Top Toys and Tools for Sensory Processing Disorder

[Scroll to the bottom of the page to see recommended items. Click on an image and it will take you to the item on Amazon. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Is your child always moving, jumping on the furniture, spinning in circles, and wiggling in his seat? Or how about covering her ears because the room is too loud and begging to have the tags cut out of her shirts?

Your child is most likely not “hyper,” “picky,” or “difficult.” He may have sensory challenges, or even Sensory Processing Disorder.


She may be a sensory seeker or sensory avoider. It seems to me that most kids show signs of both – he hates loud noises, but can’t get enough of jumping on the trampoline. She won’t wear socks because they “hurt her feet,” but she has to chew gum while doing homework in order to stay calm and still.

One of my children has significant sensory challenges we’ve spent years sorting through. For a long time, we wrongly attributed behaviors to attachment or behavior problems until a therapist who was working with one of our other children said, “Does that happen often?” as she observed him interact with me.

She asked questions about a variety of other behaviors I had never linked together, and then suggested an evaluation by a pediatric occupational therapist. That was an important turning point for us.

We had a new way of looking at our child that relieved some of our concerns. There were explanations for behaviors we hadn’t been able to figure out.

We also had practical tools and new approaches to help him in simple ways that made life easier for all of us.

These toys and tools are some of the best that worked (and continue to work) for us or for our friends. Click on the photos for details or to order through Amazon.  

You’ll find some of my favorite books on Sensory Processing Disorder on my Resources page.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.]

If you have other toys, tools, or books to recommend, please leave comments and I’ll try to add them to this post. Thanks!

You may also like:

My Learning Curve: Is This a  Big Problem?

We Interrupt This Vacation to Remind You…

We Have Weighted Blankets!

encourage one another,



This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Melissa
    October 26, 2016

    Great list! Thank you!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 26, 2016

      I’m so glad you like it! Please share it with other folks who might find it useful. Thanks!

  2. Lizzie
    October 27, 2016

    I was a child with sensory issues – I remember the bizarre feeling of absolute calm I would feel when one of my siblings would ‘sandwich’ me inside a thick pile of cushions and lie down on top of the pile. I had a lovely mother who never understood why I would grow so distressed when I wore certain materials or why I would refuse to eat anything with certain textures, or why I couldn’t follow a conversation if other people were talking in the background. I feel so pleased that sensory issues are more recognised today and that there are these kind of resources available.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 27, 2016

      Lizzie, you describe it so perfectly, thank you! One of my guys loves being squished between sofa cushions or rolled up like a burrito in a blanket. Thanks for the insight.

  3. Pam H.
    October 31, 2016

    My now 16-year-old son, on the autistic spectrum, and has sensory issues. (Currently reading a book called A Different Key, The Story of Autism, by John Donvan and Caren Zucker which I recommend even for those who just want to understand autism better.) My kiddo from the time he was a baby had such acute hearing that he could hear a pin drop on carpet. At night, I would tip-toe so slowly by his bedroom to get to mine, so I wouldn’t make a noise and he would be awake before my sock covered foot hit the carpet. Awake-awake, refreshed and ready to go at midnight. Even now, his sister and I can whisper two rooms away and he can tell us what we were talking about. Movie theaters, stores, church, etc. sent him into a meltdown. But then, he would blare his music or TV and I would be like “Why???” It took me years to figure out, the reason he did it was to block out the other noises his ears picked up. Lights are another sensory issue that cause him discomfort. Couldn’t eat certain foods due to their texture. The list goes on. Thank you so much for bringing this issue out there. I wish I had this information 16 years ago!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      November 1, 2016

      Pam, thank you for sharing about your son. It really is fascinating how this can manifest in such different ways in children.


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