10 Best Sensory Toys for Children on the Autistic Spectrum (UK Edition)

I have lived with Autism in some way shape or form for my entire life. My brother was within the bounds of low-functioning autism for most of his adolescent life but with decades of love and attention he is now higher functioning. My eldest daughter was recently diagnosed on the spectrum as well, so I’ve had a chance to see and play with a lot of these toys firsthand.

Having a child with a spectrum diagnosis can be hard work but sensory toys and parental attention can make a world of difference when it comes to helping your child develop essential motor and social skills.

If you’re looking for gifts for children with special needs, or sensory toys for kids that aren’t your own, it’s worthwhile have a discussion with the parent over what sort of toys the child likes before purchasing one, as what works for one child may aggravate another. Most children with a spectrum diagnosis absolutely love sensory toys that involve playing or manipulating lights.

Sounds on the other hand can go one of two ways, some children love it but repetitive sounds can be upsetting for the parents (if you’ve ever had to listen to one sound effect on repeat for days on end, you’ll know what I’m talking about) while other children may find the noise over-stimulating.

For those of you who are thinking about purchasing toys that require batteries, if the toy is supplied with a rechargeable battery pack, it’s worthwhile purchasing a spare battery where available to prevent meltdowns. If the toy is a heavy duty toy that drains batteries, rechargeable batteries are also a welcome addition!

All prices listed include VAT – you may be able to claim VAT relief on items for chronically sick or disabled children. Please check with the HMRC for more information and to see if you can apply.

Light & Sensory Toys


🏆 Fibre Optic Sensory Harness (200cm x 50cm)

Amazing Light Sensory Toy

Fibre optic sensory harness lights 2 mm Flexible (50x200cm) autism, children

£169.99
1 new from £169.99
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 3 Years+ | Size : 2m Length
Features :
Multiple Colours, Remote Control Operated

This is by far my favourite sensory toy for kids. These long and sturdy fibre optic cables are 2.2mm thick and 2 metres long. They provide a calming light which can be changed via remote control.

Safe for most special needs children as they won’t tangle thanks to the nature of the fibre. They can be hung on walls or within tents, above beds or carried around. They are highly recommended and usually priced between £150-250.

Child supervision is necessary with younger children due to the nature of this toy.

A cheaper option is available for the 1m long version.

PROS:
  • Calming & Soothing LED Fibre Optic Lights
  • Fantastic for Children & Adults of All Ages
  • Comes with Power Socket & Everything you Need to get Started

CONS:
  • Fairly Expensive


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ICOCO 3D Printing Moon Lamp

Sensory Touch & Light Toy – With Rechargeable Battery & Colour Changing LEDs

ICOCO 3D Printing Moon Lamp, Lunar Luna Moonlight 3 Tone 7 Colors Touch Control Brightness Night Light with Lamp Holder...

Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 2 Years+ | Size : 15cm
Features :
Rechargeable Battery, Multiple Colours, Tactile & Strong Build

I bought one of these for my son’s 2nd birthday. He has an affinity for the moon but my daughter has absolutely fallen in love with it as well! These 3D moons are made of fairly strong plastic (my son has been throwing it and banging it and it still works)!

It has 3 different colour options – White, Orange & Pulsing LEDs – you have to tap the moon to change the colour and double tap to activate the “breathing” function, which changes the brightness. They make fantastic night lights as well. It’s hours of fun for spectrum & non-spectrum kids and it doesn’t break the bank.

We were surprised to see that on the lowest brightness setting it lasts just over 2 days without needing a recharge – it takes about 4 hours to completely replenish the battery via the microusb (same plug as most smartphones) and it will still work while charging.

Available in 10cm size as well.

PROS:
  • Re-Chargeable Battery (Cable Supplied)
  • Touch & Light Sensory
  • Tactile
  • Strong Build
  • Affordable

CONS:
  • Can be a bit Fiddly to get the Right Light Setting


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NRS Healthcare Children’s Dark Den

Portable Therapist Recommended Sensory Room 

NRS Healthcare Children's Dark Den for Sensory Stimulation

£71.99 £102.99
1 new from £71.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 2-6 Years+ | Size : 100cm x 100cm x 100cm
Features :
Side Flaps for Observation, Darkened Play Area, Ideal for Lights & UV Equipment

These therapist recommended dark dens are a great way to offer your child a quiet and secluded space away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. NRS also offer an accessory kit (which we feel is somewhat overpriced but takes the hassle out of sources the products yourself).

Measuring in at 1x1x1m this small sensory den is portable and lightweight as well as being easy to install. A larger version (1.8m x 1.2m x 1.2m) is also available for ~£85 more.

