10 Best Sensory Toys

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Sensory toys are one of the best ways to help enhance your toddler’s sensory development. These hands-on toys use different things like bright colors, sounds, motion, and textures to teach kids how to process all of the information gathered by their senses. These thoroughly-researched toys aim to improve areas such as fine motor skills, cognitive processing, language development, social interaction, and problem-solving skills. But when it comes to purchasing sensory toys, there are a lot of options to choose from.

Plus, most of these educational toys are designed for specific age groups and tend to focus on particular areas of development. But if you’re having a tough time finding the right toy for your child’s needs, you’ve come to the right place. We took a look at some of the most popular options on the market and came up with this list of the 10 best sensory toys of 2018.

Older kids may prefer Spirograph sets.

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  • Affordable
  • Fun, colorful, squishy beads
  • Great for sensory games
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  • Available in several colors
  • Quiet performance
  • Easy to use
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  • Very affordable
  • Great tool for focus and hyperactivity issues
  • Compact design is perfect for small hands

Sensory toys are a very popular therapy tool used to help the sensory development of children with autism and sensory processing disorder. These great toys are also a fantastic way to promote healthy sensory development in all children. With so many options out there, choosing which sensory toys to buy your child can be a little tough. That’s why we came up with this list of the top 10 sensory toys of 2018.

View the Best Sensory Toys, Below.

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1. MarvelBeads Water Beads

MarvelBeads Water Beads

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MarvelBeads Water Beads are non-toxic, eco-friendly, reusable beads that magically grow to the size of a marble when they’re submerged in water. They come in a rainbow of colors and reach their full size in about 4 to 6 hours. Kids will get a thrill out of watching them expand. And once expanded, these soft, colorful, squishy beads create a soothing, tactile experience for children with sensory processing disorder or autism. Plus, they’re a great way to help any kid learn color recognition, fine motor skills, and counting.

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Why We Like It

  • Affordable
  • Fun, colorful, squishy beads
  • Great for sensory games
  • Can be used in a variety of ways

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

These vibrant beads are great for kids of all ages. There are countless ways to play with them. Kids can hold them in their hands, count them, or squish them. Or you can put them in a bucket or container and watch as your child plunges their hands or feet in. Plus, they shrink back to their original size once they dry out so your kid can enjoy watching them grow over and over again.

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2. PlaSmart PlasmaCar

PlaSmart PlasmaCar

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The PlaSmart PlasmaCar is a fun, kid-friendly toy car designed to let your child have fun while they improve their motor skills. This vehicle has no batteries, gears, or pedals, so it’s perfect for any kid over 3 years of age. To propel it forward, kids simply prop their feet on the footrests and turn the steering wheel back and forth. The faster your child moves their arms, the faster the PlasmaCar moves, allowing it to reach speeds up to 6 mph. And it’s even available in several cool colors.

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Why We Like It

  • Available in several colors
  • Quiet performance
  • Easy to use
  • Improves motor skills and hand-eye coordination

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

The PlaSmart PlasmaCar is a fantastic sensory toy that can help your child develop good hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Since it doesn’t have electronics or a motor, the only thing you’ll hear is the sound of its wheels. It’s even suitable for indoor or outdoor use.

It’s simple to propel this vehicle forward and kids will get a kick out of steering it around the house or out in the backyard. Plus, it’s perfect for children who have difficulty propelling it forward with their arms since they can just use their feet to push it around.

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3. Super Z Outlet Liquid Motion Bubbler

Super Z Outlet Liquid Motion Bubbler

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The Super Z Outlet Liquid Motion Bubbler is a 2” wide x 5.75” tall liquid timer that’s perfect for tiny hands. Just turn it over and watch as the two different colored liquids drop down in a slow pace that’s similar to a lava lamp. Once the timer is finished, just turn it back over and start again. The descending bubbles have a soothing effect that will keep your kids mesmerized for hours.

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Why We Like It

  • Very affordable
  • Great tool for focus and hyperactivity issues
  • Compact design is perfect for small hands
  • Comes with 2 random colors inside

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

The Liquid Motion Bubbler is a fun sensory toy that’s great for children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, and hyperactivity issues. The way the drops slowly descend provides gentle visual stimulation, soothing and calming kids while helping them improve their visual tracking and focusing skills. It’s a simple and fun toy that will provide hours of entertainment.

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4. Gonge Riverstones

Gonge Riverstones

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Gonge Riverstones bring the fun of the stepping stones you’d find in a river right into your living room. This 6-piece set comes with 3 large and 3 small stones. Each side of these triangular, colored rubber stones varies in difficulty and steepness and rubber studs on the bottom protects your floor and prevents slipping. Arrange the stones and let your child jump from stone to stone without touching the floor. And they even stack up for easy storage.

