The 25 Best Sensory Toys for Kids With Special Needs
Fact checked by Elisa Cinelli, a well-known parenting writer, an expert on child behavior, and certified in Positive Discipline.
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Having a variety of sensory toys is essential for the education and development of kids with special needs and all kids who are learning and exploring the world. Sensory toys serve several purposes.
- First of all, they are fun! We always want our children to enjoy learning.
- They also provide the stimulation for senses that kids with special needs like autism crave. When kids are seeking out certain sensations, it can distract them from being able to listen, focus, and attend to the task at hand.
- Sensory toys provide children with a safe and natural way to calm themselves and focus.
An occupational therapist or special education teacher can help you choose a specific category of sensory toys to best help your child, but by providing kids with a selection of different kinds of toys, you will be able to see what your little one naturally gravitates to.
Our Top Picks:
The Best Tactile Stimulation: Rainbow Water Beads for Kids
The Best Comfort and Swaddle Stimulation: Indoor Therapy Swing for Kids
The Best Stress Relief: 4E's Novelty Expandable Ball
The Best Visual Stimulation: Liquid Motion Bubbler for Sensory Play
The Best Weighted Comfort: Weighted Lap Pad for Kids
The Best Fine Motor Skills Development: Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog
The Best Tactile Toy: BunMo Pop Tubes Sensory Toys
The Best Mood Identification Help: The Original Mood Flipbook for Kids
The Best Toy for Hand Eye Coordination Needs: Sensory Buckle Pillow
The Best Toy for Getting the Doodles Out: Aqua Magic Doodle Mat
The Best Toy for Dynamic Sensory Movement: Dynamic Movement Sensory Sox
The Best Toy for Sensory Art: ArtCreativity Classic Pin Art Game Set
The Best Sensory Teething and Chewing Toy: Chew Necklace Sensory Teething Toys
The Best Sensory Toy for Kids Who Need Space: USA Toyz Rocket Ship Play Tent for Kids
The Best Sensory Toy for STEM: Magna-Tiles Stardust Set
The Best Sensory Toy for Speech Development: Wily Fox Sensory Toys for Autistic Children
The Best Sensory Toy for Hand Strengthening: Secure Stress Balls on a String
The Best Fidget Toys: 4 Pack Bean Bags Fidget Toys for Sensory Kids
The Best Anti-Anxiety Fidgeting Toys: iBaseToy 30 Pack Fidget Toy Set
The Best Sensory Toy for Imaginative Play: Kinetic Sand
The Best Sensory Toy for Jumping and Swinging: JUMP POWER Indoor/Outdoor Trampoline
The Best Fidget Spinner: Rainbow Fidget Finger Hand Spinners
The Best Sensory Therapy Putty: Therapy Putty for Hand Exercise Rehab
The Best Toy to Keep Their Attention: Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Toys
The Best Proprioceptive Toy: Foam Stepping Stones for Kids
What to Consider When Purchasing Sensory Toys for Kids with Special Needs
- Consider the recommendations of your family’s occupational therapist or a trusted special education teacher. The experts in your life can point you in the right direction.
- Think about the kinds of movements and sensations that your child already gravitates to. Does she like weight and swaddle sensations? Does he like to spin or squeeze? Is your child calmed by visual stimulation?
- Which sensory system does your child need help with? Consider the seven main sensory systems: Proprioception (knowing where the body is in space), vestibular (the sense of movement and balance), tactile (the sense of touch), vision, hearing, smell, oral/taste.
How We Chose Our Favorites
We consulted with experts, parents, and special education educators to get the lowdown on what you need to know to choose the best sensory toys for kids with special needs. We also tapped into these experts' advice to find out which brands were best and easily available on Amazon.