25 Stim Toys for Autism and ADHD Sensory Needs

Stim toys for autism or ADHD. Stimming is a repetitive, self-stimulating, sensory-seeking behavior often associated with autism. Stim toys are tools or toys that can be used to release extra energy and meet sensory needs. The function of stim toys varies depending on the sensory interests and sensory profile of the user.

Today, we’ll walk through a list of the 25 best stim toys for autism and other neurodivergent people.

stim toy for autism pink binder clip on white background

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What is a Stim Toy?

Stim toys are called by several different names. Whether you refer to them as:

  • Fidget toys,
  • Sensory toys,
  • Sensory tools,
  • or Gadgets,

It doesn’t matter what you call them. There are a variety of different names for these toys. Ultimately, which one is best for one autistic person will likely be different from the next one.

Aren’t They All Fidgets?

Stimming behaviors are common in ADHD and autistic people, but they’re not the only ones who stim. The truth is that we all have sensory issues and stim throughout our daily lives.

The term fidget has become pretty mainstream because fidgeting releases extra energy in a non-intrusive way. And this makes them popular choices ideal for classrooms.

They’re excellent tools to manage ADHD symptoms. Additionally, they help the brain tune out extraneous sensory information for better focus. And this can improve educational outcomes.

25 Stim Toys for Autism and ADHD

Fortunately, there is no shortage of stim toys, sensory toys, and tools for autism, ADHD, or anyone who needs support. This list includes some favorite stim toys of autistic children and autistic adults. Additionally, these stim toys can serve those with ADHD or other sensory needs.

So, if you’re ready to go shopping, let’s dive into the list of popular stim toys and tools.

1. Magnetic Ring Fidget Spinners

The magnets in these fidget rings provide a smooth-flowing rotation experience. This allows students and anyone trying to fidget without distracting others, to easily fidget continuously. Additionally, they help strengthen fine motor skills and they’re very inconspicuous.

2. Magnetic Fidget Pens

HKDGYHON Toy Pen, Decompression Magnetic Metal…
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  • Warning: Not suitable for children under 12 years. Please use under adult supervision.

Magnetic Fidget Pens are the perfect fidget for working in a school or an office. I recommend this for an older autistic child or an adult. The small magnetic parts, if swallowed, could cause injury.

3. Nail Polish

stim toy autism multiple colors of nail polish stacked and leaking one on top of the other

Peeling and picking at nail polish is a stim that can be hard to hide. But, throw on some clear nail polish and have at it without concerning yourself with appearance. A different way to mimic that picking sensation is to try a set of sensory stickers.

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4. Hair Bands

No need to spend a ton of money to stim to your heart’s content. Even regular rubber bands and hair bands from the grocery store can be awesome fidgets.

Some autistic teens in my world recommend fidgeting with tiny hair bands worn as rings. (Just make sure they’re not too tight.)

5. Squishy Toys

Squishy toys are often popular choices. This set of squishy toys is perfect for your autistic or neurodivergent family. Fidget and get proprioceptive input easily with this affordable sensory tool.

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6. Shapeshifting Fidget Cube

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This shapeshifting fidget cube puzzle is the perfect fidget toy that serves a variety of purposes.

Many autistic children struggle with dyspraxia, which impacts motor skill coordination. This makes a puzzle cube a great tool to strengthen any user’s motor skills.

Additionally, there are a ton of different ways to configure this puzzle for hours of fun. When done, just reconfigure the puzzle back to its original shape and start over the next time.

7. Bubble Pop Sensory Toys

Do you enjoy popping bubble wrap from shipping boxes? If so, these colorful bubble pop toys are a perfect stim toy made in bright colors and designs for extra visual input.

  • instant tactile input
  • they’re silent
  • and they can be reused over and over again.

In the end, bubble pops are a fun toy that serves many purposes.

8. Autistic Adult Bubble Pop Keyboard

Check out this adult bubble pop laptop keyboard stim tool. This is the perfect fidget to ease anxiety at work.

Stim and fidget for hours using a bubble pop stim toy. Smaller versions attached to key rings are perfect and portable for on-the-go stimming needs.

