If you are still looking for the best types of toys for children with special needs, then this post will be helpful for you.
Toys play a major role in a child’s development. There are toys that can help develop motor skills, aid in learning shapes and colors, improve hand-eye coordination, and more. Toys for children with special needs act as therapy instruments. These toys target different areas that need to be developed.
5 Types of Toys for Children with Special Needs
Here are different types of toys to help you figure out which fits your child’s needs:
1. Puzzles – putting up the pieces of the puzzle requires picking up and holding the pieces. If yours are 3D puzzles, chances are they have knobs or other components to secure the pieces together. This type of toy helps your child develop his motor skills and learn to strategize to form either an image or object.
There are several types of puzzles. One of which is the non-connecting puzzle. This type has different pieces that do not fit with each other. Example, a 4-piece puzzle can have a circle, square, triangle, or rectangle.
Jigsaw puzzles are for older children who have outgrown non-connecting puzzles. They have pieces that fit together.
Last is the sliding puzzle where a puzzle is made of a picture (which is cut into squares of equal sizes) and an empty area. The squares are placed in a flat case wherein the child just slides the square to form an image.
2. Fidgets – this is very useful for children with ADHD. This kind of toy will keep their hands busy and their brain occupied. Apart from that, it helps the child learn self-control, and develop focus while reducing stress levels.
Examples include play dough, textured stress balls, clackers, wiggle cushions, squish balls where something happens when you squeeze it (such as eye popping out), and more.
3. Cause and Effect – is very valuable for children with autism as this toy type targets hand-eye coordination, and repetitive action. This will also make your child understand the cause and effect concept.
For instance, if the child pulls the trigger, water will squirt from the water gun. Other examples are pop-up toys, light-up toys, musical toys (where a sound is made when a button is pressed), and shape or block sorter.
4. Sensory – children with SPD or sensory processing disorder are not very reactive to sensations. At times, they have the need to feel strong touch, pressure, and texture sensations. This type of toy will help them focus and cool down.
A child may use a toy wrongly just to achieve the sensation he wants so be wary of this. This type of toy includes sand tables, light-up toys, massagers, finger paints, trampolines, play foams, stretchy strings, sensory balls, and more.
5. Oral Motor Stimulator – this type is especially made for children with oral motor problems –children who grind their teeth, or chew on their pencils and hair. This is very efficient in making a child practice biting and chewing.
This is also used to calm a restless child. Examples are chewy tubes and devices such as pencil toppers, whistles, chewable necklaces or bracelets, bubble sets, soft fingertip brushes, and textured spoons.
Toys for Children with Special Needs: Tips for Buying
- Toys appropriate for kids of the same age may be too distressing for children with special needs. Make sure that you pick a toy that is both simple and fun for your child because playing does not have to be taxing.
- Think about how the toy works. Can your child play with it on his or her own? Is it safe? Does it have many functions? What benefits can your child get from playing with the toy? Think about all these before buying a toy.
- Most importantly, talk to your child. You can directly ask him what he wants or just observe what he is fond of doing. Find out what makes him smile and I am sure that you will eventually find a toy that suits him.
I hope that the mentioned examples of toys for children with special needs will help you find the right toy for your kid. Doing so will help your child improve on his difficulties and learn new skill. Good luck from your Parenting Domain family!