If your little one has been diagnosed with autism, finding toys to keep them occupied can be a challenge. Experts believe the right kind of play can help provide autistic children with valuable sensory feedback and develop skills in listening, observing and turn-taking. Take a look at our suggestions below, and let us know in the comments if we’ve missed any that worked for your little one.
Bubble Lawn Mower, £20, elc.co.uk
Bubble machines are great for autistic children as they help provide them with sensory feedback. This fun lawn mower has the added advantage of getting your little one outside, running to catch the bubbles as they go. If your home is big enough, you could always use it as a hoover, or invest in a smaller bubble maker to stow away for rainy days!
GetGo A-Zebra Toddler Trampoline, £39.99, amazon.co.uk
A toy that will help save your furniture, and allow your little one to release energy in a positive way whilst improving his motor skills. This indoor trampoline plays a sound as your child jumps up and down, providing them with extra encouragement to keep moving.
Marble race game, £19.99, toysrus.co.uk
Marble race runs are always fun and have a number of educational benefits too. Helping your child to practise fine motor skills as he puts the maze together, he’ll also be provided with sensory stimulation (and a lot of excitement) watching the marble roll through the maze.
Big City train set, £20.00, elc.co.uk
There are a number of reasons why trains are so popular with children in the autistic spectrum; they have large spinning wheels and can be categorised into different models and sizes. This train set can be extended as your little one grows, and like a 3D puzzle, he’ll enjoy sorting and constructing the track.
Ladybird Touch and Feel Books, £5.99, Waterstones.com
You may have found story time isn’t very fun for your little one. Why not try a touch and feel book, rather than one with a lot of text to help keep your little one engaged and learning to read?
Washing Machine, £16.00, elc.co.uk
Many autistic children love watching things spin round, so a washing machine toy could be the perfect solution if you’re worried about your tot sitting in the kitchen watching the real thing!
Orchard Toys Farm Snap, £6.96, amazon.co.uk
Autistic children can struggle when playing games with other children, so introducing games that will help them develop skills in listening, observing and taking turns is important. These non-numerical snap chards have friendly farm yard animals for your little one to pair, encouraging fun learning.
Connect 4 grid game, £8.99, toysrus.co.uk
Another game that will help your little one learn how to play nicely with others, connect 4 encourages turn taking, problem solving and colour matching.
Musical footsteps, £22.00, elc.co.uk
Music therapy has proved to be really beneficial in studies of autistic children, giving them a multi-sensory experience, whilst they have fun. This roll out play mat will let you stamp, sing and play music together.
Orchard Toys Big Dinosaurs, £8.98, amazon.co.uk
Characteristically, children with autism enjoy patterns and systems, and puzzles tick both these boxes. This educational puzzle teaches your little one about dinosaurs, whilst developing hand eye coordination and speech skills as he puts it together.
To find more advice on how to spot the signs of autism in your baby or toddler, take a look at our guide here.