9 favourite toys for sensory seekers

When you mention that your child is a chewer and a world-class fidgeter (in polite company, a ‘sensory seeker’), there are a lot of people queuing up to advise you how to handle that.

So this post isn’t that. It’s just a list of the things we use around here to help the girls (mainly Charlotte, age 7) with their sensory issues, with links to places to get hold of them if you’d like to try them yourself.

(1) Some parents and OTs talk about the Chewbuddy as though it is magic. It’s a silicone chew that comes with a lanyard so it can be worn around the neck. We tried it, but Charlotte doesn’t like the texture of it all that much. I don’t blame her. It’s basically like a dog toy, very rubbery and not satisfying to get your chops around. It squeaks on your teeth which might disturb people who are bothered by that kind of thing. You can do a fun trick with it though: tuck the legs inside the head and wait for it to uncurl and jump in the air. It’s strangely compelling.

(2) The Cubebot is a fidget toy which we thought might help the girls to concentrate on whatever it was they were supposed to be doing in class. Um, no. He is very fun to play with, and I quite like having him on my desk when I’m writing, but I think he was thrown in the classroom and was generally not a welcome addition at school.

(3) The Tangle toy is available in a variety of colours and textures and is another great fidget. It’s probably not recommended for chewing because it breaks into sections and pieces could be swallowed. I suspect Charlotte sucks on it more than chewing it – I haven’t yet found any bite marks! It’s very fun and tactile, and another one we’ve sent in to school with her. Again, I like playing with it too if it finds its way onto my desk.

(4) When Charlotte had her sensory assessment, the occupational therapist suggested a body sock would help to provide the proprioceptic feedback that Charlotte needs. You can buy them online, but we made ours (thanks, Mum) from Lycra fabric and elastic. It’s probably a bit bigger than is ideal, but she loves it. We call it the calming-down bag. She gets in and we call out the names of objects and she makes their shape – banana, tree, football, star, etc. We encourage her to hold the large shapes which require her to stretch against the resistance of the bag for a count of ten.


(There is a child in there somewhere.)

(5) Not a sensory-specific toy, but one that has a a texture that Charlotte enjoys using. We used to call them Sticklebricks when I was a child, but these Bristle Blocks, along with Lego, encourage fine motor skills and visual planning.


(6) Another chew toy โ€“ this bracelet is a slightly more discreet wearable option. The disadvantages are that they can flick saliva at people sitting nearby (ask me how I know), and that they are very easily dropped on the floor and then put straight back in the mouth (nice).

(7) A solution we use most days at the moment is this combination of a safety lanyard and hard plastic chew. I should make very clear that these chews are intended to be sewn inside fabric toys, not to be used on their own as we do. However, we examine them frequently (every day or two) and replace them as soon as they are starting to reach a point where small bits of plastic might come off and be ingested. Use this with caution and take note of the safety warnings.

(8) In an attempt to make the cuffs of her school uniform less attractive as a chewing option, we gave Charlotte a box of cotton hankies for Christmas. They have her initial embroidered with flowers on one corner, which she loves, and they’re much cheaper to replace than school jumpers, can travel with her to school or live under her pillow at night, be sprayed with my perfume if required, and generally provide a soft chewing option.

(9) This teething chew has been a long-lasting favourite. I found ours in Sainsbury’s but you can also get them on Amazon. It provides several different textures and is one of Charlotte’s favourites (she likes the squishy green section best).

Do you use any of the same toys, or do you have more recommendations? I’d love to hear your comments.


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11 Comments

  1. 10 March 2017 / 1:59 pm

    My kids have never really needed any sensory related items, but I have worked at places that had similar toys for employees. I know a lot of people really liked them during meetings. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 10 March 2017 / 2:16 pm

    Some really handy ideas and suggestions here, thanks for sharing #thatfridaylinky

  3. 11 March 2017 / 7:11 am

    We have a chewer. We had a chew necklace that looked like a dog tag and a round one but at 10 he doesn’t want to wear these anymore so I am looking for something to save his jumper. Thank you for sharing ๐ŸŒŸ #thelistlinky

  4. diynige
    11 March 2017 / 10:29 pm

    Some great choices there really intersting Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  5. CraftiKitty
    12 March 2017 / 8:43 am

    This is really helpful. Our nine year old chews everything. It is costing us a fortune replacing clothes and bedding. The handkerchief idea is brilliant. Than you!

    • 12 March 2017 / 1:52 pm

      So glad it’s helpful. Thanks for commenting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 4 April 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Some great ideas here! My daughter seems to chew anything other than the things designed to be chewed! Duplo bricks are a big favourite ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Family Makes
    6 April 2017 / 11:25 pm

    I like the idea of stickle bricks (yes, I’m old-school!), I’ve not thought of these before. I have fidgeter and a chewer, but as they get older it is harder to provide something which would be socially acceptable. Thanks for the tips. #TheListLinky

  8. Cath
    8 May 2017 / 8:16 pm

    My 6 year old loves chewing on my feeding necklaces that I got when breastfeeding my son (she is adopted, he is miracle/clichรฉ stuff, depending on your point of view). Anyway, they are completely safe and also come in a variety of pretty styles. I got mine from amber pumpkin but there are various suppliers
    https://www.amberpumpkin.com/baby-beads-breastfeeding-necklaces.html

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