Best Toys for an Autistic 5 year Old

In this article we will discuss about the special needs of autistic children and some of the best toys for an autistic 5 year old child.

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a developmental disability that is often detected in early childhood and affects an individual’s abilities to learn and interact with her surroundings.

While autism cannot be cured and autistic children require a lot of patience from parents and teachers, diligently working with autistic individuals significantly improves their learning capabilities.

Toys for an Autistic 5 year Old

The department within the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) which deals with autism is the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

As per the ADDM, roughly 1 in every 54 children in the US suffer from ASD and boys are 4 times as likely as girls to be diagnosed with autism. Although autism is incurable as of now, treatment and therapy exist for the condition.

The objective of such treatment is to maximize your child’s learning abilities, reduce symptoms of ASD, and assisting with learning and social interactions. Autistic children have specialized and customized needs in all spheres of life, including playing methods and toys.

Best Toys for an Autistic 5 year Old

What is Autism and What Causes it?

Autism or ASD is a condition that is mostly diagnosed in early life and causes delayed development and sub-optimal learning abilities. Research has indicated that autism is linked to genetics in a majority of cases which lead to abnormalities in the brain structure.

Also, children born to older parents are at higher risk of being inflicted with autism.

What are the First Signs of Autism?

As a parent, you should continuously monitor your child’s learning progress and assess her development. It is not advisable to be on a wait-and-watch mode. You should be able to trust your instincts and call for your physician’s advice.

Some of the initial symptoms which may manifest themselves are the following:

  • Lack of response when being called out
  • Inability to follow the path of movement of an object or follow you finger when you point at something
  • Not being able to make eye contact and not being able to mirror your emotions like smiling back
  • Not being able to point to things and mimic gestures in general
  • Not noticing or caring if loved ones are hurt
  • General apathy towards social interactions, playing alone and not being able to interact with other children

While the above are some of the more common symptoms, the list is by no means exhaustive. If you sense delayed development in your child, you should immediately seek professional help or get your child assessed.

How Autism can Affect the Way Your Child Plays?

Playing as a 5 year old requires communication, motor and cognitive skills that children with ASD may have difficulty exhibiting.

The condition can limit your child’s ability to explore the environment and generally be reserved in wanting to learn new techniques; for example, she may want to solve a puzzle the same way every time or repeatedly spin the toy car tires and watch them spin.

It may also be difficult for them to copy actions, respond to other children and take turns in a game, which are essential elements of social behaviour and may limit early social life.

Group games and group activities are some areas which they may be found lacking.

What to look for in Toys for an Autistic 5 year Old?

Toys in autistic 5 year olds should broadly try to encourage building the following skills.

  • Shape recognition and spatial reasoning: Shape and pattern recognition is one of the earliest skills that children develop, and jigsaw puzzles and shape fitting puzzles are excellent teachers of the same.
  • Concentration: At 5, autistic children should be able to concentrate for longer periods of time, as well as develop search and observation skills
  • Goal setting: Goal setting, the conclusion of a game and how to be able to reach that conclusion in a playfully competitive way are important skills to learn at this age
  • Sense of achievement: The logical conclusion of a game or an activity should generate a sense of achievement in your child
  • Fine motor skills: An extremely important skill that autistic children at this age should start learning is the coordination of smaller muscles and synchronization of hands and finger movements with eyes
  • Hand eye coordination: Similar to fine motor skills, children should learn hand eye movement coordination
  • Engineering: Finally, through building of a tower or fitting together a toy, children slowly learn about engineering at an early age. Autistic 5 year olds should also get exposure to learning engineering skills at this stage.

Below we have reviewed soe of the best toys that can help a 5 year old autistic child to learn a combination of some of the skills mentioned above.

#1 Lego City Great Vehicles

Lego City Great Vehicles

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This 90 piece lego building blocks is a good candidate to make your autistic child develop engineering, fine motor skills and social interactions if playing in a group. The toy comes with a detailed guide to build the figures and the toy is available in several different versions with different completed figures and vehicles.

Lego is a globally renowned brand and the products are made of premium quality plastic which is BPA free and safe for children. Building blocks also help your child to recognize shapes by looking at the pictures in the instruction book and then identifying those lego parts.

It is one of the best toys to expose your autistic child to miniatures of common engineering structures, vehicles, buildings and common social ecosystems. It also invokes creativity in your child and helps to broaden her imagination.

One advantage of lego and duplo sets are that multiple sets are compatible with each other and you can use different sets to mix and match and help expand your child’s thinking capabilities.