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  • 🎁Unique keyboard Design: This pop fidget is a great sensory keyboard. Multiple color and shape…
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9. Real Bubble Wrap for Sensory Seekers

A pair of hands popping bubble wrap.

Better yet, sensory-seeking kids and adults will love the instant tactile and auditory input of real bubble wrap. Collect it from shipping boxes, or buy it in bulk from Amazon.

  • Collect bubble wrap from shipping boxes
  • Ask your friends and neighbors to hold on to it for you or
  • Buy bubble wrap in bulk from Amazon

Then add it to your autistic loved one’s self-regulation toolbox.

10. Textured Sensory Strings

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Fidget Toys and Textured Sensory Toys by BUNMO -…
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Many autistic and neurodivergent people enjoy sensory stimulation from many different textures. These textured sensory strings could be the perfect stim toy for your autistic loved ones.

11. Sensory Noodles

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These sensory noodles are perfect squishy stim toy goodness. They’re perfect for kids and adults seeking calming proprioceptive input.

stim toys autism close-up of little girl wearing bright pink shirt as she chews her nails

12. Spiky Sensory Rings

These spiky sensory rings are an inexpensive stim toy that provides tactile input for fidgeting. Further, the textures aid in easing anxiety and helping with focus.

The rings can be squished providing calming proprioceptive sensory input.

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Other Sensory Stim Toys for Autism & More

There are many stim toys available to meet other types of sensory needs. The following sensory tools address :

  • Oral tactile input
  • Auditory needs
  • Olfactory or smell
  • Vestibular
  • Proprioceptive

Let’s dive into the second half of this list.

13. Chewable Pencil Toppers

Chewable pencil toppers are an excellent way to meet the proprioceptive needs of someone seeking oral sensory input.

Rather than chewing on pencil erasers, try these chewable pencil toppers from Fun and Function.

14. Gnaw Straws

I love Fun and Function’s 3-pack of gnaw straws. A couple of my kids were intense oral sensory seekers when younger.

I threw away so many chewed-up t-shirts throughout the years. Where were Gnaw Straws then?! Check them out if your children could use a new chewing stim option.

15. Chewing Gum

young girl blowing a yellow bubble with her gum while grasping her yellow skateboard behind her back

Anyone who’s been with me for a while knows that I’m all about chewing gum.

Gum is the perfect stim tool to provide oral tactile and proprioceptive input that helps with emotional regulation. My son has been an oral sensory seeker since birth and we wouldn’t survive our homeschool days without gum. And lots of it.

(We’ve got chewing gum on Amazon Subscribe and Save because it’s an essential sensory tool.)

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16. Essential Oils for Autistic Stimming

Yes. Essential oils can be a wonderful self-stimulatory tool to support olfactory sensory needs.

If you’re thinking of buying essential oils for an autistic child or another person with unique olfactory needs, don’t. Instead, engage them in the discussion and let them decide what smells appeal to them.

17. Stimming with Swinging

stim toy autism grey hammock swing hanging from ceiling of teen bedroom with pink and white curtains in the background
Hammock swing in my teen’s room.

We’ve got lots of vestibular seekers in my house which means we’re big on sensory swings. Swinging is a great way to increase arousal levels (attention) in those who struggle to get moving. (Think inattentive ADHD).

It also provides vestibular input which increases alertness levels. If you’re limited on space, try a hammock swing like this one we recently installed in my teen daughter’s room.

Y- Stop Hammock Chair Hanging Rope Swing Chair,…
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18. Sensory Sacks for Stimming

On the other hand, your child may need lots of deep pressure (proprioception) to calm their brain and body.

Consider stim toys that provide proprioceptive input. One option is a sensory sack like the one we have in our home. It’s portable and can be a great way to help your autistic child calm when dysregulated.

19. Koosh Balls

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Koosh balls are vintage stim toys at their finest! Stim happily while meeting your tactile input needs. There’s something about these balls of stringy goodness that you can’t put down.

