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Autism Friendly Toys Gift Ideas

Autism Friendly Toys Gift Ideas – Gift ideas for children on the ASD spectrum. These toys utilize the creative thinking, fine motor skills, and other skill sets that kids on the spectrum often need the most help with in terms of physical and mental development.

In the past, toy makers haphazardly pushed toys with a lot of blinking lights, stacking, and other potentially harmful traits to ASD children simply because they were attracted to them. These toys did very little to promote socialization, empathy, or enhance fine motor skills. Just because an Autism Spectrum Disorder child “loves” these electronics activities and can play them “for hours” doesn’t necessarily mean the toys are good for them or help nurture their abilities. Here’s an article I wrote about concerns regarding what some may deem “autism friendly toys”.


Toys R Us began releasing lists of autism friendly toys that were very helpful for consumers during the chain’s heyday and we used to post them every holiday season. I’ve taken some from their previous lists and condensed them into a sort of “best of” guide for autism friendly toys and obviously substituted toys that were no longer in production. You can find them at your local retailer or online at Amazon, Meijer, Walmart, Target etc…

Autism Friendly Toys Gift Ideas

Sensory TheraPLAY Box (Subscription) by – This monthly gift box subscription service brings autism occupational therapy right do your door in the form of sensory stimulating toys, games, and activities – each designed to be therapeutic and calm anxiety. Each subscription box even comes with a pamphlet for the best ways to incorporate your child’s new toys into their routine. There are also other similar subscription boxes available.

Play-Doh Work Desk or Play-Doh Kitchen by Hasbro – Mold, shape, cut out and create! This play center provides a child with autism or attention difficulties with a focused play space. Handling Play-Doh helps children use the muscles in their hands and arms as they squish, smash, and mold the “Doh.” The built-in molds are fun incentives for children to create foods, facial features, party decorations and animals.

Wikki Stix by Wikki Stix – Wikki Stix are multi-colored yarn sticks dipped in a non-toxic wax that makes the yarn extremely pliable. The simplistic Wikki Stix are pretty addictive. I find myself picking them up and making different shapes with them myself. The stix can be cut and shaped to any design or configuration under the sun and is a creative tool for young artists. The Wikki Stix Activity Set that was sent to me features 84 different colored 8 inch Wikki Stix and a 12 x 8 inch white board your child can press the sticks onto. Wikki Stix are re-usable and don’t leave a mess. Cleanup is simply pulling the stix off of the board and straightening them out. REVIEW

Examine and Treat Vet Set by Melissa and Doug – The medical instruments can help children express their feelings about going to the doctor, how it feels to be cared for and to give care to others. 24-piece set includes plush cat & dog and all the equipment and utensils needed to care for the pets. You can even personalize them with any name.

Thomas & Friends Magnetic Play Book by Random House – Each page of this book is magnetized, allowing a child to place the book’s magnetic train pieces anywhere. The familiar characters of Thomas along with the book’s manipulative aspect can promote interest in books and reading. Train pieces help those who are not reading independently participate in reading. Any book with any familiar characters that promote these activities will suffice.

I Spy Eagle Eye Game by Briarpatch – Can you spot an item on your game card that’s also on your game board? Ring the bell after you’ve spotted an item and you win the round. This is a good beginner game because each child has his or her own game board and play happens simultaneously. Visual scanning skills and attention to detail will help a child play. I Spy Eagle Eye is a terrific family game and presents opportunities for social skills.

Little People Lil’ Movers School Bus by Fisher Price – As children press a Little People figure, they hear an auditory response of sounds and music. This can empower a child as he becomes aware of his control in the play and the causality of his actions. Simple in/out play is also encouraged as children grasp a figure with a whole hand or pincer grasp. The open-top design assists in easier access to vehicle’s interior. It doesn’t have to be a School bus. Any “Little People” set and scenery works well.

Lincoln Logs by K’Nex – Lincoln Logs is a classic learning toy that remains forever popular with children of all ages and abilities. Children can follow pictorial directions to build the ranch, or use their imagination to create their own designs. The notch design of the logs helps children build stable structures that maintain an upright position. This particularly helps children who have muscle weakness or dexterity issues. Bags of blocks and even larger LEGO block kits also work well.

Learn to Write Your Letters ABC Book by Priddy – This entertaining, and affordable book provides many levels of use and can challenge and grow with your child. Vivid contrasting colors can grab your child’s attention while the real life pictures are easily identifiable. Sturdy construction and wipe-clean pages make this book durable. Easy to turn pages and a handle make this book very accessible for a child with physical limitations.

The Road To Fun City Playmat by Young Explorers – This colorful mat adds lots of play and skill building possibilities when combined with small toy vehicles. The high contrast between dark streets and dotted yellow lines can help a child focus and follow direction of a car. As kids maneuver cars through the city, they work on eye-hand coordination, reaching, and tracking skills.

For more info on Autism Friendly Toys Gift Ideas, consult a pediatrician or occupational therapist and have an open discussion to what toys could help “differently-abled kids”; specifically, toys that speak to autism.

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