Sensory Toys for Toddlers with Autism – 11 Ideas

Toys for Kids

Sensory balls

Are you looking for something special for your special needs child?

We’ve compiled a list of excellent sensory toys for toddlers with autism, because we know how important it is to find something that’s a perfect fit.

These toys aim to respond to your child's sensory processing challenges, and are sure to be not only a source of fun, but also a tool that is therapeutic and which helps with his or her development.

Our selection encourages sensory exploration, and many of the toys also help improve concentration, develop gross motor skills, and provide sensory input. What's more, almost all of them are recommended by certified occupational therapists.

Our top picks are:​

  • Tangle Jr. Fidget Toy
  • Brain Flakes
  • Water Beads
  • Fine Motor Tool Set
  • Textured Sensory Balls
  • Spaghetti Ball
  • Soft Building Blocks for Babies and Toddlers
  • Peg Board Set
  • Jumbo Lacing and Stringing Beads
  • Ruff's House Teaching Tactile Set
  • Sensory Puzzle Blocks

If you have an autistic child with sensory issues, any of the following toys would make a great gift. 

Tangle Jr.

sensory toys for toddlers with autism

For kids with autism, or other sensory issues, it can be hard to sit still and concentrate; that’s why there are fidget toys.

By focusing on the toy, the child can fine-tune his ability to pay attention, follow directions and not be so overwhelmed with his surroundings.

Tangle Jr. is an all-around great fidget toy as it allows kids to fidget and interact with fun, twisty things that truly help.

What we love:

  • 3 fidget toys included in the box, so your child has many choices for stimulation
  • It’s a fun, twisty toy that no child can put down
  • Recommended by occupational therapists and teachers to help children overcome sensory issues associated with ADHD and autism
  • Great for a long trip in the car, as you can take it anywhere

What we don't love:

  • Not all fidget toys will help kids with special needs focus more; this is only one tool or method that's worth trying
  • Kids might become bored with this fidget toy as there’s not a lot of interaction and ways to play with it long term

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Brain Flakes

sensory toys for toddlers with autism

Want to find a fun, stimulating game you can play with your whole family? This game is a featured in many therapists’ offices because it allows for numerous ways to interact and to build finger strength, visual perceptual skills and fine motor skills.

What's more, it's great for sensory development and little kids (re: toddlers) with ASD. Oh yeah, and kids love it! Made of safe, durable plastic pieces, you can build your own creations, from a robot to a tree. Fun for the whole family.

What we love:

  • Comes with safe, durable plastic pieces that easily snap together and can withstand rough play
  • Contains over 300 bold and brightly-colored flakes to play with
  • Linking disks together builds independent play, hand-eye coordination, spatial skills and dexterity 
  • Comes with a storage bag for easy clean up

What we don't love:

  • Younger children, or children with severe dexterity and fine motor deficits, may get frustrated putting the pieces together
  • This toy is not compatible with other connecting toys

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Water Beads

Sensory play is all the rage with kids these days! And water beads are a great way to get those sensory bins filled with lots of squishy, fun beads that feel so good in little hands.

Kids of all ages love the look of water beads. They're beautiful, colorful, smooth and squishy all at the same time. Fill your sensory table up with them, or just let kids play with a bowl of 'em!

Sensory toy for toddlers with autism


What we love:

  • Offer a magical, interactive experience for kids because they start off small, but they increase in size as water is added 
  • They teach kids the magic of transformation and science
  • They're versatile: add them to different containers, water bottles, etc. for a range of experiences

What we don't love:

  • Beads can present a choking hazard in young children
  • It may be a messy toy to play with, depending on where you let your water beads grow

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Fine Motor Tool Set

Sensory toys for toddlers with autism

Some kids struggle with fine motor skills, but still need to learn to grip pencils and scissors.

That’s where the Learning Resources Helping Hands Fine Motor Toolset can really help.

Specially created to help kids that have difficulty gripping tools, this builds essential skills over time that build those muscles. These are the go-to set of tools in many an occupational therapist's office.

What we love:

  • Comes with 4 different tools designed to increase fine motor skills and help strengthen hand and finger muscles
  • Includes the Gator Grabber, Handy Scooper, Twisty Dropper, and Squeezy Tweezer – all designed to help kids out
  • Designed for kids starting at age 3 but can help older kids as well
  • Great for sensory play as the toys are fun to hold and play with

What we don't love:

  • It may take some children time to get used to regular scissors and tools after using these
  • Some previous buyers have said that the parts may fall apart after extreme or rough use

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Sensory Balls

Sensory toy for toddlers with autism

These soft, tactile sensory balls can help teething babies or sensory-seeking older kids. They are non-toxic and contain no BPA, PVC, lead, and or latex, so you know it's safe for your child to put them in her mouth.

With bright, vibrant colors, these fun balls are the perfect sensory toy for toddlers with autism or with oral needs (and they would make a teething baby pretty darn happy too!). In short, this product is designed to meet all kinds of sensory needs.

What we love:

  • Each ball is 2” in diameter, so little hands can grasp them easily
  • They stimulate early learning and gross motor skills
  • Don’t trap water and grow mold, so they make for great bath toys
  • Have an easy-to-clean surface which does't breed bacteria and can be washed with soap and water

What we don't love:

  • Might be too small for babies or really young toddlers to play with without parental supervision

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Play Visions Mondo Spaghetti Ball

Sensory Toys for Toddlers with Autism

Who doesn’t love the feeling of spaghetti running through their fingers? Kids do, that’s for sure! Well it turns out you don't have to make a pot of spaghetti to give kids this amazing sensory experience, since the Play Visions Mondo Spaghetti Ball will give your kids a tactile experience that they’ll love (without all the mess!). Sensory building and experiences like this help develop kids' imaginations too. 

