite of therapy apps. Backed by science, we incorporate evidence-based practices and expert-informed designs in all of our apps.

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(Video) 5 Great Toys for Autism


What are the best toys for a 4 year old with autism? ›

In fact, the toys commonly found in playgroups, preschools and playrooms of neurotypical toddlers are the same kinds of toys that are beneficial to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). “Puzzles, blocks, balls, cars and books are a great place to start for all kids,” Winter says.

What do kids with autism like to play with? ›

Puzzles are a favorite toy of children with autism, according to their parents. Connecting pieces provides a satisfying tactile sensation, and children enjoy the bright colors that come into picture as the puzzle progresses.

What do autistic kids like as gifts? ›

Top 10 Gifts for Autistic Children
  • Peaceful Pals are a Great Gift for Kids with Autism. ...
  • Dimpl Sensory and Fidget Toys for Autistic Kids. ...
  • Squigz Provide Sensory Stimulation for Kids with ASD. ...
  • Chewies Helps with Oral Motor Skills. ...
  • Gonge Balancing Gifts are Ideal for Autistic Children. ...
  • Kinetic Sand is an Amazing Sensory Gift.

What helps calm kids with autism? ›

7 Relaxation/Self-Calming Strategies Used in Pediatric ABA...
  • Don't reinforce the challenging behaviors. ...
  • Use precise simple language. ...
  • Help to verbally express their emotions. ...
  • Sing preferred songs. ...
  • Create a calm corner (bean bags, dim lighting, sensory toys) ...
  • Take deep breathes. ...
  • Count to 10.

What is a good gift for an autistic toddler? ›

Sensory toys can be fun and incredibly helpful for children who need controlled sensory stimulation to keep calm and collected.
  • Kinetic Sand. ...
  • Headphones. ...
  • Finger Light Gloves. ...
  • Magnetic Tiles. ...
  • Lego Set. ...
  • Fact Books/Special Interest Books. ...
  • Night Light Projector. ...
  • Pop Tubes.
Dec 16, 2019

How do I entertain my 4 year old with autism? ›

10 Therapeutic Activities for Children with Autism
  1. 1) Pool Noodles!
  2. 2) Create sensory bins full of fun items.
  3. 3) Create a safe sensory time-out area.
  4. 4) Sensory Swings for Autism.
  5. 5) Visual schedules.
  6. 6) Make an obstacle course.
  7. 7) Sensory and calm-down bottles.
  8. 8) Playground and outdoor activities.

What do children with autism struggle with? ›

Children with ASD may have difficulty developing language skills and understanding what others say to them. They also often have difficulty communicating nonverbally, such as through hand gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions.

What makes autistic child happy? ›

Reward good behavior.

Positive reinforcement can go a long way with children with ASD, so make an effort to “catch them doing something good.” Praise them when they act appropriately or learn a new skill, being very specific about what behavior they're being praised for.

Do autistic toddlers play with parents? ›

Autistic children enjoy play and learn through play, just as typically developing children do. Through playing with others, your child can learn and practise new social skills and abilities. These skills are important for your child's overall development.

Do autistic toddlers watch TV? ›

Research says that autistic children spend more time on screen than children who do not have autism. About 64.2 percent of young adults with ASD spend their free time on TV, and video games and 13.2 percent of young adults with ASD spend time on social media sites, emails, and chatting.

What kind of food does autistic kids like? ›

Autistic children in the United States tend to prefer bland, neutral-colored foods much more than neurotypical children or those with other developmental conditions do. And for a few autistic children, the list of things they eat contains unusual items: crayons, soap, paper.

What to get a 4 year old boy with autism for his birthday? ›

Some examples of popular sensory items include swings, weighted blankets, or cocoon type beanbag chairs, or toys with interesting textures, that play music, or light up. Remember, to be sensitive with sensory items, many people on the spectrum have sensory integration challenges.

What do autistic kids watch? ›

Many children on the autism spectrum are fascinated by animals, trains, or other aspects of the real world. Selected TV and videos, such as "Animal Planet" and the "Eye Witness" videos can build on those interests.

How do you stop autism meltdown? ›

Strategies to consider include distraction, diversion, helping the person use calming strategies such as fiddle toys or listening to music, removing any potential triggers, and staying calm yourself.

