Toys for autistic 3 year olds should not be hard to get if you know what you are looking for. There are hundreds of them available and your problem as the parent could boil down making a choice from so many available. We’ve reviewed the best toys for autistic 3 year old kids in this article.
Autistic kids love toys as much as the next kid. That they are special needs individuals doesn’t preclude them from the educational, developmental and fun benefits of toys. That makes your 3 year old autistic kid as deserving of the best toys.
The toys reviewed below cover the range of development and fun toys for 3 year olds with autism. The review should make the job of shopping for an awesome gift for your kid a whole lot easier.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Toys for Autistic 3 year Old
As a general rule, toys meant for children, even kids with the autism spectrum disorder, must be colorful, well-made and sturdy. They should also be made from non-toxic material for the safety of kids.
However, because autistic kids require special attention and specific needs, toys for them should be selected with that in mind. So in addition to the basic criteria, the following were used to evaluate the toys before including them among the best toys for autistic 3 year olds.
Advanced gross and fine motor skills – kids with autism are known to be very active. But because they might experience some delays in fine and gross motor activation, too much or too complex activities can be difficult for them.
So toys that require or involve too much and complex activities at once were not included.
Sensory overloads – many autistic kids find some toys difficult to handle because their sensory centers are very sensitive to certain external triggers.
So toys that make a great deal of noise were cut out. Too much flashing lights and even certain colors can be bad for some of the kids.
Solitary games – Though a child with autism might prefer to be alone, one of the ways of helping them is to improve their social skills.
Toys that encourage the kids to get lost into themselves as they play with them did not make the cut. These include video games and MP3 players.
Parent-centric toys – taking care of autistic kids is more than a full-time job if you want the best for the kid. We did not select a toy that would make an already stressful situation worse.
So toys that were likely to irritate or annoy parents did not make the cut. Specifically, very noisy toys and those that encourage the kids to be very noisy were cut out.
Sometimes, parents do need peace and quiet to take a break and rest.
Reviews – Reviews are an invaluable tool in selecting toys for kids. These are parents who take care of their autistic kids giving honest opinions on the toys they bought.
Toys with more bad reviews than good ones were dropped during the vetting process.
Top 10 Toys for Autistic 3 Year Olds
1. ATiC 12 Sided Fidget Cube
This cute cube with 12 sides is a great stress, anxiety and tension reliever for kids with special needs including autistic 3 year olds.
The 12 sides offer twelve gadgets to fidget with while your kid is unduly agitated. These include toothed gears, spinning disc, buttons, sliders, minions, etc.
The cube is made from high-quality, non-toxic, ABS material making it safe for the kid. It is also small enough to fit snugly in the child’s pocket to take anywhere with them.
This toy is suitable for family outings or long drives when the kid needs something to keep them occupied and stay calm.
2. 6-in-1 Vehicle Sound Blocks Puzzle with Wooden Tray
This puzzle block by Melissa & Dough features six vehicles, plane, boat, etc. They produce sounds that are as realistic as the real thing. First, though, your kid has to solve the puzzle by matching the blocks to create the vehicle.
The puzzle involves stickers the lid has to arrange to create any of the six objects. These are a fire engine, jet plane, locomotive, tugboat, ambulance, and motorcycle.
The toy aids the development of visual perception, hand-eye coordination and other sensory centers of the autistic child.
The puzzle uses 2 AA batteries. These are not included in the package though.
3. Farm Animals Sound Puzzle
This is almost the animal version of the vehicles sound puzzle version above from Melissa & Dough. Like the vehicles puzzle, the autistic child needs to match the animals correctly with the stickers to hear the sound the animal makes as a reward.
The puzzle features cutouts of eight farm animals. These include a horse, cock, duck, cow, shepherd dog, cat, pig, and sheep.
The wooden puzzle requires 2 AA batteries and would be great for the aural development of the 3 year old ad well as help them learn how to play independently.
