Searching for that Perfect Gift for a Child with Autism? See Our Top 5 Picks

Gift giving can be difficult, especially for a child with autism or other developmental delays. You want to find a fun, exciting gift that grabs a child's attention, but also helps the child build important skills. We've got you covered! Here are our top 5 picks, all hand-selected by our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Clinician and Autism Consultant.

#1 TOMY’s Pop-up Pirate Game ($13+) This is one of our favorite games! Children can practice identifying colors, turn–taking, waiting, direction-following and hand-eye coordination while playing Pop-Up Pirate. You can provide extra visual support by giving each player a paper plate or bowl to store their swords while waiting for their turn. Write a list of the players’ names on a piece of paper to help explain the turn-taking order. Promote language by prompting your child to say, “my turn” and “your turn.” Stores that sell the Pop-Up Pirate Game include Amazon. Note: Only the Super Pop-up Pirate game is available online at Tomy. Pop-Up Olaf and other characters are also available.

#2 Aquadoodle’s Classic Mat ($6-$50) This toy does wonders to promote your child’s creativity and pre-writing skills - without all the mess. Just add water to the tools provided and begin drawing right on the mat. The drawings disappear as the water dries. Aquadoodle offers a variety of sizes now, including Doodle Wall Mat, Travel Doodle and Doodle Buddies. Learn more about Aquadoodle here. Stores that sell AquaDoodle include: Walmart, Target and Amazon.

#3 Fat Brain Toys’ Teeter Poppers (~$37) This unique instrument encourages body awareness and balancing skills. Kids can sit, kneel or stand on the Teeter Popper. The vestibular movement that a child receives while using this toy helps regulate his/her sensory system and can improve his/her core strength. The suction cups on the bottom provide auditory input as they stick to and then pop off the floor. Learn more about Teeter Popper here. Stores that sell Teeter Poppers include: Fat Brain Toys, Amazon and Hearth Song. Note: This toy does require a non-porous hard surface to work correctly.

#4 Full Activity Box ($74.95) This subscription box serves as a perfect gift for you and your child. We provide all that is needed for you to explore a popular children's theme (e.g. Shape Train, Let's Make a Snowman, Dinosaur Dig, Silly Monsters) through 6 hands-on, interactive activities that also help build important, foundational skills. With lots of visual support to accompany each activity, you and your child will engage in sensory play, create art, play with cool sensory fidget toys and read interactive stories and thematic rhymes. Choose our Sibling Add-On Option to receive extra materials to help promote positive relationships between siblings or during play dates. This is a purchase you can feel good about! EarlyVention provides vocational opportunities to under- and unemployed adults with autism and special needs who help assemble our boxes. Purchase the Full Activity Subscription Box here. 

#5 Magna-Tiles ($50-$199) Kids love these magnetic tiles just as much as teachers do. The tiles easily connect together to create simple towers or complex, multi-level structures. Add vehicles, animal figurines or people figurines to teach pretend play schemes. This toy helps your child explore basic shapes, as well as 3D shapes. If possible, we suggest spending the extra money to purchase the 100 Piece Set. This larger set will welcome children to play together and assist with the creation of larger, more complex structures. Learn more about Magna-Tiles here. Stores that sell Magna-Tiles include: Magna-Tiles, Lakeshore Learning, Target and Amazon.

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Melissa Ames
Melissa Ames

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