How do I get my autistic child to listen? ›

You can help autistic children cooperate by setting limits, giving effective instructions and offering choices. Changing the environment might make it easier for autistic children to cooperate.

How do you teach an autistic child to talk? ›

Here are our top seven strategies for promoting language development in nonverbal children and adolescents with autism:
  1. Encourage play and social interaction. ...
  2. Imitate your child. ...
  3. Focus on nonverbal communication. ...
  4. Leave “space” for your child to talk. ...
  5. Simplify your language. ...
  6. Follow your child's interests.
Mar 19, 2013

What do you get a 2 year old with autism for Christmas? ›

Activity cubes, balance bikes, Legos, push toys, doll houses, train sets and more pop up all the time and are often still in excellent shape. In addition to your child's interests, keep developmental and sensory needs in mind.

What are common autistic hobbies? ›

New research examines special interests in autism
  • Sensory-related interests (44%) – bright or vividly colored objects, spinning objects, soft or textured objects, etc.
  • Vehicles/transportation (19%) – cars and trucks, trains, planes and rockets, etc.
Feb 23, 2022

How do you keep an autistic child attention? ›

While overwhelm and sensory overload often lead to a lack of focus, there are times when those with autism will be hyperfocused.
  1. Engage your child in activities of interest. ...
  2. Make close-ended activities a priority. ...
  3. Repeat what your child says and does. ...
  4. Praise your child for paying attention.

What sport is good for autism? ›

Certain sports can be more difficult for autistic children, but some — like swimming, horseback riding, and martial arts — can help with social skills, coordination, and more. Feeling a sense of belonging is an important part of a child's development.

What games do autistic children play? ›

7 Fun Sensory Activities for Kids With Autism
  • Make a Sensory Bottle: ...
  • Try Coin Rubbing: ...
  • Thread Edible Jewelry: ...
  • Create a Sensory Collage: ...
  • Incredible Ice Painting: ...
  • Boost Your Brain With a Smelling Game: ...
  • Play the Magical Matching Game:

What sports do kids with autism play? ›

There is a whole world of non-team sports out there—and autistic children can and do take part in many of them. Skiing, surfing, sailing, and many more can be a great match for your child, especially if your family enjoys them.

Should a child with autism go to normal school? ›

Can children with autism attend regular school? Of course they can, but it is important to have accommodations in place that support the special learning needs of a child on the spectrum.

What are the weaknesses of a child with autism? ›

Kids with autism experience “deficits in developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships, ranging, for example, from difficulties adjusting behavior to suit various social contexts; to difficulties in sharing imaginative play or in making friends; to the absence of interest in peers (DSM-5).”

What are the weaknesses of autism? ›

These secondary challenges of autism include:
  • Speech and language difficulties.
  • Intellectual disability.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Attention problems.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Anxiety and depression.
  • Difficulties with fine and gross motor skills.
Mar 10, 2016

How do you raise an autistic child happy? ›

The secret to… raising a happy autistic child
  1. Know that your child's autism is part of who they are. It doesn't make them any less valuable. ...
  2. Be aware of your child's sensory differences. ...
  3. Try to limit anxiety. ...
  4. Fill in the missing blanks. ...
  5. Value autistic traits.
Mar 24, 2018

What are the positive effects of autism? ›

  • Autism: the positives. Understanding, embracing and celebrating different ways of thinking and doing can release the true power of the autistic mind. ...
  • Remember. Harriet Cannon. ...
  • Attention to detail. • Thoroughness. ...
  • Deep focus. • Concentration. ...
  • Observational skills. ...
  • Absorb and retain facts. ...
  • Visual skills. ...
  • Expertise.

Is autism more common in first born? ›

In the largest study of its kind, researchers have shown that the risk of autism increases for firstborn children and children of older parents. The risk of a firstborn with an autism spectrum disorder triples after a mother turns 35 and a father reaches 40.

What is Level 1 autism in toddlers? ›

ASD Level 1: Requiring Support

A child with level 1 autism may understand and speak in complete sentences, but have difficulty engaging in back-and-forth conversation. Children with ASD level 1 experience some inflexibility of behavior, like difficulty switching between tasks, staying organized, and planning.

