Toys for kids with autism that they won’t want to put down

by Maureen Wallace
Nov 11, 2016 at 3:00 a.m. ET
Image: Kim Gunkel/Getty Images

If you're on the hunt for a great gift for a child with autism, chances are you're a bit stumped.

It's important to remember that you shouldn't get hung up on what is conventionally age appropriate, and choosing the right present can be easier if you get a parent or caregiver involved.

As with any kid, there's no magical way to know if a child with an autism spectrum disorder will love a toy you gift them — but the ones on this list are a great start.

Originally published November 2015. Updated November 2016.

1 /16: Sit 'N Spin

1/16 :Sit 'N Spin

Sometimes, a child just wants to spin it out. This Playskool Sit 'N Spin (Toys "R" Us, $25) is a fun toy for multiple ages and developmental abilities. 

2 /16: Peanut ball

2/16 :Peanut ball

The Peanut Ball (Fat Brain Toys, $33), manufactured by Fun and Function LLC, can meet all kinds of wiggling, bouncing and hopping needs. Shown is the 12-inch model, but Fat Brain Toys also offers a 22-inch version.

3 /16: Weightless joki hammock swing

3/16 :Weightless joki hammock swing

The Weightless Joki Hammock Swing (, $110) is a favorite refuge for children who want to feel snug, enjoy spinning or swinging and love to let imaginations take over.

4 /16: Playhut Mega Fun Play Tent

4/16 :Playhut Mega Fun Play Tent

This is one of those toys that just offers so many opportunities: from the four play zones that can be configured different ways, to the 48 balls included. While the Playhut Mega Fun Play Tent (Toys "R" Us, $60) addresses sensory issues like providing a snug, safe place for a child, this toy also encourages social skills because a play date with this item is bound to be successful!

5 /16: KineticSand

5/16 :KineticSand

Kinetic Sand offers the sensory benefits of playing at the beach without the travel or mess. A child's creativity will flow effortlessly with Wacky-tivities Kinetic Sand (Toys "R" Us, $18).

6 /16: Weighted blanket

6/16 :Weighted blanket

What we love most about SensaCalm's weighted blankets is the variety of patterns and fabrics available. (SensaCalm, $100)

7 /16: Tangle relax therapy

7/16 :Tangle relax therapy

The Tangle Relax Therapy toy (Amazon, $6) can help children channel anxious fidgeting into soothing productivity. 

8 /16: Kidoozie foam pogo jumper

8/16 :Kidoozie foam pogo jumper

Who doesn't like to give hops for the holidays? The Kidoozie Foam Pogo Jumper's bungee stretches to accommodate children of all heights and can support up to 250 pounds. (Amazon, $13)

9 /16: 50 Counting bears with cups

9/16 :50 Counting bears with cups

Another favorite of the avid sorter, the set includes 50 Counting Bears and five cups. (Amazon, $8)

10 /16: Color rings sorting board

10/16 :Color rings sorting board

Easy-to-grasp, colorful rings on this Color Rings Sorting Board help children learn their colors while appealing to the need for a sense of order. (Lakeshore, $20)

11 /16: Super fun marble run

11/16 :Super fun marble run

Fat Brain Toys said this Super Fun Marble Run will exercise creative brain power as the child builds "tall towers that twist and loop into endless combinations." Set comes with 103 track and building pieces, as well as 12 marbles and is bound to deliver fascinating fun for one or with friends. (Fat Brain Toys, $30)

12 /16: Bead sequences set

12/16 :Bead sequences set

These stackable beads build complex reasoning skills, fine motor skills, as well as sorting and coordination. The kit includes over 45 brilliantly-colored beads, 5 dowels and 10 patterns that increase in difficulty. (Mellisa & Doug, $30.33)

13 /16: Sensory pea pod

13/16 :Sensory pea pod

It's not exactly a toy per se, but this pod provides a "cocooning-calm" for kids as they read or do other activities. (Autism Products, $68.99)

14 /16: Musical instruments sounds puzzle

14/16 :Musical instruments sounds puzzle

Realistic sounds are played when the puzzle pieces are properly placed on the board, making this toy a fun and unique way to reinforce cause-and-effect, early vocabulary and matching skills. (Melissa & Doug, $13.31)

15 /16: Giant vibrating frog

15/16 :Giant vibrating frog

Activated by both sound and touch, vibrating toys like this giant vibrating frog encourage touch awareness, speech and stimuli input — especially for kids with special sensory needs. (Autism Products, $52.35)

16 /16: Gifts for kids with autism

Image: Terese Condella/SheKnows

16/16 :Gifts for kids with autism

Don't know what to buy the kid with autism on your shopping list? We've got you covered.