20. Pin Art

stim toy for autism black and green pin art in lightening bolt shape

Pin Art toys are some of the best stim toys ever. They provide calming visual, tactile, and auditory input. We just bought two more for the kids for Christmas.

21. Lava Lamp

Lava Lamp 14.5 inch Northern Lights Lamp,Plastic,…
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There’s a reason why lava lamps are still a thing. Lava lamps provide calming visual input that can help anyone with emotional regulation.

The Northern Lights Lava lamp is a great option that mimics the visual stimulation of the Northern Lights.

22. Volcano Lava Lamp

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This volcano lava lamp is a bit different from the earlier lava lamps from back in the day. It’s rectangular and it moves a bit faster than a traditional lamp.

23. Stim Toy for Hair Twirling

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Many autistics and non-autistics stim to release tension by twirling their hair. This can often lead to lots of tangles. Plus, many autistic girls struggle with the motor skills required to brush their hair well.

Some stim toys that may help with that issue include Funko Pop Trolls with fuzzy hair. Other options include Barbies or dolls with long hair.

24. Hair Mannequin

You don’t have to go to cosmetology school to practice doing hair. Prop up a hair mannequin, turn on some relaxing tunes, and stim by twisting this head of hair.

For different textures and styles, check out these cool options.

Turn on a “learn to braid” tutorial and learn a new skill while working on fine motor skills.

25. Binder Clips

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  • Package Including 60 pcs colorful binder paper clips: 1.3 inch 10 pcs, 1 inch 15 pcs, 0.75 inch 35…
  • Widely Used: Can be used for food clips, clothes, office documents, very suitable for use in…

Binder clips can be fantastic fidgets. Specificallly, binder clips can be helpful for those who stim by skin picking. If skin picking is a problem, try flipping small binder clips attached to a stack of paper. This is a great option if you work in an office environment and it’s a simple stocking stuffer.

stim toy for autism bright blue koosh ball on white and pink background

Sensory Processing Disorder

If you’ve worked with an occupational therapist, you may have heard the term sensory integration dysfunction.

Based on the work of the late Dr. Jean Ayers, sensory integration describes how the brain processes and responds to various sensory inputs.  

Sensory Integration Dysfunction is commonly referred to as sensory processing disorder (SPD), and sensory processing dysfunction.

A Note About Sensory Rooms

These days many parents are creating sensory rooms filled with stim toys for their autistic children. This is wonderful and can radically support your neurodivergent child.

However, you don’t have to dedicate an entire room to stim toys. A sensory space can be in a cozy corner or closet space.

In the end, if you’re thinking about creating a sensory space, consider it from your child’s sensory perspective. Observe your child’s stimming behaviors and then learn about their specific sensory needs.

Should I Stop Stimming in My Child?

In a nutshell, NO. Unless your child is engaging in a self-injurious stim behavior, please respect their need to stim.

The fact that you’re here searching for stim toys is a great step in supporting your child. Seek out the support of a PRIVATE neurodiversity-affirming Occupational Therapist for more support.

Recap: Stim Toys for Autism and ADHD

In the end, one doesn’t need a specific diagnosis to use stim toys. As discussed throughout, we all stim at times for a variety of reasons.

  • Stress reduction
  • Increase focus and attention
  • Emotionally regulate
  • Support sensory needs

As such, the selection of a stim toy will be based on the needs of the individual. So, when you go stim toy shopping, keep specific sensory considerations in mind.

  1. Sensory purpose you’re trying to meet
  2. Developmental skills you may want to address
  3. Desires and interests of the user

I hope this list of stim toys for autism, ADHD, and other fidgeting needs has been helpful. So, Friend, did I forget one of your favorite stim toys?

caucasian woman wearing black v-neck long-sleeved shirt sitting crossed legged with a black and white havanese dog in her lap

About the Author:

Lindsay is a trauma-informed educator with a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Her mission is to support moms to equip neurodivergent kids (ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Anxiety) to thrive as exactly who they’ve been created to be. Wait until you hear the story that led to it all…

Homeschooling the Dysregulated Child: Self-Regulation, sensory systems in your home and homeschool!

self-regulation in homeschool animated angry kids

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