What we love:

  • Kids love this toy's bright, vivid colors
  • Enables you to give your kids a sensory experience without all the mess
  • Kids can toss it, run it through their fingers... and use their imagination. There are lots of ways to play!

What we don't love:

  • It has a sticky coating that might leave your hands sticky after playing with it
  • Children may use it as a chew toy and the spaghetti strands may get pulled out

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Baby Toddler Blocks

Sensory toy for toddlers with autism

Tired of the traditional wooden or plastic blocks that kids can throw and actually hurt themselves? Then this is the toy for your special needs toddler.

It's an excellent fidget toy and it's perfect for chewing. These blocks are soft and pliable, so you don’t have to worry about hurting yourself either when you accidently step on them. They're also waterproof, so they make great bath toys. Each side has a textured, multisensory and developmental pattern designed to stimulate your kiddo’s senses

What we love:

  • Stimulates kids' senses with their unique, geometric patterns and bright colors
  • Made with certified FDA-compliant food-grade silicone, so they're safe chew toys

What we don't love:

  • They are more expensive than other baby block toys.

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Peg Board Set

Sensory toys for toddlers with autism

Let your toddler practice sorting, color recognition, patterning, and basic math skills such as counting, adding, subtraction and graphing with this fun, interactive game.

This Peg Board Set is used in many classrooms and occupational therapist offices as a toy for special needs children to help them develop strong fine motor skills. It also builds visual coordination, visual perception skills and more. Put the pegs into the foam holes or practice stacking as many as you like—there are
lots of possibilities.

What we love:

  • Comes with 30 pegs in 6 colors and a large foam pegboard, so there is tons of room for creativity
  • Occupational therapists often use this toy to help children with developmental delays
  • Bright colors, and the challenge the game presents, will keep your little one’s interest
  • There are several ways to play
  • Comes with a quality storage bag, so clean up and storage is a breeze
  • Easy to take on-the-go

What we don't love:

  • Some buyers report that the plastic pegs don’t fit easily into the foam holes so younger children might get frustrated with this game
  • Some previous customers say the board doesn't lie completely flat

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Jumbo Lacing and Stringing Beads

Sensory toys for toddlers with autism

This lacing and bead set is designed for toddlers, preschoolers, and kids with developmental delays. It is a shelf-ready Montessori-approved material and includes a ready-to-go busy bag for easy travel and on-the-go fun.

This stringing bead set helps build and develop fine motor skills, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination. With bright colors and 30 jumbo beads, your little one will have fun (and not realize they're
learning at the same time).

What we love:

  • Stringing beads has proven to be a useful activity in occupational therapy as it helps children focus, building fine motor skills
  • Comes with an easy-to-use, convenient storage bag so clean up is a snap
  • Comes with an Idea Guide for more play ideas
  • Kids get a multi-sensory experience with 5 colors and 7 shapes of beads

What we don't love:

  • These are not intended for children who still place objects in their mouth, as beads could be a choking hazard
  • The string is somewhat flimsy, which makes it tougher to string beads on, so children might get frustrated

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Ruff's House Teaching Tactile Set

Sensory toys for toddlers with autism

Help Ruff sort through a variety of textured rubber and cloth bones in this fun “search and grab” game that occupational therapists swear by.

Your child will be having so much fun while engaging in the multi-sensory experience of finding and fetching the bones. There are so many ways to interact with your child and play this game. How many bones are red? How many bones can you line up? By letting kids explore and describe the texture of Ruff’s bones, they gain descriptive and expressive language skills in a totally fun way!

What we love:

  • Comes with the fun-loving Ruff the dog, 20 bones with 10 different textures, a doghouse, and an activity guide
  • Kids expand their descriptive vocabulary by matching and identifying smooth, silky, scratchy, bumpy and ridged textured rubber and cloth bones
  • Teaches kids how to take turns by playing together
  • Teaches kids how to share
  • Teaches kids early math skills by sorting and counting
  • Easy storage and clean up

What we don't love:

  • Some previous customers say there isn't enough variety in the pieces
  • Some previous customers say that after normal wear and tear, the house may start to fall apart

Click here for more info and current pricing.


Sensory Puzzle Blocks

Sensory toys for toddlers with autism

Designed to be a real-life 3D Tetris game, these stacking Sensory Puzzle Blocks are a great addition to your child’s game repertoire.

Designed for kids with autism or other developmental delays, these occupational therapist-approved blocks come in bright, vivid colors, shapes and configurations to teach visual awareness and fine motor skills.


What we love:

  • Blocks have different configurations (like Tetris), so kids can get creative creativity and stack them how they like
  • Blocks are design to be played and stacked on a table or on their own
  • Comes with 18 different brightly-colored blocks, so puzzle configurations are entirely up to your child

What we don't love:

  • Bumps and ridges on the blocks restrict higher piling and building opportunities beyond two or three pieces, which can frustrate kids
  • Only comes with 18 pieces, so you might want to buy two packs to extend play

Click here for more info and current pricing.


We certainly hope you found something on our list. We believe we've compiled an excellent selection of sensory toys for toddlers with autism, and we'd love to hear what you think. If you have any toy ideas we can include, don't hesitate to leave us a comment or shoot us a message on the contact page.

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