Some autistic people find comfort, relief or enjoyment from crumpling things. Here are ideas on how you can satisfy your need to crumple objects: stim on!

Be it crumpling, pressing into, tight gripping, kneading movements, squeezing or squishing — the following are superb ideas for those on the Spectrum who like to stim this way.

1     Crinkly Fabric Sensory Pillow

A sensory pillow made from crinkly or rippled fabric provides a comfortable and of course a crumple-friendly surface.

Just squeeze or compress away for some serious stimming!

These pillows often come in different shapes and sizes, allowing users to hug, squeeze or crumple them for sensory satisfaction.

Skilled seamstresses will sometimes offer the service of creating a custom pillow replete with all sorts of crumply, crinkly or ripple textures.

2     Tangles – Fuzzy

The fuzzy or furry version of the tangle twist fidget offers the same experiences as does a smoother tangle device. 

Comprised of interconnected pieces, this versatile toy can be twisted, bent and, most importantly, crumpled and compressed into a compact tight shape.

It provides a tactile and visually stimulating experience, making it an ideal choice for individuals seeking a variety of sensory inputs.

However, the thicker nature will produce a varied sensory experience with crumpling and compressing. Enjoy!

3    Tangles – Smooth

For those who prefer a smoother surface, the more standard tangle fidget will do.

4     Sensory Fidget Paper

This stimming toy is specifically designed for those who enjoy the sensation of crumpling paper.

It consists of sheets of textured, crinkly material that mimic the sound and feel of crumpling paper.

The compact size makes it easy to carry, allowing individuals to engage in their preferred stimming activity wherever they go.

5     Pop Tubes

These are flexible, expandable tubes that make a satisfying popping sound when stretched and compressed.

While not specifically designed for crumpling, the tactile feedback and auditory stimulation they provide can be highly appealing to Autistics who enjoy crumpling sensations.

6     Squishy Balls

Squishy balls are soft, pliable toys that can be easily manipulated and squeezed.

Some varieties have a textured surface that enhances the crumpling sensation.

These stress balls are not only enjoyable to crumple but also provide a soothing tactile experience for people on the Spectrum.

7    Therapy Putty

Therapy putty is a malleable, stretchable substance that comes in various resistance levels — suitable for those with slight grips and those with super strong grips — and everything in between.

It can be manipulated and crumpled to provide both tactile and proprioceptive input.

Therapy putty (or any kind of putty, for that matter; they come in a variety of names) is an excellent tool for individuals who need to build hand strength and coordination while engaging in a preferred stimming activity.

8     Fidget Paper Cubes

Fidget paper cubes are small cubes covered in textured paper that produces a crinkly sound when squeezed or manipulated.

Each side of the cube may feature a different texture, providing a multi-sensory experience for Autistics for whom crumpling or compressing is a favored stimming outlet.

9     Crumple Zone Sensory Mat

This product offers a larger crumpling surface, allowing individuals to lie down and experience the sensation of crumpled fabric.

The mat is filled with various textures, providing a rich sensory experience for those on the Autism Spectrum.

10     Scrunchie Hair Fastener

You may have a blast simply crumpling and scrunching a hair scrunchie. They come in a variety of sizes and especially textures and visuals, such as velvet and sparkly.

Lorra Garrick has been covering medical and fitness topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. In 2022 she received a diagnosis of Level 1 Autism Spectrum Disorder.