Sensory Processing Disorder: Top 10 Toys for Kids with SPD
Managing a household with two sensory kids is both fun and challenging. These boys keep me hopping for sure! But, in order to maintain some level of sanity around here, I like to keep them hopping too. Our house has just the right balance of calm and chaos, thanks to some awesome toys for kids with sensory processing disorder.
Different Sensory Needs
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Sensory processing disorder can manifest in so many ways, and each child is unique, so there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some children are sensory seekers, while others avoid any unwanted sensory experience. One child may need a weighted vest, while another may throw off every article of clothing that tries to touch them. My older son is constantly chewing on things, while my younger son is always running or jumping.
Even with the broad range of symptoms and needs, there are some toys that are great for most sensory kids in general. Here is a list of my top 10 toys for kids with sensory processing disorder.
1) A Trampoline
My boys have a mini trampoline in their rec room, and they absolutely love it. It has a handle bar for them to hold onto, and they have used it on a daily basis since Christmas! That’s a solid 8 months, so it’s definitely stood the test of time, compared to most of their other toys and entertainment.
Here is an outdoor trampoline that is great for younger kids. My neighbors have one, and it is still in great shape after more than a year of crazy weather.
There is even a smaller and safer “trampoline” of sorts for babies! Check out this little Bubble Bouncer trampoline for 12 months and up.
This stuff is awesome! My almost-3 year old loves the pendants. Here are some of the coolest ones I’ve seen for boys and girls:
3) Koosh Balls
Am I the only one who remembers these things?! I didn’t know they still made them, until my dad bought some for my boys one day. They love them! Koosh balls have such a fun texture, and provide great sensory input for kids who need to fidget.
4) Sit ‘n Spin
If you have a sensory seeker, this little seat is a life-saver. Most of them have upbeat music, and your child can spin to their heart’s content safely. My boys love their Sit ‘n Spin!
5) Fidget Toys
There are tons of different fidget toys on the market now, but you have to be cautious of the quality of some of them. Fidget spinners and cubes can break easily, if you don’t purchase the top brands. I would not recommend these for younger children, as they may become a choking hazard.
The fidget toys we use around here are safe and non-breakable. Trust me, if there was a way to break these or take them apart, Radar would have figured it out by now! Here are our favorites:
No, they aren’t really strings – they are stretchy rubber-ish bands, and they are so much fun! I secretly confiscated the pink one for myself! Stretchy strings are durable, yet have a very pliable texture, and they stretch a lot more than you would think.
The marbles are trapped inside, and they aren’t coming out without the assistance of a sharp cutting tool. It’s a great way for little ones to play with marbles safely.
Puzzle fidgets are great for kids of all ages. Toddlers can simply fidget and bend them around, while older children and teens can challenge themselves by solving the puzzles. These are a great stocking stuffer!
Stikbots are bendable robot toys with suction cups on their hands and feet. My boys actually used these as teething toys! Yes, the recommended age is 4+, but I monitored them, and it’s the only thing that actually worked! Now they still like to play with them, stick them to the windows, and of course throw them at each other.
6) Sensory Swing
Pod swings, taco swings, and stretchy swings are some of the best models for kids with sensory processing disorder. This swinging hammoc chair is pretty amazing too, and is great for older kids, as it holds up to 120 pounds.
7) Balance Pods
Balance pods provide great vestibular input for sensory kids. They can be used in many ways, including as a balancing seat or stepping stones.
8) A Water Table
Although it is practically only for outdoor use, a water table is really a great toy for kids with sensory processing disorder. Most of the ones on the market are for toddlers, but you can make your own water table from PVC pipes. Here is a tutorial, if you’re interested.
9) Water Timers
A water timer will provide stimulation for the visual seekers. You can make your own, or purchase a simple one like this. Lava lamps are a great substitution for older kids with sensory processing disorder.
10) Neurosmith Interactive Cube
One of our favorite toys has been the Neurosmith Together Tunes interactive cube. The nursery rhymes and simple tunes get the little ones moving, and it’s also great for auditory stimulation. It is plush, so the boys roll it and toss it around too. We have had both models (the shapes and the nursery rhymes) for about 2 years, and the boys never seem to get tired of them.
These are hard to come across, but check your local Once Upon a Child or similar children’s second hand store. Amazon usually has some, but they are pricier – definitely worth the investment!
Sensory Toys Really Help!
In case you are wondering, these sensory toys really do help! It’s not just marketing or hype – meeting your child’s sensory needs truly makes a big difference in their behavior, mood, and performance.
Let me know what your favorite sensory toys are, and subscribe to stay up to date on more posts like this!
You can also check out my post on creating a work-from-home environment for kids with sensory processing disorder here.