  • Made of high-quality plastic, safe for children
  • Very durable and can withstand rough use
  • Develops fine motor skills, engineering and social skills; develops imagination
  • Easy to build as per attached instructions


  • The lego box also warns against choking hazard and the toy should be played with under adult supervision
LEGO City Great Vehicles...
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LEGO City Great Vehicles...
  • Build a tough garbage truck set with a 2-minifigure cab, tilting container and Starter Brick base to quickly get your child building and playing in a world of everyday heroes, a toy dumpster and garbage elements for endless waste collection role-play!
  • Includes 2 LEGO City waste collector minifigures
  • The simple guide to build and play will help your youngster understand the purpose of the building steps, and grow their confidence for the perfect start to LEGO brick building
  • Garbage truck measures over 3” (9cm) high, 5” (14cm) long and 2” (7cm) wide Dumpster measures over 1” (4cm) high, 2” (6cm) wide and 1” (3cm) deep
  • 90 pieces – Easy to build construction toy for boys and girls aged 4+ and for fans of truck toys and kids of all ages

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2 Aitey Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

Aitey Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles

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The 9 piece educational wooden jigsaw puzzles are a good buy for developing shape recognition, spatial reasoning and goal setting. It also helps builds concentration and helps children to learn to complete small activities starting with these.

It comes with 6 similar jigsaw puzzles of different wild animals. Since the puzzles are made of wood, they are durable, and can withstand rough handling from children and can be re-used multiple times to complete the puzzle, without worrying about frayed ends like cardboard jigsaw puzzles.

The puzzles are easy to solve and in case your autistic child is prone to getting frustrated easily, this will help to keep your child engaged by providing easily achievable goals and improve her temperament as well.

However, since the pieces are wooden and chunky, they have a lot of friction between the sides and may not fit together as easily as a cardboard jigsaw puzzle and your child may require a bit of guidance while playing with this set.

After some use, however, the pieces start fitting together more easily. The vibrant colors on the pieces are a great mood uplifter for your child.

The video below shows the ten benefits of solving jigsaw puzzle for people with special needs.

Autism Jigsaw Puzzles - Benefits for people with Special Needs


  • Apart from shape recognition and goal setting, the toy helps you take first steps into spatial reasoning and problem solving as well
  • More durable than cardboard jigsaw puzzle sets
  • Brightly colored to attract interest of specially abled children


  • After first use, may not engage children for long as each puzzle may be a 5 minute activity
Aitey Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles...
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Aitey Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles...
  • ❤ Adorable Animal Puzzle Set - 6 pack wooden jigsaw puzzles for toddlers, elephant, panda, giraffe, squirrel, tiger and zebra animals are toddler's favorite kids puzzle. Bright color and perfect size (9 piece each) for toddler, easy to carry and as a travel games.
  • ❤ Great Educational Toys - These wooden puzzles for age 3-5 kids’ brain boosting while playing! Not only provides engaged play-time for kids, but also helps practice problem-solving and spatial reasoning as they work to complete the puzzle. Let your child to put down the iPad, iPhone and keep away from video games.
  • ❤ Easy To Complete Puzzle for Kids - Our toddlers puzzle bottom plate paint the color illustrations, kids can use as a reference. 9 piece each puzzle for 3 4 5 boys and girls are easy to complete, When our children complete the puzzle, they will have a sense of accomplishment.
  • ❤ Great Gift Idea - The puzzles for toddlers are great gift choices for a birthday, Christmas, Easter and other holidays. 9 pieces wooden puzzles are suitable for kids ages 3 4 5 boys and girls. Enjoy family time while everybody interacting together and build a colorful childhood for your children.
  • ❤ 100% Satisfaction - If anything goes wrong with Aitey Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles, or you decide it is just not for you, We will always be there with you. Add the cart now and give your kids a surprise.

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3 NextX Kid’s Easel

NextX Kid’s Easel

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The adjustable double-sided easel – chalkboard and magnetic dry erase board are good buys for helping children understand letters and take their first steps towards understanding languages and arts.

This is one of the most utility toys for your child and there is no limit on what and how much she can learn by leveraging the erasable writing boards. The product is something that you can use for a long time, beginning at 2 – 3 years, extending up to 10 years.

However, both boards will have to be kept at the same height and since there is no locking system on the boards (they rotate 360 degrees), they cannot be used simultaneously by two children.

The activity board is easy to fold and set up and can be carried around easily for taking along for picnics and trips. It comes fully equipped with markers, chalk, magnetic eraser and dusters and is a great tool to recreate classroom learning style at home.

Interactive at-board learning style is found to be very effective and the product will go a long way to counter your child’s learning disabilities.


