Each year Autism Live curates a list of top toys and gifts in a wide range of categories and developmental levels to help you find the perfect gift to delight the children, teens and adults in your life who are on the Autism Spectrum. This year we have chosen toys in various price ranges to help you make the perfect holiday selection.  We hope there is something to delight everyone on your list!

Best Educational Toy Winner

Mr. Pencil ABC Backpack™

Leap Frog®


A Backpack Filled with Learning Excitement! Go on an adventure and learn the letters of the alphabet and how to write them with Mr. Pencil. Close the backpack for learning and playtime on the go! 

Autism Live Says:

No one teaches the alphabet like Leap Frog®, their team has this down to a science and they know exactly how to make it fun! We especially LOVE how portable this toy is and how it fosters handwriting skills in addition to teaching the alphabet!

Best Sensory Toy Winner

PopOhVer Plush Food Play Set

Salus Brands®


PopOhVer award winning play sets offer hours of pretend play for children of all ages. Encourage thought and creativity at a young age by teaching your child how to play with toy foods. Role play will help teach them the names and uses for the items along the way. This is the perfect gift for any child to foster imagination.

Autism Live Says:

This amazing play set wins the Best Sensory Toy Award because of how it feels.  This is not the standard, hard plastic pretend food play set; these food items are made from super-durable fabric that is plush and pleasurable, but also filled with sand, making them realistic and so pleasurable to handle!  You have to feel them to understand, but once you do you will know why they are an award winner!

Best Card/Board Game Winner


Think Fun®


Bingo with a Zing! Perfect for pre-readers and early readers, Zingo builds language and matching skills in preschool kids through fun, fast-paced play.

Autism Live Says:

Zingo® is loved by teachers, parents and our staff for its fast, fun, educational play!  We especially love the easy instructions an Parent’s Guide! This is a great game to play with the whole family!

Best Puzzle Winner

Self-Correcting Alphabet Wooden Puzzle

Melissa & Doug®


This “self-correcting” puzzles features pieces that only have one match that fits each piece , so kids can learn the alphabet while developing a sense of mastery. This alphabet wooden puzzle features both capital and lowercase letters and labeled images. 

Autism Live Says:

This puzzle is a perfect educational toy. For learners who are stronger with puzzle skills it will help them learn the alphabet and for those who are good at the alphabet it will help with puzzle skills.  We also love the construction and durability of Melissa & Doug toys!

Best Motor Play Award

Wiggle N Giggle

Trunk Works


Get kids moving in fun and different ways with this super easy gross motor game.  Three levels of play allow children to move their bodies in silly ways, while problem solving and working on mental and physical flexibility.

Autism Live Says:

Play this with the whole family for lots of fun and laughter!  One card tells you how to move: Hop Like a Rabbit, a second card tells you an activity to do while doing the first action: Sing the Alphabet and then for very advanced play draw a third card and add it to the mix:  In a Zig Zag Line.  Everyone will enjoy watching Dad hop like a bunny, in a zig zag line, while singing the alphabet.  The combinations and the fun are endless!!


Best Book Winner

The Don’t Worry Book

By Todd Parr


Todd Parr brings his trademark bright colors and bold lines to his new book about things that might make kids worry, from loud news, to loud neighbors, or a big day at school. With his signature humor and instantly recognizable style, Todd speaks out to kids who are feeling the weight of their world, offering solutions and comfort, as well as giggles.

Autism Live Says:

This is a superlative book to read with your child to introduce the topic of worry.  It is important to give children a context to understand their feelings. Todd Parr’s illustrations are fun enough to make worry a topic that is easily understood. 


Best Oldie but Goody Winner

Picture Pets Play Set



Play and learn with the Colorforms® Pets Picture Play Set! Mix and match the adorable pieces to take care of, dress up, and play with your own Colorforms® pets! Re-stick the pieces on each scene to imagine your own fun stories over and over again.

Autism Live Says:

Colorforms® has been around for over 60 years and if you’ve every played with them, you know!  It is pure addictive fun!  What you may not realize is they also help develop fine motor, problem solving and many other skills! 

Therapist Recommendation Winner

Stacking Peg Board Set



Develop and strengthen fine motor skills while learning counting, colors and patterns! To stack and place the pegs properly on the peg board the eyes and hands have to coordinate together, strengthening your child’s visual perception, and motor coordination in a fun and enjoyable way.

Six different colors allow your preschooler child to develop any kind of patterns, stacking the different colors together, while learning and counting the colors and the amounts in the process.

Autism Live Says:

Therapists love this deceptively simple toy.  Why?  Because it is so fun and flexible! Your child can build, count, match etc.  A good therapist can use this toy in a million ways to ignite learning in young children. Rocks!

Parent Recommendation Winner

Picasso Tiles

Picasso Tiles


Dream big and build big with no limitations! It’s never too early to start developing kids creativity. Children can acquire strong sense of color, geometrical shapes including 3D forms, number counting, magnetic polarities & architectural design at early age.