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Why We Like It

  • Contains 3 large and 3 small stones
  • Colorful construction
  • Rubber rim prevents slipping and floor damage
  • Stackable for easy storage
  • Great way to improve coordination

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

Gonge River Stones are colorful, easy-to-use, and fun. Kids will enjoy hopping around the yard or living room and the varying steepness makes it perfect for any child between 3 and 7 years of age. They’re a great way to help your child improve their balance, coordination, and confidence while also teaching them how to judge distance better.

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5. SpringFly Bundle Sensory Toys Set

SpringFly Bundle Sensory Toys Set

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The SpringFly Sensory Toy Set is a 16-piece bundle of toys designed for kids of all ages. It contains items like a liquid motion timer, a stress ball, 3 mesh and marble sensory toys, a magic cube ball, a bike chain, and a variety of squeeze and stretch toys that are perfect for stimulation, relaxation, and improving coordination and fine motor skills. Plus, they’re colorful and made from eco-friendly, kid-safe materials.

See more information on SpringFly Bundle Sensory Toys Set.

Why We Like It

  • 16-piece set
  • Very affordable bundle
  • Contains an assortment of toys to improve various skills

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

Why purchase one sensory toy when you can purchase this terrific 16-piece bundle? It includes a variety of simple toys that are perfect for any child especially those with ADHD, autism, or sensory processing disorder. With an assortment of items that provide visual stimulation and improve fine motor skills, your child will never be bored.

Watch as your child holds, flips, pulls, stretches, and squeezes the different toys included in this set. Plus, the toys are quiet so they can be used at home, school, the library, at your office, or even on vacation.

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6. Hasbro Simon Swipe Game

Hasbro Simon Swipe Game

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The Hasbro Simon Swipe Game is a new twist on the classic Simon game featuring the iconic 4-color design. Kids play by responding to an ever-increasing pattern of light and sound combinations with taps, swipes, and reverses. You win by repeating the pattern of lights and sounds and are rewarded by music and flashing lights before a new pattern starts.

With 4 games and 16 levels of increasing difficulty, your child will always be challenged. Plus, it’s great for social play since it can be played in solo or multiplayer mode.

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Why We Like It

  • Great visual stimulation
  • 4 games with 16 levels of play
  • Solo and multiplayer modes

Recommended Age
8 years and up
Our Verdict

Hasbro Simon Swipe is one of the best sensory toys on the market today. Kids will love the flashing lights and music that plays as they tap and swipe, replicating the unit’s patterns. And with 4 different games and 16 levels, they’ll never get bored. You’ll love the fact that it’s a great way to improve your child’s focus, hand-to-eye skills, and pattern recognition.

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7. Tangle Original Fidget Toy

Tangle Original Fidget Toy

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The Tangle Jr. is designed with continuous, endless motion in mind. These bright and colorful toys are basically a series of connected 90-degree curves that can pivot at each joint for an infinite number of users and designs. This set comes with 3 models with different color schemes so your child can mix them together for more exciting creative options.

Kids can flex and mold them into any configuration, allowing them to exercise their senses of touch and sight, as well as their imagination.

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Why We Like It

  • Great hands-on toy
  • Comes with 3 different Tangle Jr. toys
  • Crazy color schemes for visual stimulation

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

This is a fantastic sensory toy that lets a child channel their creativity while also soothing and calming them. They’re a great way to help a kid improve their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination as they twist and turn this toy into any number of configurations. Plus, it’s quiet so it can be used anywhere and it’s the perfect toy to keep idle or fidgeting hands busy.

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8. Just Jump It Set of 2 EZ Steppers

Just Jump It Set of 2 EZ Steppers

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Just Jump It EZ Steppers are a colorful, updated version of the classic “can stepper”. The 4” plastic platforms are durable and feature slip-resistant foot grips and the adjustable rope hand cords are made from high-quality JJI line. When your kid is ready for a fun and crazy walk, they just pull the ropes up tight and begin to walk around. And with 6 different colors available, it’s easy to find the right style for your child.

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Why We Like It

  • 6 colors available
  • Affordable
  • Great for exercise, balance, and coordination
  • Durable materials and non-slip foot grips

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

With non-slip grips, Just Jump It EZ Steppers can be used indoors or outdoors. They’re designed from durable materials and come in a variety of colors. Best of all, they’re safe and fun. Your kids will love walking around with these toys on their feet and won’t even realize that they’re improving their agility, balance, and coordination while they play.

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9. Fat Brain Toys Squigz

Fat Brain Toys Squigz

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This Squigz set is the perfect sensory toy for any child who loves to play with their hands. These suction-construction pieces can stick on smooth, flat surfaces and to each other, allowing your child to build all sorts of unique sculptures and creations. And kids get a kick out of hearing the popping sound made when you pull two Squigz apart. This set comes with 18 pieces in 7 different colors and shapes for endless options. Plus, they’re made of 100% silicone and are BPA-free and latex-free.

