Looking for gift ideas for your child that will increase their ability to play by themselves? While they may need time and help learning how to play with the items below, these have had a wide variety of success with children with ASD in the past.
- Building blocks: Building blocks are a fun, easy to learn activity that your child can play for long periods of time.
- Marble run: This activity requires a bit more skill than building blocks but has built in entertainment that your child can engage in for hours.
- Books: This may be a harder skill to teach but most children enjoy looking at the colors and pictures in books. You may need to start with a book that has textures, sounds and music and then slowly fade to books that are more picture and word based.
- Play kitchen: Play kitchens are great because they help the child engage in imaginary play with familiar items that they’ve seen before. Whether it’s placing items in baskets or grocery carts, cutting food or pretending to cook it, this toy is enjoyable for children and can foster play with siblings as well!
- Train/car tracks: Trains and/or car tracks are similar to marbles where they have built in entertainment and multiple parts which can increase your child’s play skills by learning how to put the tracks together.
- Coloring books/crayons: The nice thing about coloring is that it can be transported to several places and is travelable. Once your child gains interest in this toy, it can be used in a variety of settings and environments.
- Dot paint: This is a step above coloring but is a mess free way for your child to explore painting and initiate arts and craft time.
- Dry erase boards and markers: Again, dry erase boards and markers are a mess free way for your child to explore arts and crafts, but it also helps build fine motor and writing skills that they will use for years to come.
- Puzzles: Puzzles are vital to a child learning how things go together and how to match items to a sample. Start with big inset puzzles and then slowly work towards your child using interlocking puzzles.
- Dress up toys: whether your child enjoys police men, marvel superheroes, or being a doctor, finding ways for your child to dress up and play will help increase their imaginary play and conversational skills.
I hope these toys bring hours of fun to you and your child and that you begin to see self-sustained play skills, imaginary skills and beyond from them!