PROS:
  • Portable Dark Den
  • Affordable
  • Therapist Recommended

CONS:
  • Too Small for Larger Children


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National Geographic Glow in the Dark Moon and Stars

Cheap Glow in the Dark Moon & Stars

Glow in the Dark Moon and Stars by National Geographic

£7.99
1 new from £7.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : All Ages | Size : Varies
Features :
50 Glow-in-the-Dark Stars & Moon Shapes

I remember having these as a child and they haven’t changed a bit. These glow in the dark stars (and moon) are educational and offer a limited amount of light for bed times.

They’re cheap and easy to install.

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • Easy to Install
  • Educational

CONS:
  • None @ This Price


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PlayLearn 6ft Bubble Tube Water Feature

Light Visual Sensory Toy

Extra Large (6ft) Acrylic Bubble Tube Water Feature With Stainless Steel Base and Colour Changing LED Light Includes 15 Fish...

£299.99 £499.99
1 new from £299.99
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : All Ages | Size : 6ft
Features :
Remote Control, Colour Changing LEDs, Stainless Steel Base

PlayLearn have an array of large water feature sensory toys perfect for kids on the spectrum. They’re not cheap but they come well rated and highly recommended.

Available in a 1.8m Tube (featured), 1.2m Bubble Wall, Colour Changing Bubble Table, 1.2m Square Tube & 1.25m Bubble Wall

PROS:
  • Colourful & Safe
  • Multi Coloured Features
  • Sturdy & Robust

CONS:
  • Expensive
  • Requires Distilled Water


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Mathmos Space Projector

Calming Light Projecting Device

Mathmos Space Projector in Silver with Lava Lamp Effect Wheel - Blue / Red

£125.00
1 new from £125.00
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : All Ages | Size : Projection up to 4m in Diameter
Features :
Multiple Effects Available, 1500 Hour Bulbs

These space projectors are made by the creators of the lava lamp. The projectors are easy to setup and use and make for a great night light.

Additional colours and oil packs are available.

PROS:

CONS:
  • Somewhat Expensive


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GlowArt Drawing Board

Interactive UV Drawing Board – Perfect for Christmas

GlowArt Drawing Board (Black) by Glowart

£18.74 £24.95
7 new from £18.49
1 used from £17.57
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 3+ | Size : A4
Features :
Backlit UV Drawing Board + 4 UV Pens

I bought one of these for my eldest daughter (the Crayola version that was on offer in B&M) and she absolutely loves it. It is an easy-clean wipe down board with a backlight that offers multiple lighting effects which make your drawing really come to life.

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • Multiple Lighting Effects
  • UV Fun – Great for Dark Rooms

CONS:
  • Pens Can Be Messy


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PlayLearn Colour Changing Rocket Tube Light

Affordable & Relaxing Sensory Light

LED Colour Changing Rocket Light Tube with Remote 100cm By Playlearn

£24.99
5 new from £24.99
Free shipping
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 3+ | Size : 1m Tall
Features :
Remote Controlled Mains Operated LED Rocket Light

A cheaper alternative sensory light for slightly older children. This 1 metre tall LED light is mains operated and comes with a remote control (CR2025 battery not included).

With colour changing features and strobe / smooth / flash & fade functions to keep your child entertained.

PROS:
  • Cheap
  • Multiple Lighting Effects

CONS:
  • Some Users Have Mentioned the Base Isn’t Particularly Sturdy


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1m Tall Bubble Tube LED with Fish & Balls

Alternative & Affordable Bubble Tubes

Playlearn Large - Bubble Tube LED Light Floor Novelty lamp with Fish, Balls - 105cm - White - New High...

£49.99 £59.99
1 new from £49.99
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : 3+ | Size : 1m Tall
Features :
Bubble Tube, LEDs, Fish & Balls

Another alternative bubble tube. These are fantastic alternatives if you don’t want to fork out £200+ for a 2m tall bubble tube.

At just under £50 these make a great gift for autistic children of all ages.

PROS:
  • 1m Tall Bubble Tube
  • Multiple Colours
  • Sturdy

CONS:
  • Motor Is Noisy – We Recommend Placing This on a Foam Floor Tile to Insulate the Noise


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LED Cube Stool / Table

Great Playroom or Sensory Room Furniture

LED Cube Stool Colour Changing 40cm Chair Seat Outdoor Furniture

£64.99 £116.40
2 new from £55.00
Amazon Amazon.co.uk
Last update was in: 15th July 2018 10:59 pm

Suitable For : All Ages | Size : 40cm x 40cm
Features :
Rechargeable Battery, Multiple Colours

We love these little LED cubes. They make great furniture for the kids and they adore them.

The built in rechargeable batteries means that they’re affordable and they last for 10-12 hours during the day as well!

PROS:
  • Great Sensory Furniture
  • Can be Used as a Table or Stool
  • Rechargeable Battery

CONS:
  • None


That’s it from us today. If you have any recommendations or would like to leave a review of any of the above items below please do so as we’d love to hear from you!

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