  • Encourages creativity and there is no limit of what you can learn using the easel and boards
  • Lets your child learn about concentration and fine motor skills
  • Easy to assemble and set up
  • Sufficient storage for all accessories
  • Height adjustable and can grow along with your child


  • On the expensive side
  • May topple over if accidentally leaned upon by children
NextX Kids Easel for Two,...
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NextX Kids Easel for Two,...
  • Double-Sided Kids Easel ---This kid’s Art Easel includes two surfaces, a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic dry erase board on the other. The two surfaces to keep two or multiple kids busy. Your little artist will love creating new masterpieces on this Magnetic Standing Art Easel.
  • Adjustable Height --- The art easel for kids has an adjustable height in the range of 32.3” to 42.5”. Adjustable legs allow you to change the height to suit different age needs. The double-sided easel is just the right height for growing artists. Recommend for 3 years and up toddlers boys girls.
  • Sufficient Storage Space --- This kids' standing easel has a big tray to hold all the important accessories and keep paint, magnet stickers, Markers, chalk and erasers handy. Your kids can easily access art supplies through its middle storage area.
  • High-Quality Educational Activities --- This popular multifunctional two-sided kids art easel will inspire your child‘s imaginative side and gives them the freedom to create. Your budding artist spends hours drawing, painting, sketching, and doodling. It is an excellent educational item for kids.
  • Art Activities Anywhere --- This toddler art easel can be set up quickly and folded flat for easy storage. It's light enough to carry outside for messy painting projects. Perfect for kids‘ art creation. Made of Top Quality Materials to company your kid for decades. Super Easy to Assemble.

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4 Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle

Rainforest Search & Find Puzzle

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The 64 piece puzzle helps children to build concentration, search and observation skills, shape recognition, goal setting and a sense of achievement. This is a jigsaw puzzle, which when completed, forms more than 40 animals and insects that live in the rainforests.

This product can be a great knowledge builder for your child, particularly if you want to invest in the other puzzle variations, which teach about wild animals in other habitats.

The vibrant colors and sharp print do a great job of engaging your child and comes with a guide which helps you and your child to recognize each of the animals formed in the puzzle.

It offers an exciting adventure for your child, being able to identify wild animals on the fully formed jigsaw board. The variety in animals ensure that the puzzle holds your child’s attention for repeat plays.

The toy is a good candidate to pique interest in and imbibe a love for the wildlife in early life and encourages self-learning in your children.


  • Available in 5 varieties to enrich your children’s learning process
  • Encourages individual as well as group play
  • Colorful to engage and attract small children
  • Good value for money


  • Jigsaw pieces may become frail on using the toy multiple times
Rainforest Search & Find...
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Rainforest Search & Find...
  • 64-PIECE PUZZLE: The 64-piece rainforest search and find puzzle is just the right level of challenge for children ages 4 and up. The finished puzzle measures 23” x 15.5” so doesn’t require much space to put together.
  • COLORFUL ARTWORK: Kids will love the colorful artwork of the diverse animals, plants, and insects that live in the rainforest. The storage box shows the completed puzzle artwork and is an ideal place to keep pieces safe and free from damage.
  • SEARCH AND FIND: Putting the rainforest puzzle together is only half the fun! When it’s completed, kids can test their observation skills to find the more than 40 animals, insects, and plants native to the rainforest hidden in the puzzle image.
  • AWARD-WINNING PUZZLE: The Mudpuppy rainforest search and find puzzle is an Oppenheim Gold Best Toy Award winner. Makes a great gift!
  • SCREEN-FREE FUN: For over 25 years, Mudpuppy has created quality non-digital puzzles, games, and toys for children and families that facilitate creative play and imaginative thinking. All Mudpuppy products adhere to CPSIA, ASTM, and CE Safety Regulations.

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5 Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wood Block Set

Melissa and Doug 100 Piece Wood Block Set

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The 100 piece wooden block set from the prominent toy brand Melissa & Doug, can act as a great teacher for fine motor skills, shape recognition, concentration and engineering.

The shapes can be rearranged and put on top of other to make structures resembling towers, houses, cars and even whole towns. It encourages creative thinking and helps to ignite the power of imagination in your child.

They are vibrantly colored to hold a child’s attention for a reasonable period of time. The toy is a good candidate to encourage self-play and self-learning and there is no end to structures and shapes that your child can build with the 100 piece set.

You should encourage her to try out new patterns and structures. The pieces come in a durable box with a handle which makes it easy to carry along with you on trips. The wooden pieces are large and durable and can withstand rough use.

Some users have however reported that the blocks have broken in half and have left sharp edges that risk injury in children. For children who have the habit of putting things in their mouth, it is advisable to supervise your child while she is playing with it.


