Hey I'm new to the idea of stim toys 'cos I'm newly diagnosed and I'd like to ask if you have any "starter" ideas for stim toys or ideas for squeezeable stim toys that give a bit of resistance when you squish them. Things not smelling or making noise is a big plus.
I see we have another stimming convert! Fabulous. Not that we’re trying to take over the world or anything…
Anon, I’ve got several posts that I consider Stim Toy 101, including posts on breaking down toys into categories and posts on the more popular fidget toys. I’ll list those, and then I’ll finish by listing the toys that I think fit your brief.
So. For anyone new to the wide and wonderful world of stim toys, here’s what I hope to be useful reading:
Household Stimmy Items: a list of readily available stimmy objects for folks who don’t have online access to conventional toys or need to be stealth in their stimming.
Subtle On-The-Person Toys: toys that are easily portable and less like to draw attention, also great for folks who need to be stealth.
Common Tactile Toys: a list of the most common tactile stim toys and how they’re used. This is a great post for “starter” toys, anon!
Categories of Stim Toys: things to keep in mind when building a varied stim kit.
My Stim Kit: an example of the kind of kit you might build.
Varying Your Stimming: why you should be a little mindful about your stimming, because you don’t want to end up with chronic pain or injury.
DIY Stim Toy Master Posts, One and Two: lists of links to all sorts of tutorials for DIY toys. The degree of difficulty varies here: some tutorials and DIYs are easy, others require a bit of crafting experience.
Autistic Sellers and Crafters Post: a list of autistic stim toy store owners and stim toy crafters.
Now, we’ll move into the rec portion of the answer. Squishable, with resistance, but silent and scentless. All links go to our tags, because by now there’s several posts telling you where you can find the thing.
Squishies: available in a variety of resistances, very squishable, available many places online. Some of these are slow-rising, which mean they compress tightly and take time to expand; others compress less well. Some, like the mochi squishies, are rubbery and gel-like, but most are made from foam. The better quality squishies generally cost more, sadly; I’ve had good experiences with the SquishyFun brand, and I’ve heard good things about Areedy squishies as well. Unfortunately, many squishies are scented, and while some listings state this, many don’t specify scent, so buying these can be a bit of a risk.
Stress balls: usually made from foam, available in a variety of resistances (firmer than most squishies), silent. Most of these don’t have odours, but I recently bought some that did smell chemically. These are readily available in dollar shops and just about everywhere online.
Fabric or crocheted stress balls: weighted, good for crunching and scrunching, no scent, do make low noise as they contain weighted pellets and, sometimes, crinkle paper. The mesh fabric stress balls I have are quieter than the crocheted ones.
Grape or mesh stress balls: squishy, available in varying resistances, do make a slight slurping sound as the slime inside the ball moves.
Puffer balls and puffer creatures: very soft and squishy, but the majority of them have a chemical-rubber scent that I can’t bear. This said, I own one ball from a dollar shop that has no odour, and the puffer worms I smelt at Sensory Oasis for Kids have no odour, so they do exist. This one, I think, is very much a try to find in person item because of the risk of bad smells, but they are available in many dollar and toy shops.
Makeup blending sponges: a teardrop or hourglass shape sponge, generally medium resistance, great for squishing. No scent or sound, just a lovely fine-spongy texture. I’ve seen them from most dollar and department stores starting at $3-$4 AUD, but the brand name sponges are absolutely not needed for stimming.
(Many sponges in general are good for squishing, and if you like rough textures, check out this ask for a few more rough-textured sponges that are squishable.)
Disney mini Tsum Tsum plush: no scent, very squishable, lots of great textures, a small amount of sound if you press the small pocket of weighted pellets in the plush’s belly (above the strip of faux suede used as the toy’s base).
Thinking Putty and TheraPutty: one of the firmest items here, if you like a lot of resistance when squishing, but Thinking Putty does tend to crack and snap when moulded. It’s not constant, so it’s like a crack here and a snap there, but know that it does. TheraPutty makes no noise at all. No scent for either, unlike most putties and doughs.
I hope that gives you somewhere to start, anon. If you have any more questions, please ask away!