These kids let me know what the most popular toys are in any given year. I have noticed that the kids on the Autism Spectrum tend to gravitate toward the same items no matter how they differ in their behaviors and symptoms. While most any child (and some adults) would like these gifts, I thought I would share with you the things that are preferred by the kids on the spectrum. While other items have been trendy and have come and gone, this list has been unchanged for the past two or three years.
When I worked with older children and families, I had never heard of "fuse beads". I came to this school to work and fuse beads were the singular most popular item. It is a great activity for children and adults to do together. I allow the child to do all of the building of the item while I gather the colors of beads they will need. And clearly, I do all of the ironing.
|Fuse Beads Kit photo by Amazon|
Required items: The beads, the pegboard, the wax paper that is usually included, and an iron (not included)
Suggestion play (especially with spectrum kids): I use paper plates as trays to hold and sort the beads. I ask the child to pick a sample of the needed colors, we name that color, and put the sample on a plate. I pick the colors out while the child uses what I've gathered to make the item. I always do the ironing and never let the child touch the item while it is still warm. This is one activity that can help kids learn to loosen some of their rigid play. For example, if a child initially allows only one color on the plate at a time, the adult can test those limits over time by putting two colors onto the plate at a time, and so on.
|Fuse Bead Complete Kit photo by Amazon|
MineCraft is an online and computer game that all of the children love. I find that my kids on the spectrum, young and old, gravitate to this game even more so than the other children. The kids play every chance they get. Some of the older children spend time drawing the animals from the game and many of the children have me look up Fuse bead patterns of the characters and items so they can make them.
If your child already has access to the game, consider purchasing the handbooks. Even our non-readers happily crack these books open and spend a lot of time "reading".
Required Item: The game and matching game system or a computer to play the online version.
Suggestion for play: Take time to let the kids show you what they've built or how far along they are in the game. I especially love the animals.
|Mincraft Game for Xbox 360 photo by Amazon|
|Minecraft Handbook photo by Amazon|
There are many sites that have great lists of the Lego kits for sale. Legos seem to never lose their appeal. My children had Legos and I still secretly hope that children will choose the Legos when they come to my office for therapy. The imagination can run wild with Legos. And the blocks can help with fine motor skills, dexterity, frustration tolerance, and other skills. While the large kits can get quite expensive, there are Legos in every price and age range needed.
Lego with Minecraft Kits as seen on Toy and Game World
Lego Planes and Helicopter Kits as seen on Toy Treasures
|Inexpensive Lego Kit photo by Amazon|
|Lego Basics Kit photo by Amazon|
The Hoberman Sphere is a ball of sorts that starts at 9.5" tall and expands to 30" tall ball. There are latches that can easily be operated by any of the children on my caseload. They love opening and closing it, latching it open and crawling through. I have been concerned about the moving parts and little fingers, but for some reason, no one has gotten pinched.
|Hoberman Sphere photo by Amazon|
|Hoberman Sphere photo by Amazon|
Tents and Tubes
The children at our school, especially the children on the Autism spectrum, love small places to hide or to hang out. They love tubes and tents. These tubes and tents are appropriate for indoors and allow the children to have "fort" type of play in their room or playroom.
Suggested Play and Use: sit outside of the "tent" and read to them while they are inside. Let them "hide" inside in order to discuss things. Use the tent as a safe place for them to go for "time out".
|Play Tubes photo by Amazon|
|Play Tent photo by Amazon|
The Best Gift of All
Of course, your time and attention is the best gift you could give any child. That is both my opinion and the opinion of the experts; the children.
Written by Dawn Rae
Disclaimer: In affiliation with Amazon.com, Dawn Rae is a blogger and content
writer who may earn compensation from the sale of Amazon products.