Do toddlers with autism dance? ›

Dance can be a major resource for children with autism, especially those who are nonverbal. Dance uses the body as a way of communicating instead of the use of words. Depending on the movement, the body can tell a story that the child might not be able to express any other way.

What does mild autism look like in a 3 year old? ›

If young children are autistic, they might: rarely show interest in other children – for example, they might not look towards them or try to get their attention. rarely start games like peekaboo or round the garden. rarely do pretend play – for example, they might not pretend to feed a teddy bear.

What are red flags for toddler autism? ›

Repetitive movements such as hand or finger posturing, flapping, spinning. Seeks out or avoids certain textures, sounds or movements. Visual differences (fixating on objects or certain kinds of stimuli such as the light coming through blinds, looking at things in odd ways or tracking such things as fan blades, etc. )

What movies do autistic toddlers like? ›

Unless otherwise specified, all of these movies are rated G or PG.
  • The Back to the Future trilogy. Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment. ...
  • Lilo and Stitch. ...
  • Moana. ...
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. ...
  • Frozen. ...
  • Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. ...
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas. ...
  • The Addams Family (rated PG-13)
Apr 21, 2020

Is CoComelon linked to autism? ›

Despite recent claims on TikTok—and (seemingly widespread) disapproval—there's no definitive proof showing that CoComelon causes behavioral and/or developmental issues.

What do you buy a nonverbal autistic child? ›

Best Toys for Nonverbal Autism: 2 to 4 Years Old
  • Goally's Balloons App. ...
  • Phonics Fun Animal Bus. ...
  • Bluey Dance & Play. ...
  • Touch & Teach Word Book. ...
  • See & Spell Wooden Educational Toy. ...
  • Wacky Tracks Snap & Click Fidget Toys. ...
  • Emotions & Feeling Flashcards for Nonverbal Autism. ...
  • Social Skills Group Activity Board Games.

Do autistic kids play with toys normally? ›

It is common for some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to have very limited play skills. This can mean that a child plays with only a few toys, plays in a repetitive way or doesn't play with toys the way most kids do.

What do you get a child with autism for Christmas? ›

Activity cubes, balance bikes, Legos, push toys, doll houses, train sets and more pop up all the time and are often still in excellent shape. In addition to your child's interests, keep developmental and sensory needs in mind.

Can a child grow out of non verbal autism? ›

Studies are finding in most cases children with nonverbal autism will grow up to develop speech and language skills. Just at a different rate of development than those without autism.

What age is autism nonverbal? ›

How is Non-Verbal Autism Diagnosed? Before a formal diagnosis begins, parents of children with suspected Autism are likely to notice signs and symptoms before the child's first birthday. Around 80-90% of parents say they noticed signs before their child turned 2.

What puzzles are best for autism? ›

Jigsaw puzzles, blocks, and Rubik's cube can provide autistic children with a satisfying tactile sensation. Puzzle toys can also help improve their focus as these let them center their attention on one activity and hone their fine motor skills as they practice manipulating objects.

Does autistic child watch TV? ›

Research says that autistic children spend more time on screen than children who do not have autism. About 64.2 percent of young adults with ASD spend their free time on TV, and video games and 13.2 percent of young adults with ASD spend time on social media sites, emails, and chatting.

Do autistic toddlers interact with parents? ›

Children with a family history of autism tended to not show interest in their parents and they smiled and laughed less than low-risk toddlers. The children who were later diagnosed with autism at age 3 were among the least attentive.

What color is for autistic kids? ›

On world autism awareness day, April 2nd, you may see plenty of blue being shown off to support autism awareness. The color blue's association to autism originated with the autism advocacy association known as Autism Speaks. Their “Light it Up Blue” campaign calls for people to wear blue to promote autism awareness.

Do you get paid for having an autistic child? ›

For qualified families, the state of California has a program called In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), which pays an individual caregiver to stay home and care for a developmentally disabled child.

Does Disney do anything for autism? ›

The Disneyland Resort offers a host of services to help Guests with cognitive disabilities—including those on the Autism Spectrum—maximize their Resort experience. Services include: Advanced Ticket Purchase. Stroller and Wheelchair Rental.

How does an autistic child learn best? ›

Students with autism indicated a preference for a more structured environment. Student preferences for varied sociological learning opportunities were also examined. Students with autism report that they learned best in a variety of social settings.


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