5 Toys Your Special Needs Child Will Love
When you think of special needs toys and trinkets, you may think of specially designed equipment or devices that cost you a fortune. While those high-end gadgets are certainly helpful, there is no reason why parents can’t use regular toys and trinkets to help their special needs child flourish.
The best toys for special needs children require low levels of focused attention and physical coordination. To support your child’s sensory challenges, their toys should be engaging and fun.
Simple and classic card games such as Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid, or Connect Four are perfect for children needing to boost their social interaction and strategic thinking. These quick and easy games are great for children with short attention span and help them engage in conversation more easily.
Legos can be a simple, versatile toy for young children or can help challenge a growing child. Your child can start by sorting them by color or lining them up, and then advance to building cars, houses, roads, and more. LEGO building toys offer a simple, repeatable task that helps develop motor skills and hand strength. The act of building structures out of nothing helps enhance children’s visual and analytical skills.
Researchers have found that LEGO’s are a particularly successful toy for autism therapy. They help autistic children build an interest they can share with their typical peers. Read more on LEGO Therapy.
Children with certain special needs often have spastic, erratic movements, so playing with bigger toys rather than smaller is more practical. Let your child’s imagination run with these LEGO “DAPLO” building blocks.
Children with special needs, especially those with autism, are usually always drawn to water. Whether it’s a splashing in a kiddy pool, slide-n-sliding, or jumping over a sprinkler, special needs children thrive with fun, interactive water toys. If parents want to join in on the fun, go for the water squirters!
Although playing in water is good, swimming in water is extremely dangerous. Accidental drowning is a leading cause of death for special needs children. Enrolling your child in swimming lessons and teaching them about water safety is of the utmost importance.
A puzzle is the perfect pastime if your child prefers less physical and more relaxed activities. Puzzles help children practice pattern recognition, sequencing, and fine motor skills. As your child grows, he or she can graduate to more difficult puzzles. Just remember that puzzles are for fun, not work!
Check out this collection of special needs puzzles and pattern activities that can all be found on Amazon.
Art & Crafts
It doesn’t matter what your child’s level of artistic ability and skill is– drawing, coloring, and painting are usually always a big hit. Grab some coloring books or a blank canvas and let their creativity flow. If your child loves to use his or her imagination, let them paint and personalize their own pretend pet turtle from Walmart!
TIP: When picking out drawing tools for special needs children, begin with easy-mark drawing tools. With crayons, children with fine motor delays may have a difficult time getting the color on the paper. A marker easily marks on paper; therefore reducing stress and minimizing frustration.
Unscented play-dough is also great therapeutic product for special needs children. It helps build hand strength, encourages artistic expression, and even has a calming effect on children. If your child is sensitive to the play-dough texture, try sealing the play-dough in a plastic bag to reduce stress and increase tolerance of the texture.
By Chelsie Mackey
If you are caring for a child with special needs and need some help figuring out the next steps, a Cariloop Healthcare Coach would love to walk you and your family through whatever you may be dealing with. Become a member or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.
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