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20 Best Birthday Gifts for Kids With Autism

Updated on January 3, 2018
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

Top 20 Birthday Gifts for Kids With Autism

These 20 popular kids toys were specifically made to help kids with anxiety, ADHD, autism, and other mental disabilities.

But that's not all...

They're also a ton of fun to play with and are great for families due to the toys' child friendly designs. These toys are great gift options, however; it's their special attributes that truly make them stand out.

So let's dive right in and explore the 20 most popular toys that help children with anxiety.

All of these items can be found on the Amazon website along with other retailers.

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20. Fidget Spinners (12-Pack)

Before the 2017 fidget spinner craze, they were intended to be used for kids with ADHD to help calm their nerves.

They are small spinners that can spin and twirl for over a minute and are frequently customized by color or design.

Age Range: 4+

How it helps with anxiety:

They are affordable toys that can be bought by the dozen. They come in many different colors and cool designs that kids will love.

Fidget spinners work by helping children control their physical behaviors, which allows them to focus on immediate tasks.

However it's important to not allow these in settings where their attention is most needed (school) because it may actually prevent them from being attentive during class.

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19. Click N' Play Gigantic Keyboard Play Mat

This large keyboard reproduces "real" sounds from instruments such as a guitar, trumpet, clarinet, violin, and xylophone. It allows you to play, record, and playback your inventive recording.

Age Range: 1-10+

How it helps with anxiety:

This large (70" x 29") mat is made of heavy-duty materials that's used as a creative tool for kids and families.

You can encourage your little ones to be inventive by helping them develop their own music and sounds through various instruments. The ability to record your music is an added perk as it allows families to listen to their creations.

It's a fantastic yet simple way for kids who normally can't express themselves to do so.

18. VTech Write and Learn Creative Center

An excellent product for young children that instructs them to learn at their own pace. The VTech learning center teaches kids how to write their letters through a step-by-step demo guide.

The magnetic surface also easily allows them to erase their mistakes; it's like an etch-a-sketch for the 21st century.

Age Range: 3+

How it helps with anxiety:

With the VTech Write & Learn Creative Center, kids won't have to worry about making mistakes when learning how to write.

They can figure things out at their own level with a slick guide to writing each letter or shape through an erasable, magnetic surface.

It's one of the better learning tools that not only teaches kids how to write but also allows them to have fun in the process.

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17. Mega Bloks 80 Piece Big Building Bag

Mega Bloks are a safer alternative to those tiny Lego pieces that are often a choking hazard for toddlers.

These blocks are large, colorful and encourage exploration and imagination.

Age Range: 2+

How it helps with anxiety:

Small Lego pieces may be hazardous, and they aren't the best toys for kids who struggle with patience.

Mega Bloks are great because they don't impede on a kid's imagination, they are simpler to clean-up, and they are much safer due to their size.

These blocks don't skimp on the wonder and parents won't have to worry about accidentally stepping on them.

16. Sphero Star Wars BB-8

The Sphero Star Wars BB-8 droid is an excellent toy for older children who want a tiny, adorable companion they can have fun with.

You can control its movements, have it respond to your voice, and even record virtual videos with it.

Age Range: 8+

How it helps with anxiety:

BB-8 is fantastic for all ages, but it's especially helpful for kids who struggle with social interaction.

This isn't just a toy but a friend that you can play with. Personally I found it to be a great experience for families because it requires parental guidance when setting it up.

Although more expensive than other toys on this list, it's also a lot more interactive and a great option for older children who don't want to play with dolls or giant blocks.

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15. Play-Doh 10-Pack of Colors

Everybody knows about Play-Doh because it's a timeless product.

Although it's an old-school toy, it's still a fantastic options for kids and families alike.

Age Range: 3+

How it helps with anxiety:

Play-Doh may be one of the first toys unintentionally created to help kids and their parents with anxiety.

First off the product is extremely affordable even for those on a very tight budget, so anyone can buy it. Second, it's so malleable and colorful that its hidden purpose was to help those with mental disabilities.

The only downside is the clean-up process, and I advocate using a large paper/plastic mat whenever dealing with Play-Doh.

If you don't mind settling for something decades old, then you'll have a thrill with this classic.

14. Hatchimals - CollEGGtibles 4-Pack

Who doesn't love surprises?

Hatchimals are cute, small collectible animals that are "hatched" from tiny eggs that always offer something new and different. They are the perfect toys for kids who love collecting items.