Autism Live Says:

Parents love these amazing tiles because they are fun, beautiful, addictive and unleash the creativity in children young and old.  They are also so simple to use, anyone can get in on the fun!

Top Toy Winner

Baby Nerlie TakeItEasy



Baby Nerlies TakeitEasy were invited to Earth to help children to calm themselves by learning relaxation techniques.  They are adopted by children who help them to come out of their protective shell and  then Nerlie TakeitEasy helps the child learn how to breathe and stay calm when things get hard.

Autism Live Says:

We love Nerlie babies and the way they feel.  They are soft and heavy and provide a lovely sensory experience. They also come with lots of fun social skill building activities.  We super love this new line of babies that are designed to teach stress reducing techniques.  There is also a very fun activity before the child can even take their baby out of its protective orb.  As with all Nerlies, make sure to read the packaging for lots of fun, creative ways to play with your new baby!

Boredom Buster Award

Motor Works Train

Discovery Toys®


Strengthen fine motor and coordination skills by assembling this free-wheeling locomotive. Take apart and rebuild for loads of fun! Rod on both sides moves when train is rolled across a flat surface, inspiring imaginary action play. 

Autism Live Says:

We love how little hands and minds are kept engaged by taking apart and putting together this well-made toy.  This is the perfect activity for those days when you need to fill some time with good enriching fun without having to break a sweat.

Best Art/Craft Winner

The Ultimate Fort Builder



Build the fort of your dreams! Just attach the poles to the kid-friendly connectors…then cover with a sheet or blanket for hours of fun. You get 45 poles and 25 connectors—perfect for creating any fort you can imagine…plus a step-by-step guide that shows you how to build everything from a kid’s castle to a super-cool igloo! 

Autism Live Says:

This set takes blanket forts to the next level!  With tons of building options there is endless amounts of fun for rainy day activities or to inspire the junior builder in your life!


Best STEM Toy Winner

Drill Set Building Blocks



Improve your kids’ imagination and creativity by challenging them to build their own cars, animals, robots or anything they can imagine. Included are a wrench, a manual screwdriver and an electric screwdriver so multiple kids can play at the same time.

Autism Live Says:

If you have a little engineer in your midst, but they aren’t quite ready for an erector set or their own power tools, this set is the perfect bridge to prepare them for their future!  They will have the opportunity to drill and design, using everything from problem solving skills to visual and motor planning!

Best Speech Builder Winner

My Little Zoo

Smart Felt Toys®


My Little Zoo is a hands-on, award-winning, multi-sensory, interactive felt toy which can be used flat, or easily transformed into a unique reversible 3-dimensional playset. Created by a speech pathologist to build early language skills, virtually every part of My Little Zoo was designed with an educational purpose. The 37 brilliantly colored soft, sticking felt pieces are used to promote receptive and expressive language; to teach whowhat, and where questions; to develop matching skills; and as a springboard for demonstrating storytelling skills.

Autism Live Says:

We love this newest addition to the Smart Felt Toys family!  Language learners love to play with the animals and rearrange them. Parents will love the extensive lesson guide that super charges this toy to spark language.  We just love it!

Best Social Skills Builder Winner

Little People® Sit with Me School Bus



Get little ones excited for their future rides to school! Get the fun started by pressing the Discovery Button to flip open the stop sign and pop open the door to let on passengers. Bus Driver Emily™ is ready to greet little Eddie™ and wish him a great day as he heads to school. Place Bus Driver Emily™ in the driver’s seat to hear fun songs and sounds, and then roll the bus along to hit the road! Toddlers can even help Eddie™ make new friends by bringing more Little People® characters to the bus and seating them all together! (Additional figures sold separately.)

Autism Live Says:

We love this traditional toy upgraded to teach inclusion and the social aspects of riding a school bus. What a great way to help young learners prepare for this aspect of attending school.

Employment Empowerment Award

PopOhVer Pretend Play Stove Set

Salus Brands®


Revolutionize kid’s play time with PopOhVers’ Pretend Play Kitchen Stove Set! Lightweight and portable – PopOhVer Pretend Kitchen Playset is perfect for kitchen play at sleepovers, play dates, and birthday parties! Simply tie it over a household chair, unfold it, fasten the ties and you are done! Cleanup is just as easy.

Autism Live Says:

For anyone who has ever longed to give their child a pretend play kitchen but didn’t have the $$$ or the space to house it – this is your perfect answer.  We love the rich pretend play that kids get when trying on “jobs” and pretending to do all the things a chef would do, but we also love the way it folds up for easy storage! Yes, please!


We at AUTISM Live

wish you the

Happiest of Holidays!

After all of your shopping is done, if you find that you have more to give, please join us in making a donation of any size to Autism Care Today (ACT). This wonderful organization gives grants to families for things like iPads, insurance co-pays, sensory equipment, GPS devices and more. Your donation could make another family’s holiday wishes come true.

VISIT www.act-today.org

TODAY and make a DONATION.