When traveling with children with autism, it’s important to have sensory toys that can keep them engaged and calm during the journey.
We recently came back from two trips (you can read about one of them here), and I’m happy to report that my children have become amazing travelers thanks, in large part, to keeping a ready-supply of sensory toys for them to access when we are on the go.
In this blog post, we will explore 10 fun travel-friendly sensory toys that are perfect for children with autism. These toys are not only entertaining, but also provide sensory stimulation and promote relaxation. Let’s dive in!
Fidget Spinners are small handheld toys that can provide hours of entertainment for children with autism. These toys have spinning blades that can be rotated with a flick of a finger, offering visual and tactile stimulation. They are compact and easy to carry, making them ideal for travel.
2. Tangle Toys
Tangle toys are a series of interconnected plastic pieces that can be twisted and turned into various shapes. They provide sensory input through tactile stimulation and can help children with autism regulate their emotions. Tangle toys are lightweight and portable, making them great for travel.
Textured stretchy strings are an excellent travel accessory for children with autism for several reasons. First, they are lightweight and portable, making them easy to pack and carry during trips.
Whether you’re going on a plane, train, or car ride, having the strings readily available can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity for the child.
Additionally, the strings offer sensory stimulation and can help children regulate their sensory input during travel, which can be overwhelming for autistic children. The act of stretching and manipulating the strings can provide a calming effect and help reduce anxiety or stress.
Sensory balls come in various textures, sizes, and colors, offering a wide range of sensory experiences. They can be squeezed, bounced, or rolled, providing tactile stimulation and promoting hand-eye coordination. Sensory balls are lightweight and can easily fit into a travel bag, to so we keep them handy in the car as well.
Chewable necklaces are designed to provide a safe and appropriate outlet for children who have a need to chew. We only use chewable necklaces for travel as my older son has a penchant for breaking these fairly easily, but he’s an aggressive chewer. When we aren’t traveling I try to keep gum around like this. I worry about him sticking it on the plane, but if you have an older child gum may be the best bet. As for chew necklaces, they are made of non-toxic materials and come in various shapes and textures.
They can be worn around the neck, allowing children to soothe themselves while on the go. Not having something to chew can really distress the child, so I definitely recommend having something available to squelch that urge.
Busy boards are a fantastic travel-friendly sensory toy for children with autism for several reasons. These boards are filled with a variety of activities and sensory experiences that can keep children engaged and entertained during long journeys. They typically feature buttons to press, zippers to unzip, locks to unlock, and various textures to touch and explore.
Busy boards provide a hands-on and interactive experience that can help children with autism regulate their sensory input and stay focused during travel. They also promote fine motor skills development and can be a great tool for sensory play. The compact and portable nature of busy boards makes them easy to carry and use while on the go, making them a perfect travel-friendly sensory toy for children with autism.
7. Water Beads
Water beads are small, squishy balls that expand when soaked in water. They provide a unique tactile experience and can be used for sensory play. Water beads are compact and lightweight when dry, making them a convenient travel-friendly sensory toy. Just remember to soak them before the journey!
Magnetic tiles are colorful, flat building blocks that can be easily connected using magnets. They offer endless opportunities for creative play and promote fine motor skills development. Magnetic tiles are lightweight and can be packed into a small bag, making them perfect for travel.
9. Bubble Tubes
Bubble tubes are mesmerizing sensory toys that create a soothing visual effect. These tubes contain water and bubbles that continuously rise, providing a calming and relaxing experience. Bubble tubes come in various sizes, including travel-friendly options that can be easily packed in a suitcase.
10. Light-Up Toys
Light-up toys, such as light-up spinners or wands, can capture the attention of children with autism and provide visual stimulation. These toys emit colorful lights and can be a source of fascination and entertainment during travel. Look for compact light-up toys that are easy to carry
11. Sensory Books
Sensory books are interactive books that engage multiple senses. These books often feature textures, sounds, and visual elements that can captivate children with autism. Sensory books are lightweight and can be easily packed in a travel bag, offering entertainment and sensory exploration on the go.
12. Travel-Sized Play-Doh
Play-Doh is a versatile sensory toy that can provide hours of creative play. Travel-sized Play-Doh containers are compact and convenient for travel. They offer tactile stimulation and allow children to mold and shape their own creations, keeping them entertained during the journey. Conclusion: Traveling with children with autism can be made more enjoyable and stress-free with the right sensory toys.
The 12 travel-friendly sensory toys mentioned in this blog post are perfect for keeping children engaged, calm, and entertained while on the go. From fidget spinners to sensory balls and chewable necklaces, these toys offer various sensory experiences and promote relaxation. By including these sensory toys in your travel bag, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey for your child with autism.