(Inside: What are the best sensory-friendly gifts for autistic kids? Check out this epic list for the autistic kid on your Christmas list!)
“What do the kids want for Christmas?”
I’ve been asked that probably fifteen times already, and it’s one of the hardest questions for me to answer.
I mean, what do they want for Christmas?
For most of the kids I can figure it out pretty easily. Mr. C is rarely caught without a book in his hand, Cap’n M loves all-things Moana, and Miss S is obsessed with baby dolls.
But A-Man? He’s a bit more complicated.
See, autistic people can have some pretty extreme preferences, so I thought I’d stockpile my list of the best sensory-friendly gifts for autistic kids!
The Best Sensory-Friendly Gifts for Autistic Kids
So what makes a gift sensory-friendly?
I count a gift as sensory-friendly when it helps to meet a sensory need or preference, or if it was designed specifically to help an autistic kid to do something easier or regulate their bodies.
I guarantee that getting a sensory-friendly gift for the autistic kiddo on your Christmas list will be much appreciated by the kid and their parents!
My Very Favorite Sensory-Friendly Gift for Autistic Kids
My very favorite sensory-friendly gift for autistic kids is the fidget fix from Project Sensory.
The fidget fix is a collection of five fidgets that are perfect for autistic kids to use at home, in the car, at school, and really anywhere.
Fidgets help autistic kids to keep their hands busy and give them sensory input without being a big distraction to those around them.
My whole family uses fidgets often whenever we feel the need to do something with our hands or we’re struggling to focus.
In the fidget fix kit you’re getting the Classic Tangle Jr. Fidget Toy, Project Sensory Awareness DoGo Putty, Project Sensory Awareness Gel Stress Ball, Wacky Tracks Hand Fidget, and a Wood Fidget Puzzle. You also have the option to add a fidget cube!
(Related: You should check out these tips for hosting an autism-friendly Christmas!)
Tactile Sensory Gifts for Autistic Kids
Some of you may not even know what the heck a “tactile sensory gift” is, but that’s why I’m here to help!
Tactile basically means “touch”. When you can find a toy that gives kids something interesting to touch, that’s a tactile sensory gift.
I absolutely love this three-pack of fidget balls! They’re just the right size to fit into my son’s hands, and they’re squishy and fun to play.
I’m definitely adding this gel fidget and this super fun discovery disc to A-Man’s Christmas list as well!
Vestibular Sensory Gifts for Autistic Kids
What is vestibular? That sounds like a weird word….
Well, the basic explanation I have is that your vestibular sense is the sense of movement.
Jumping, twisting, swinging, spinning, etc… They all help you to feel where your body is in a space, which can be difficult for some autistic kids.
Every time A-Man goes to therapy (he’s in speech and occupational therapy right now) he immediately requests to use their swings.
His absolute favorites are the raindrop swing (like this one from Fun and Function) and this bolster swing.
Sensory-Friendly Learning Gifts for Autistic Kids
One of the best gifts for autistic kids are sensory-friendly items that help with learning!
From fidget spinners like these or super fun fidget cubes like this one, or some sensory-friendly putty like this.
It can also be really helpful to find some creative seating solutions for autistic kiddos to use at school like this gel wiggle cushion, this vibrating sensory lap pad, or this balance ball chair.
Sensory Bin Gifts for Autistic Kids
My kids freaking love sensory bins. They’re probably exactly what you think of when someone talks about sensory-friendly gifts for autistic kids.
Sometimes sensory bins can seem really intimidating, but I promise they don’t have to be.
I am the least crafty mom that ever existed, and even I made a super fun letter recognition ABC sensory bin for the boys. It takes two minutes, and only uses two supplies that I can almost guarantee you have already at your house!
You can get adorable pre-made sensory bins or supplies to make your own here, and they’re flipping adorable if you ask me.
This shop has some really fun sensory bins with different themes as well.
What sensory-friendly gifts are you getting for your autistic kids this year?
PS: Did you know that I run a group for autistic self-advocates and parents of autistic kiddos to join together to embrace autism? You can join by entering your info below!
Don’t forget to pin this post to save it for whenever you need to find a sensory-friendly gift for autistic kids!