Children and adults on the autism spectrum have difficulty processing everyday sensory information. Any of the senses may be over or under-sensitive (or both) (The National Autistic Society). Using sensory toys during pool therapy is an important part of teaching children with ASD how to stay safe.
All children love playing with toys in the pool. Floaties, beach balls and buckets are a few common ones, but there are specific toys that children with ASD enjoy.
“Sensory toys are toys that provide the particular sensory input that many children with autism crave. This is where sensory toys come into the equation. Whether it is visual or tactile, toys have the power to capture kids’ attention making the sensory toy a powerful reinforcer (reward) in applied behavioural analysis (ABA) programs.” (Autism Community Store).
Everyone with ASD is unique, but favourites include stretchy/squishy toys, anything that lights up and spinning toys. Check out our list of ideas below!
Here is a toy that can be used in and out of the pool! Bounce or hit the ball to start up the flashing lights on the inside. The outside includes stimulating outer layers of rubber plastic spikes. These are loved by kids with autism who crave sensory input.
The Quack Stack from Fat Brain Toys is a quackingly exciting bath toy! Its beak pours water and the propeller wings spin as you pour water over them. Use the suction cups on the duck’s feet to keep it in place as your child pours water over the wings. It educates children about cause and effect as well.
This cute little water toy does just as you would expect from its name. Plui can be quickly filled up with water by dipping it in the bathtub. Then your child can watch as they make it rain!
These glowing octopuses from Toysmith light up for 13 seconds at a time. There are three different colours and the toys are about 5 inches long. Try them during bath time, pool time and everything in between.
Looking like it would be at home in a kitchen, this whisk does the same thing in the bath. With a turn of a handle, you will soon have a bubbly, mesmerizing, whirlpool of fun. This 10” tall from HABA Toys is beloved by children of all ages.
Like a real scuba diver, this 5 inch tall toy from Boon Toys loves the water two. Choose from a variety of colours and watch as he glows when he goes for a dive!
These jellyfish are more like building blocks, and they don’t sting either! From Boon Toys, these are plastic and have suction cups attached to them. Stick them where you want or build yourself a tower. The bright colours make for endless fun in the water!
Dive for treasure with a themed water toy kit from Curious Minds Busy Bags, which comes with jumbo coins and gems. Both are thick and durable. You can choose to use them in water tables or swimming pools as dive toys.