It’s obvious- kids love toys. However, finding the right toys for kids with special needs can be a bit of a challenge. Often, friends and family members have no idea what to buy or what the child would enjoy playing with. Thankfully, more and more retailers online and around your city are making it easier for special needs kids to have toys that are exciting for them to play with.
Things To Consider
There are many things that you need to think about when buying a toy for a child with special needs- including considering exactly what those special needs are. Different children have different needs, whether it is their developmental skills, sensory needs, or motor skills. There are several things that a toy needs to be:
- Adaptable to different forms of play
- Adjustable to the child’s needs
- A form of self-expression
- Encouraging of interaction with the toy and/or others
- Safe and durable
- Matched to the child’s abilities
- Able to be activated by the child
- Appealing to multiple senses
- Popular with other kids
- Usable in different play environments in which the child participates
- Easily stored when not in use
Toys To Buy
If you need some ideas of things to buy for a special needs child that you know, here are some suggestions that work for a variety of children:
- Jump ‘n Slide Bouncer – The inflatable bouncer is great for gross motor skills and muscle development.
- Signing Time Videos – Time Videos can help encourage communication for nonverbal children.
- See Me Sensory Balls – These Sensory Balls are great for eye/hand coordination and tactile stimulation.
- Tabletop Easel – Encourage art and a variety of other activities. Be sure to use a kid's art smock to keep their clothes safe.
- Rocking Chair – Helpful for children who need motion to unwind.
- Talking Interactive Toys – There have been numerous Interactive Toys, from Barney to Elmo to animals. Most need just a light pressure tol make noises, talk, and sing.
- Ball Pits – Ball pits can be a great way to get tactile stimulation and allow kids to burn energy. Plus they are fun enough that the larger ones can be used with multiple kids even if they do not have special needs.
- Pop-up Tent – Tents can offer an enclosed safe zone for kids who need a place to get away from the rest of the world. You can fill them with favorite toys and blankets and some kids will sleep there.
- Music – Music CDs, stereos, and toys that play music can be very soothing for special needs kids. Find out what styles of music the child prefers and look for toys that feature that style.
- Swing – Swinging is another activity that is helpful for many kids.There are many designed for outdoor swinging, and just as many that can be mounted indoors. They’re a great way to burn off energy and unwind.
If you know what to look for, shopping for a child with special needs can be great fun! And even better, by looking for a toy that fits in with the needs of that child, you know you are choosing something that they will play with and enjoy.