Sensory-friendly toys for kids with autism

Sensory-Friendly Gift Ideas

Dec 6, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, many of us are doing some shopping for some of our favorite people. If your list includes a child with autism or other special needs, you may consider choosing a sensory friendly gift.

At Innovative Behavior Options, we’d love to help you select just the right presents for the children on your list – gifts that can be fun, comforting, or even therapeutic. We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite sensory friendly gift ideas to help you get started. Happy shopping!

What Makes a Toy Sensory Friendly

Many children with autism crave a particular sensory input, and sensory toys provide just that. Whether it’s tactile, visual, auditory, oral, or olfactory, a sensory toy can capture a child’s attention, provide comfort, or help with focus.

In ABA therapy, the perfect sensory toy can be used as a reward to reinforce a particular behavior. At school, fidget toys can help children concentrate and improve focus while keeping their hands busy. Sensory toys can even be used to help children with autism calm themselves when they need some extra help.

Choosing the Perfect Sensory Friendly Gift

A good sensory gift is going to vary from child to child. Children thrive on different sensory input, so knowing the interests and needs of your little gift recipient is certainly best. In general, though, toys that are squishy, can spin, or light up generally work well. One suggestion: look for toys that engage two or more senses at once.

Gift Ideas from our ABA Therapists

We’ve sorted some of our favorite sensory friendly toys into groups based on which sense they mostly engage.

Tactile/Kinetic: Tactile and kinetic toys can help hone attention, provide comfort and calm, and even just get the wiggles out. Below are a few of our favorites:

  • Trampoline
  • Kinetic sand
  • Silly Putty
  • Exercise ball
  • Ball pit
  • Weighted blanket
  • Fidget spinners
  • Sensory ball
  • Swing
  • Sensory tent

Visual: Visual toys can provide calming cues and help a child re-find their focus without overstimulation. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Light-up toys
  • Bubble lamps
  • Puzzles
  • Picture cards
  • Dry erase board
  • Tablet

Auditory: Auditory-friendly items help block out extra noise or provide quiet when it’s needed most. Many children with autism are comforted by a sound machine, ear plugs, or noise-canceling headphones in some situations.

Of course, it’s always easier for kids to focus and relax once they’ve had a chance to burn off a little energy. Memberships or gift cards to places with trampolines or bounce houses are always wonderful gifts for kids (regardless of whether they have autism or other special needs)! Look for our blog next month on indoor play places near our Roswell, GA ABA therapy center.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we incorporate sensory friendly items into ABA therapy, please let us know! We have a calm down room and plenty of sensory friendly toys throughout our Roswell, GA therapy center, and we’d love to share them with you and your child!


1155 Hembree Rd, Ste. 210
Roswell, GA 30076

In-Home Service

  • Marietta
  • Dunwoody
  • Sandy Springs
  • Roswell
  • Alpharetta
  • Buckhead
  • Duluth
  • Johns Creek
  • Norcross
  • Peachtree Corners


M-F: 8am – 6pm
Weekends: Closed

Phone & Email

Phone: (770) 250-0093 ext. 700
Fax: (678) 412-1662