30 Best Light Up Sensory Toys for Teens & Adults with Autism

functional life skills special education teachers teacher experience transition May 27, 2024
Light Up Toys for Autism Teens and Adults

I was fortunate enough to teach in a newly renovated building with a Snozelon room. The room featured a light-up permanent peg board, a vibrating upholstered chair, fiber optic tentacles hanging from the ceiling, and a large bubble tube. Sensory rooms made specifically for students with special needs, including autism spectrum disorders, offer a unique sensory input experience, with lights being a main component.  

I also had a cabinet full of other light-up toys, including a fiber optic lamp, glowing spinners, and glow-in-the-dark snap bracelets. I even remember buying gloves with light-up fingertips and mini fiber optic wands that attached to one's fingertips for variety's sake.  As a teacher who used lights to calm the room or simply change the environment, I would have put to good use an even larger collection of light-up toys.    

While my experience was specific to teens and young adults, lights appeal to children of all ages.  Having an array of light-up toys on sensory tables for autistic children can offer the unique visual stimulation they may seek.  

 

 

Need for Lights

Lights are one of the visual sensory toys categories.  Lights are sensory tools that can have both a calming or energizing effect.  Lowering lights is one of the best ways to calm the mood, and adding lights is a great way to attract or energize. 

If you're shopping for light-up toys for the first time, consider the following when evaluating the lighting features of versatile sensory equipment. 

 

Colors 

The color options of a light-up toy will impact the sensory experience. Light-up toys can have lights with bright, vibrant colors or a single low and soft color. Some toys have the option to choose between a variety of colors, and others will have color-changing features, where a rainbow of colors may move across or through the toy.  Also, lights can be a cool white shade, which tends to be more harsh for the eyes, or a warm yellow tone, which mimics daylight.  

 

Speed

With lights that move, there may be a variety of speeds.  The lights may move quickly or slowly and be flashing more naturally, morphing from one color to the next.  By contrast, a light-up toy may not have any moving light but rather a steady light with a simple turn on and off.   When finding a light-up toy match, identify the individual's lighting speed preferences and sensory sensitivities.  

Also, for fast-moving or quick flashing lights, consult a doctor to ensure the speed will not trigger a medical episode.  

 

Activation

Many toys are activated with the touch of a button, however there are other ways to trigger light.  Some toys will light up when a sensor detects motion, whether it be movement from gross motor skills or fine motor skills motion.  Some light-up toys are activated by touch, sound, and even water.    

Keep in mind that some toys use batteries to light up, and others have an internal battery that may be rechargeable. Those with a rechargeable or replaceable battery pack will last longer and may cost more.  

 

Environment

Identify where the teen or adult would prefer to engage with light-up toys and what the environment needs are.  For sensory integration in a public space, the light-up toy may need to have little to no sound so as not to disrupt others. For nighttime or outdoor sensory spaces, glow-in-the-dark light-up toys will thrive.  A standard dry location, like a bedroom, living room, or classroom, is likely most appropriate for light-up wearables, lamps, art, etc.  

For toys in a sensory gym, there may be more space for light up toys that are designed for movement.  

 

Age Appropriate

The whole goal of the list below is to replace what are often the best sellers of light-up toys with light-up options that meet the age and size of teens and adults, because the best sellers tend to be designed for babies, younger, and older children.  For example, the Glo Pals light-up cube is great for a bath, but teens and adults primarily take showers, so a light-up shower head may be more usable day-to-day.  

 

 

 

30 Light Up Toys

 

Light Up Color Changing Shower Head

 

Mini Sensory Lights Disco Ball Bracelet

 

Wall Size LED Light Peg Board (High Price)

 

LED Light Bar for Motion Wall Art

 

Infinite Dodecahedron Light Art

 

 

Pocket Size Keychain Light

 

 

Touch Activated Cordless Dimmable Table Prism Lamp

 

 

Giant Light Up Inflatable Bowling Set

 

 

Handheld Prism Lamp

 

 

LED Light Wand Sensory Play Toy 

 

 

Collapsible LED Hoop

 

 

Voice Activated Light Up Bracelet

 

Wearable Gross Motor LED Wings

 

Giant Toggle Switch Lamp

 

Light up Jenga

 

Touch and Sound Activated Plasma Ball

 

Wearable Women's Tulle Light Up Skirt

 

Glasses with Light Up Rim 

 

Glow Worm LED Body Sized Scarf

 

Cross Body Light Up Vest with Slow Motion Flash

 

Desk Top Light Up Tetris Lamp

 

Gross Motor Hovering Soccer Ball

 

Cloud Lamp with Music Sync

 

Color Changing Light Bulb

 

Hexagon Touch Wall Lights

 

Color Changing Essential Oils Diffuser Night Light

 

Color Changing Pillow Cuddle Toy

 

Light Up Memo Board or Tablet

 

Light Up Saucer Swing (Holds up to 660 lbs)

 

Fiber Optic Swivel Wand

 

 

More Sensory Toys

If you are a special education teacher, parent, or occupational therapist looking for even more sensory toy ideas, check out the blog post links to different lists below.  

 

For the best toys for fidgeting, the 101 Fidget Toys for Teens and Adults blog post includes an extensive list.  

 

For sensory autism toys, check out the 101 Sensory Toys for Teens and Adults blog post for sensory toys categorized by the five senses, specifically auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, and oral.  

 

If you are looking for chewable toys, check out the 25 Chew Toys for Teens and Adults blog post.  

 

If the light up toys get energy levels high and there needs to be some calm reassurance, check out the 50 Best Calming Sensory Toys for Teens and Adults blog post.  

 

You may also notice that most toys listed in these blog posts can be purchased from Amazon and Etsy.  Not only do these sites offer the best delivery times, but also tend to have better pricing than websites that market supplies specifically for individuals with autism.  If you can think outside the box, you'll probably find more sensory solutions options and a better price! 

 


 

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