Age Range: 5+

How it helps with anxiety:

I realize giving children small plastic pieces is not particularly safe, but if it's handled well then it shouldn't be a problem.

This is the only toy on this list that teaches kids about the patience of discovering something new. It also encourages them to take care of their various collectibles because every Hatchimal is special.

Yes parents must be careful but they shouldn't stop their kids from developing hobbies.

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13. LED Colorful Flashing Finger Lighting Gloves

These light-up cotton gloves are a popular Halloween treat and an artistic way for families to have fun in the dark.

Age Range: 6+

How it helps with anxiety:

I've found that kids absolutely love using these light-up gloves, and they are splendid for bringing families together.

However I don't recommend them for kids who can't deal with bright LED lights or are susceptible to getting seizures; caution is heavily warranted for parents.

But if your child can safely handle colorful lights and could use a distraction from a phone or tablet, then this is the perfect toy for them.

12. Baby Alive Super Snacks Snackin' Lily

Baby Alive is the perfect doll for those who love to pretend play the role of parents.

The doll can be fed, comes with different outfits/accessories, and teaches young ones about caring for other people.

Age Range: 5+

How it helps with anxiety:

I think it's important to teach kids about being selfless, and the Baby Alive doll is the best teaching tool for that.

It's also an interesting way to encourage companionship and even teamwork due to the amount of attention the doll requires.

So if Baby Alive can help kids nurture others and become more social, then it's doing something right.

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11. Spiky Sensory Balls

These spiky sensory balls are an alternative to fidget spinners for kids with ADD/ADHD, autism, and anxiety disorders.

These toys are dishwasher safe, non-toxic, and are intended to promote calmness and relief for kids who suffer with anxiety.

Age Range: 3+

How it helps with anxiety:

These sensory tools were manufactured to comfort kids with anxiety disorders, so I highly recommend them.

They are colorful, squeezable products that are 100 percent safe and durable for all ages, which makes them must-haves for your home.

So if you are on a tight budget and are looking for a toy to soothe your child's anxiety, then you have to try this product.

10. MarvelBeads Water Beads Rainbow Mix

These expandable water beads are excellent sensory toys that encourage other creative opportunities.

They can be used for decorations, centerpieces, and tools for counting/teaching young ones.

Age Range: 4+

How it helps with anxiety:

The beads provide a soothing experience for those with sensory disorders, and they're a great way to explore the scientific process.

The best part about these beads is that they can be used in numerous ways including decorative pieces, counting devices, and even the filling of a stress ball.

With so many colorful possibilities it's no wonder why these water beads have been so popular in classrooms and daycare settings for years.

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9. Glow Sticks (100 ct.) 8" Light-up Glowsticks Bracelets

These budget-friendly glow sticks are awesome when planning your child's birthday party.

They're colorful, can be made into bracelets/necklaces, and kids love them.

Age Range: 3+

How it helps with anxiety:

These sticks have been used in kids parties for years due to their low cost, bright colors, and general safety.

They are particularly great for children who suffer with ADHD due to their intrinsic properties.

I highly recommend using these glow sticks for birthdays and other occasions because of their massive and safe appeal.

8. Melissa & Doug Habitats Reusable Sticker Pad

What a fantastic idea!

I've always loved stickers as a kid, but I knew they could only be used once.

Now children can get that same enjoyment out of stickers and use them numerous times. The books also have a multitude of themes including animals, airplanes, the jungle, and fairy tale landscapes.

Age Range: 4+

How it helps with anxiety:

Children will no longer have to worry about affixing a sticker onto one spot and having to keep it there.

These reusable sticker pads encourage creativity and development without the constraints of one-time use. The various scenes will always keep things new & exciting, which will prevent them from becoming stagnant.

If your child loves stickers, then this is the perfect product for them.

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7. Crayola Colored Pencils

This is another classic product that has lasted for decades.

I suggest using the 24 ct. because it varies the color palette enough without getting overwhelming.

Age Range: 3+

How it helps with anxiety:

Colored pencils are so popular that they even inspired a new genre of coloring books for adults.

In fact tech companies have been trying to recreate coloring tools for years with the stylus and Apple Pencil.

But why is that?

Coloring is the oldest form of relaxation therapy, which is why so many people are drawn towards it. I chose the pencils over the crayons because they're a lot more crisp and allow for more possibilities.

It's no fluke that kids have been coloring in their classrooms for decades, and colored pencils are just as relevant now as they were when they were first invented.

6. Be Amazing - Insta-Snow Jar

Insta-snow is the best way to introduce kids to science and how things work.