4. Alex Toys Active Monkey Balance Board
The Active Monkey Balance Board is a great toy to improve the physical coordination of a 3 year old child with autism. The child would have endless fun trying to stay on the board for as long as possible.
The easy-to-assemble board comes with a platform, two sideboards, a dowel, six screws and an instructions manual.
The wooden board is sturdy and designed to minimize injury risk to the child. The board supports up to 200 pounds of weight making it suitable for even bigger kids.
5. Moluk Bilibo
The simplicity of the Bilibo masks its effectiveness as a very awesome toy for an autistic 3 year old to stimulate their imagination and creativity.
Shaped like shell or a helmet, there are so many things a kid can do with it both indoors and outdoors. The kid can use it as a rocking seat, a revolving seat to slide down a snow bank, a bowl, and a hat or helmet.
The kid can also use it as a place to keep other toys, a boat for toys in the swimming pool and even as a stepping stone. In other words, this multi-functional toy is at the mercy of your kid’s imagination.
Made from a durable, non-toxic polyethylene material, it would be immediately appealing to your kid and arouse their curiosity. This sort of mental engagement is important for the development of special needs kids.
6. Hippity Hop Space Hooper Bouncing Ball
Only a few toys beat a space hopper in combining fun and physical development in kids. This space hopper bunching ball would fully engage your kid as they bounce around the room in pure joy.
Made from durable BPA-free eco-friendly material, it features an easy-to-hold handle and a free foot pump to inflate the ball.
This bouncing ball is suitable for the development of the kid’s core muscles, motor skills, and balance. The bouncing also aids vestibular orientation and proprioceptive input.
7. 3-Sided Surround Specialty Toothbrush
This specialty toothbrush would be a heat present for your autistic kid especially if they have sensitive gums and teeth.
The brush is gentle to kid’s gums as well as being very effective in removing plaque. You would find brushing your child’s teeth with this brush is a better all-around experience.
The brush features expansion pleats that allow the bristles to adjust to different tooth width.
The BPA, latex and lead-free brush is the perfect stress-free mouth cleaner for your special needs kid.
8. Educational Insights 8-Pack Playfoam Combo
The 8-pack Playfoam is designed to stimulate the creativity and imagination of your 3 year autistic kid while also providing tactile and sensory stimulation.
The pack features 8 brightly-colored soft foams that allow your child to sculpt whatever they want. They could just as well squeeze the foams for the fun of it.
Made from non-toxic, non-sticky material, the foams never dry out providing non-stop play with them. They come in soft shades of blue, purple, green, orange, yellow and pink.
9. Fat Brain Toys Teeter Pooper
The Teeter Pooper from Fat Brain Toys is just the thing to get your kid moving and rocking. It is a concave-shaped board with silicone suction cups attached to the bottom.
It can be used as a balancing board by the kid or as a rocker. It all depends on your kid’s imagination to come up with ways to engage with the toy.
Your kid would love the soothing pops the suction cups make as they stick and are released from the floor. The toy is awesome for the development of strength, balance and gross motor skills.
They are available in blue, pink and green.
10. VTech Touch and Learn Activity Desk
This VTech activity desk is a great interactive toy for an autistic kid. It is packed with many fun and educational features to engage the child for a long time.
It features nine colorful pages for the child to learn about animals, the sea, and a town map. Each page comes with four questions-and-answers interactive modes.
For visual stimulation and learning, the LED screen shows how to write letters and numbers; auditory stimulation comes from the music that is perfect in learning how to write and read with familiar songs in the background.
Finally, the sturdy plastic toy can be transformed into an easel or chalkboard. There is an ersatz clock to teach the concept of time to the kid.
So there you have it, ten of the best toys for an autistic 3 year old to choose from. Any of the toys would make a fine present or gift to the kids.
However, if none of the toys on the list appeal to you for some reason, you can always use this as a guide as you search for an appropriate gift for your kid.
Remember, there is no need to rush, take your time to research the toys before making a final decision. You really don’t want to purchase something that would only end up upsetting your kid.