  • Durable blocks which is last for many years
  • Brightly colored to attract and engage young children
  • Encourages your children to be creative and make structures outside the ones that are in the guidebook
  • Engages children for longer use and great toy for playing together in a group


  • Some blocks may chip on rough handling and may cause small injuries if not handled carefully
Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood...
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Melissa & Doug 100-Piece Wood...
  • Hours of educational fun: The Melissa & Doug wooden building blocks set includes 100 durable wooden blocks in 4 different colors and 9 shapes; it’s a classic educational toy that provides hours of hands on, screen free play and learning
  • Stimulates creativity: Our set is designed for kids entertainment, but also introduces early math concepts, and helps kids develop strong motor skills and even resilience as they experiment with building, knocking blocks over, and building again
  • Durable and safe construction: Though our colorful building blocks are made of solid wood, these blocks are light in weight, which makes them safe for kids; the blocks have rounded edges and a smooth painted finish that won't splinter with play
  • Great gift for ages 3 to 8: The Melissa & Doug Wooden Building Blocks Set makes a great gift for kids ages 3 to 8 years; Add the Melissa & Doug Wooden Latches Board to round out the hands on play experience
  • The gold standard in childhood play: for more than 30 years, Melissa & Doug have created beautifully designed imagination- and creativity-sparking products that NBC news called “the gold standard in early childhood play.”

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#6 Magblock Magnetic Building Blocks

Magblock Magnetic Building Blocks

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These magnetic building blocks are great for learning basic engineering, concentration, goal setting and fine motor skills. The toy includes 103 magnetic pieces which can be combined in different ways to make 16 patterns and shapes.

The product is a good candidate to boost your child’s creative thinking and imagination power. It will take a bit of time for your child to get bored with this toy as there are innumerable outcomes and structures that can be built with these pieces.

It is difficult to beat Lego when it comes to building blocks and connectors, but the Magblock magnetic building blocks comes close to that. We would even go on to say that they are better than Legos in the versatility department, given the flexibility they offer in terms of building different structures.

Also, the Magblock pieces are flat and don’t hurt children when they accidentally step on them, unlike Legos.

However, since the magnet are not that strong, it is often the case that if you try and lift one of the structures that you have built, some of the lesser supported pieces from the bottom may fall off which may upset your young one.


  • Made of non-toxic plastic which is durable
  • Includes detailed guidebook for children to see and follow instructions and learn
  • Hones engineering, goal setting and fine motor skills
  • Excellent engager for children for longer period of time


  • The magnets may lose force after some period of use
Magblock Magnetic Building...
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Magblock Magnetic Building...
  • 【Keep Kids Away from the Screen】If you're like me, concerned kids that too much time is spent in front of a screen, whether television, computer, tablet, phone or the like, this product will hold their attention while building coordination skills and critical thinking.So many different things kids can do with these.
  • 【Great STEM Learning Tool for Children】Magnetic blocks set can help children develop in science, technology, engineering, mathematics. It is a very good educational toy for children,as well as a great STEM toy to play at a family! You will enjoy these magnetic blocks as an adult too.
  • 【High Quality and Safe】Made of Non-Toxic and durable ABS plastic. Round edge design without sharpness, no worry about hurting your kid's little hands. The magnets are strong enough to withstand tall castle. The different shapes allow maximum creativity, and appeal to a wide range of age groups.
  • 【103 Pieces Magnetic Tiles】Including 24*Triangle, 45*Square, 6*Isosceles Triangle, 2*Hexagon, 2*Wheel, 24*Castle card, 1*Guidebook.
  • 【Great Gift】Please believe me, this is the best gift for children. They will love it. The possibilities are endless. The good thing about this toy is it can be for girls and boys of all ages. Even teens can have fun with them.

Last update 2021-04-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#7 Pop Up Kids Ball Play Pit

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The ball pit consists of 200 vibrantly colored plastic balls (BPA free) with a tent and basket for engaging a group of children together.

This item is good for building social interaction skills, developing hand eye movements and also improving sharing skills as also developing a sense of achievement. The pit quickly folds in to become a bag for carrying the balls and can be taken along easily to birthday parties.

You should, however, be careful while expanding the pit as it can unfold with a bounce and hurt you or children around you. You can also buy extra balls and combine with this product, if you anticipate a larger group of children playing with it.

Though the pit is well-sized and can accommodate more than one 5 year old, it may come loose at the seams on rough use.

You should do a thorough check for any tear on the mesh when it arrives, as any existing tear will rapidly develop into a large one and reduce the longevity of the product.


  • Can be easily folded, packed and carried for outdoor use
  • Can accommodate multiple playmates: Encourages learning social skills
  • Engages children for a long time and easy to clean up after use
  • Easy to set up and no assembly required


  • Though the balls are of soft plastic, there is some risk of hurting the eyes, if inadvertently thrown at a child
  • Ideal only for group play and does not encourage self-engagement

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Finally, it is essential for you as parent to spend as much time with your child as possible, playing with the toys that you end up buying for her. Do not forget to always reward your child in small ways by applauding the smallest of the steps that she takes in the right direction.

While the toys will teach her some basic but important physical and cognitive skills, playing with you will also teach her the social skills of sharing, interacting and cooperating.

The proverb that your parents are your first teachers hold more significance in case of children with special needs or ASD.

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.