This non-toxic, polymer can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water and turns a grainy powder into faux snow in seconds.

Age Range: 6+

How it helps with anxiety:

Sometimes it's hard to get kids into science, but this product shows how fun it can really be.

The fact that it's safe and instantaneous is awesome for kids who struggle with ADD and ADHD because there's no wait to see the magic happen.

The snow itself is also a lot of fun to play with albeit a bit messy.

Insta-Snow is better for outdoor play, but you can use it indoors as long as you can handle the clean-up.

But if you really want to involve your kids in science, then this is the best product to start with.

5. Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks

If you're in need of a good toy for toddlers and preschoolers, then you can't go wrong with the Fisher-Price blocks.

Age Range: 6 months to 5 years

How it helps with anxiety:

These toys are more of a learning tool than anything, but they're also great for toddlers who need something to fiddle with.

I also think it's necessary to entice play for toddlers who can't walk or talk because it can guide them in the future.

If you're in need of a gift for your friends' kids, then this is the ideal item to get.

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4. VTech KidiBeats Kids Drum Set

You'll have your kid feeling like a rock star with this unique VTech drum-set.

The set comes with three drum pads and a cymbal along with 9 different melodies to choose from.

It's also a great training product with four LED modes for free play, letters, numbers, and a follow-along demo.

Age Range: 2-5+

How it helps with anxiety:

Besides providing a fantastic release for kids, this drum-set isn't just for hitting.

It's true nature is to help kids learn their letters and numbers through music. They can rock on to the beat while developing their brains.

This drum-set is the perfect mix of teaching, expression, and creativity all in one lyrical package.

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3. PicassoTiles 60 Piece Magnetic Set

What better way to tutor kids about shapes, magnets, and creativity than this 60 piece magnetic tile set.

The set comes with 60 piece magnetic 3D color tiles that can be used to create anything you can think of.

Age Range: 4+

How it helps with anxiety:

These are the perfect toys for children who suffer with social anxiety and other related disorders because it's made for group conditions.

I think parents will have a lot of fun teaching their kids about magnets, building new things, and being innovative.

So if you're looking for a social product that emboldens thinking, then you can't go wrong with this magnetic building set.

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2. Disney Pixar Adventure Coloring w. 50 Stickers

How could I include coloring pencils without a good coloring book, and who doesn't love Disney & Pixar.

This 226 page book will have your kids smiling while they color-in some of their favorite Pixar characters including Dory (Finding Dory) and Joy (Inside Out).

Age Range: 2+

How it helps with anxiety:

As I've already stated with the coloring pencils, there's nothing more therapeutic than a good coloring book and you can never go wrong with Pixar.

This coloring book offers tons of content including 50 character stickers as an added bonus.

Your child will spend hours coloring their favorite characters and watching them come to life.

1. Cozmo

Cozmo is the future of children's toys.

This adorable WALL-E like robot performs tricks, listens to commands, plays games, and even teaches people how to code.

It may be the most expensive product on this list, but it's also one of the most complex.

Age Range: 10+

How it helps with anxiety:

Although classic toys like Play-Doh and colored pencils will always hold a place in our hearts, we're also rapidly headed towards the future.

Cozmo can do so many things and it's the definition of a family-friendly toy.

Kids will love this product because it's incredibly expressive, adorable, and performs 100's of tricks. It can also react to your voice and actions because of its artificial intelligence.

I could go on and on about Cozmo, but there's unlimited potential in this future-proof product.

Yes it's an expensive toy ($180) but if you're willing to take a chance, then your kids and family won't be disappointed.

Your Turn!

What's the best toy for kids with anxiety?

See results

Comments

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    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      12 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Yes it is, I'm happy to hear it worked for her. I know of several people who struggle with autism and do recommend the spinners to relax.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      12 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      They certainly are and it does dilute their purpose a bit, but I still believe in them.

    • Chriswillman90 profile imageAUTHOR

      Krzysztof Willman 

      12 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Thank you, I liked those too if the fidget spinner trend becomes too much.

    • hiya-writer profile image

      Sudipa 

      12 months ago from India

      Fidget spinner is specially helpful for kids with autism. One of my friends use it too, she believes it calms her down a lot.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      13 months ago from USA

      Some good alternatives to fidget spinners which are quite the trend these days!

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      13 months ago from Norfolk, England

      There's some good games there. Them spiky sensory balls look quite good. I can see how the fidget spinners would be helpful too.

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