See more information on Fat Brain Toys Squigz.

Why We Like It

  • 18-piece suction construction set
  • Pieces stick to any flat, non-porous surface or each other
  • Fun colors and shapes
  • Great way to improve fine motor skills and spatial reasoning

Recommended Age
3 years and up
Our Verdict

Squigz are the ideal sensory toy to encourage creativity and experimentation while enhancing fine motor and spatial reasoning skills. They’re fun to use and the flexible construction makes them comfortable to handle. These colorful construction toys can be used on any flat surface like a tabletop, glass, and even the bathtub and, with 7 different shapes, the only limits are your child’s imagination.

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10. Surfloor

Surfloor

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Surfloor liquid tiles come in 4 bright colors that move with every step, jump, and slide that your child makes. These large tiles measure 19.5” x 19.5” and feature an anti-slip backside. You can even purchase additional tiles for a larger play area. These durable tiles are designed to be leak proof and the colored fluid inside is a non-toxic cosmetic liquid.

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Why We Like It

  • Available in 4 bright cosmic colors
  • Large 19.5” x 19.5” tile
  • Anti-slip backing
  • Incredibly durable construction

Recommended Age
2 months and up
Our Verdict

Surfloor tiles are a mesmerizing sensory toy that your child will love stomping around on. They’re rugged and durable, so you don’t have to worry about them springing a leak. Best of all, the liquid swirls and moves underfoot, allowing your child to watch in awe as the pattern beneath their feet changes, making it a terrific way to enhance perceptual and sensory development.

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Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for When Buying Sensory Toys

With so many options on the market, figuring out which sensory toys to buy for your kid can be a little bit intimidating. But by keeping the following factors in mind, you’ll be able to find toys that are guaranteed to enhance your child’s development while putting a smile on his or her face.

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Function

Sensory toys are designed to give kids a chance to collect and process information by using their senses. They use different things like color, sound, and texture to help children become aware of and understand their developing senses of taste, touch, hearing, sight, and smell. But while engaging their senses is great, it’s not enough.

Since playing is the main way children learn and obtain new information, it’s important that sensory toys also encourage learning by exposing toddlers to various concepts like numbers, language, opposites, contrasting sounds and colors, and even animal names.

We think you’ll also like the top Imaginext toys.

Safety

Another critical aspect that you should consider is safety. Toddlers are quite resourceful and if there are any design flaws in a toy, they’re going to find it. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the sensory toys you are purchasing don’t come with any small parts that can be accidentally swallowed and that they aren’t made from toxic or hazardous materials. You should also make sure that there are no dangerous parts on the toy like ribbons, pointy objects, or sharp edges.

Quality

Kids tend to play rough. You don’t want to spend money on a toy only to find out that it broke a week later. Plus, broken toy parts can be dangerous. That’s why it’s important to consider the durability of the toys you are purchasing. Look for products made by reputable brands that are built from high-quality materials. While they might cost you a bit more up front, you’ll be saving yourself money and aggravation in the long run.

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Your Child’s Personality

The final thing to consider is your child’s preferences. You can spend a fortune on a toy only to find it sitting in their toy box the next day. Sensory toys are valuable development tools but only if your child plays with them regularly. So take the time to see what kinds of toys your child enjoys playing with. The more engaged they are with the toy, the more they’ll benefit from it.

Related: Shimmer & Shine toys 2018.

What Are Sensory Toys?

Sensory toys are products that are designed to engage a child’s attention physically and cognitively by engaging at least one of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. These toys use things like bright colors, sounds, different textures, aromas, and flavors to teach kids how to gather and understand all of the information received from their senses.

What is the Purpose of Sensory Play?

Sensory play is important in the development of all children. While certain groups of children, such as those who have sensory processing disorder or autism, have difficulty understanding and processing the stimuli that they receive from their senses, all children need help learning how to use and understand their senses. Children learn about the world through their senses.

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Sensory play helps your child examine and make sense of the outside world and interpret the signals they are receiving via their 5 senses. It’s helpful for understanding the world and their own bodies, as well as improving things like coordination, hand-eye, language, and fine motor skills. The sensory play also helps teach them how to avoid being overwhelmed by external stimuli.

Expert Tip

Since every child is different, it’s important to pay attention to how your child reacts to different types of sensory toys. You’ll find that some toys have a calming effect on your child while others will stimulate them. Once you figure out the effect that certain toys have on your child, you’ll be able to choose the right sensory toys and know which ones to use at particular times.

Did You Know?

Sensory toys are not only designed to aid in the development of sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Some are created to enhance your child’s vestibular sensory system that helps them balance themselves as well as proprioception which lets them use their arms and legs without looking at them.