Special needs children have specific needs and requirements when it comes to play time. They need developmentally appropriate toys and games that could help them grow and practice everyday functions through playing. With the correct toys, even playtime could make a huge impact on the development of your child!
We have compiled the specific toys that we think are amazing for kids with different special needs, see if you agree with us.
For children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who find it more difficult to focus and complete their schoolwork, a kaleidoscope that they can flip, rotate, shift and arrange to create beautiful patterns is a great toy. A kaleidoscope is a perfect blend of art and geometry. The patterns created in kaleidoscopes are bold and vibrantly coloured, it ignites creativity and fosters exploration. Children with ADHD who engage with a kaleidoscope experience de-escalation of their behaviour and better focus.
Balancing Monkeys is great for children with Asperger syndrome or autism, who have significant difficulties in physical balance, social interaction and nonverbal communication. It is a game where children have to try to hang monkeys on branches, but a balance needs to be established and maintained on both sides. This toy also helps develop a child’s mathematical skills by getting them to calculate the correct distance required in order to keep the monkeys balanced. It develops hand-eye coordination, fine motor muscle control (through the child pinching and grasping) and logic. A great way to play it is to sing the ‘Five Little Monkeys Swinging in the Tree’ song, which helps with the child’s understanding of numbers and speech as well. A great plus is that the toy can be played in the bath as well!
For children with cerebral palsy, which gives them physical difficulties in body movement and coordination, magnetic building blocks are highly attractive and fun to play with. The vibrant, glossy blocks click and stick with magnets inside. They are captivating to little hands and could teach about shapes and colours, hone hand-eye coordination and inspire creativity. The toy is fantastic for working on different hand grasps as the child builds the blocks.
Insect toys are always fascinating, but especially for children with Down Syndrome, who have physical growth delays and mild to moderate intellectual disability. Antworks is a highly sophisticated ant farm and an excellent educational tool at home too! The toy is complete with nutrients to promote healthy growth in the ant colony. Children can enjoy the view as ants live, work and tunnel in the system of intricate tunnels. The toy is small enough so that a child can handle it, and sturdy enough so that there is no worry of leakage. Charting the number of tunnels and journaling about the life of ants working together gives Down Syndrome children a chance to write creatively about how the ants’ days are like. You can give a child a magnifying glass so that it is easier for them to explore the colony.
Children with traumatic brain injury could have long-term physical damage and dysfunction. Sensory balls are a great selection for them, because they enhance sensory stimulation by softly rolling on a child’s back or feet; enhance gross motor skills by improving eye/hand coordination and grasping; enhance socialization by creating interactions with others as the child rolls the balls to playmates; and enhance visual and perceptual skills with their vivid colours. All in all, the child’s neurodevelopment will be improved and worked on with the toy. Just make sure the balls you buy are made out of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Phtalate-free, Latex-free and Bisphenol A (BPA)-free plastic.
Have you tried playing any of these toys with your child? We would love to know! Leave us a COMMENT below and share this article with your friends and family!