While scouring websites looking for lists of recommended toys, it’s important to remember the way you play with your children and how you teach them to play can benefit them further than buying the “perfect” toy. You can take a simple toy, such as a ball, and turn it into a learning activity without them realizing it. Ex. “Look at this ball! It’s round and bounces. I’m going to roll it to you. Can you roll it back to me?” Within those short phrases you’ve now engaged your child in conversation, initiated following directions, prompted attention to tasks and expanded language input. Keep an eye out for toy guides that are specific for children who have physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities this holiday season from various stores.
The following websites are some of our favorite sources.
– Toys “R” Us, Inc. Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids: www.toysrus.com
– AblePlay toy rating system for children of all abilities from National Lekotek Center: www.ableplay.org/
– Fat Brain Toys Special Needs Resource Center: www.fatbraintoys.com/special_needs/
Below are just a few ideas we came up with while searching these sites:
Playhouse/Tent Sometimes children enjoy to be in their own space away from all other distractions. A place they can call their own can make for a quiet place to relax, a place to build their imagination and a fun hangout to share with others when desired. Play spaces like this can build social skills and language abilities when interacting with others. Have a child who needs sensory input? Fill the space with your child’s favorite sensory items like :idget toys, soft blankets and other manipulatives. www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Coloring Alternatives Does your child need assistance holding coloring utensils? Purchasing adaptive tools like these can make coloring fun again for your child. Using these utensils can help your child feel independent and in control of their creativity. parentingspecialneeds.org/
Hedbanz Looking for a game for the family that can teach your child incognito?
This question game of “What amI?”is played by asking “yes” or “no” questions to figure out if the picture on your head is an animal, food or manmade object. The first player to guess what’s on their head wins! This game helps to expand language and descriptions, builds inferential thinking and initiates social exchanges. http://www.walmart.com/
Kinetic Sand Know a child that doesn’t prefer certain textures like playdoh or regular sand? This magnetic sand might be the answer for a fun, mess-free alternative. This sand never dies out and sticks together without sticking to you. Place the sand in a container with a lid to make for easy setup and cleanup. Press down the sand into a :lat surface and use a :inger to practice writing letters and numbers. Or simply use the sand as a stress relief and calming activity. www.fatbraintoys.com
By Kelly Dugan