Top Toys for Children with Autism

Top Toys for Children with Autism

We are often asked for advice about choosing toys for children with autism, and as it's Autism Awareness Month, we've put together a guide of some of our favourites. 

Sensory toys are a popular choice, either through texture or sound, they give children sensory stimulation while allowing them to stay in control. Toys such as sound puzzles are great, as not only do they provide sensory stimulation, they are a 'cause and effect' toy too, where the act of placing the puzzle piece correctly is rewarded by the sound.

Another popular choice is toys that develop fine motor skills, such as lacing beads, shape sorters and activity boards.

Finally, toys that encourage social interaction and speech are also important. Games are great for this, but also things like flash cards and toys where children and parents can talk about the activity as they play.

We'd love to hear your experiences and recommendations, so feel free to add your comments!

Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads


This set of brightly coloured wooden beads with laces is a great activity for developing fine motor skills,along with colour and shape recognition.

Recommended age 3 years +




Hape Shake and Match Shape Sorter

This shape sorter is great for developing a range of skills. The wooden shapes can be posted by matching either the shape or the colour, great for developing fine motor skills, as well as shape and colour recognition. Each shape also rattles, adding a great sensory element too.

Recommended age 1 year +



Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzles

Available in farm animals, vehicles or musical instruments, these peg puzzles make the associated noise when the pieces are inserted in the right place. A great cause and effect toy were the sound produced provides a reward for correctly inserting the pieces. This is a great toy for developing fine motor skills too.

Recommended age 2 years +


Melissa and Doug Touch and Feel Zoo Puzzle

Like all puzzles, this is great for developing
fine motor skills, but the 'touch and feel' textured
animal pieces are great for sensory awareness too.
Age 18 months +
Orchard Toys Flash Cards

A set of 50 alphabet and number flashcards, great for developing number and letter recognition, counting, spelling, and encouraging speech.

Recommended age 3 years +



Melissa and Doug Lock and Latch Board

This activity toy is great for developing fine motor skills.

It is also a cause and effect toy, where completing the task is rewarded with the door opening.

Recommended age 3 years +


Orchard Toys Greedy Gorilla

This healthy eating game from Orchard Toys helps to encourage social play. Players have to collect healthy food cards, while junk food is posted in the Gorilla's mouth making him burp. 

Recommended age 4 - 8 years



Hape Pound and Tap Bench 

This musical toy not only stimulates the senses,   but helps to develop fine motor skills too. Use the wooden hammer to knock the balls through the holes, and listen as they roll down the xylophone underneath creating a tune as they go. The xylophone can also be taken out of the pounding bench and used on its own.

Recommended age 1 year +


Melissa and Doug Plush Rainbow Stacker


This plush stacking toy has a number of sensory features. Each of the 5 colourful rings has a  mixture of textured fabrics, while each ring makes either a rattle, crinkle, jingle or squeak sound. Stacking the rings onto the central pole helps to develop motor skills, and the central pole has coloured sections to help get the rings in the correct order. 

Recommended age 9 months +



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  • Amanda Griffiths
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