Mother and Baby

The best toys for children with autism

Section: Toys & Education
The best toys for autistic children

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. 

What is autism

Autism is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people and the world around them. The condition is often associated with a need for rigidity and repetition. Your little one will want to control life through structure and routine.

What are the symptoms of autism? 

Although the symptoms will vary between children, there are a number of different red flags experts have noticed in both babies and toddlers. Take a look at our guide on how to spot signs of autism in your baby or toddler to find out more. 

What toys are best for autistic children? 

We've hand-picked some of the best toys for autistic children here" 

The best toy for sensory feedback: Bubble Mower, £25, ELC 

Bubble Mower

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! 

The best toy for developing motor skills: Peppa Pig Indoor Childrens Toddler Trampoline, £44.99, Amazon

Peppa Trampoline

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. The best part? They'll love bouncing with Peppa!  

The best all-rounder toy for toddlers aged 4 and above: Marble race game, £15.01, Amazon

Marble maze

Marble race runs are always fun and have a number of educational benefits too. A great all rounder, the maze will allow 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. Suitable for children aged four and above. 

The best toy to expand as your tot grows: Big City train set, £25.00, Amazon

Big city train set

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. Suitable for children aged three and above. 

The best toy for bedtime: Ladybird Touch and Feel Books, £4.80, Amazon

Ladybird touch and feel books

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? 

The best toy to encourage engagement: Washing Machine, £18.00, ELC 

Washing machine

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! The washing machine comes with a box of false detergent, so why not turn this into a fun game, asking your tot to load their washing into their machine as you do. 

The best toy to encourage sharing: Orchard Toys Farm Snap, £7.50, Amazon

Orchard toys farm snap 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. 

The best to play as a family: Connect 4 grid game, £11.99, Amazon

Connect 4 grid gameAnother game that will help your little one learn how to play nicely with others, connect 4 encourages turn taking, problem solving and colour matching. 

The best for music therapy: Musical footsteps, £25.00, ELC 

Musical footsteps 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. 

The best for dinosaur fans: Orchard Toys Big Dinosaurs, £10, Amazon

Orchard toys big dinosaur puzzle

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.

Read next: The signs of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in babies and toddlers

Read next: The best baby toys 2018 – teethers, developmental toys and the best sellers

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