Do you know that playing is learning? Nothing can be truer than that for children with special needs.
Toys are generally associated with fun, no rules or boundaries attached. But toys that enhance creativity and learning can build up the cognitive and communication skills of children with special needs.
To build up cognitive skills you don’t need expensive or electronic toys.
Simple toys that allow your child to have fun and engage with you are better than overpriced toys.
Let’s find out more about how to choose the right toys for a child with special needs.
Select The Right Toys For Children With Special Needs:
Special needs toys are designed in such a way that they help children to develop new skills, overcome disabilities, and have fun. Those toys are designed in a special way so that it can be used to tackle disabilities of various types.
For example, children with autism can develop their physical and cognitive abilities with sensory toys.
There are toys that are designed for a visually impaired child which focuses on other sensations like touch, smell, and auditory sensation.
How to Select the Right Toys? Buying appropriate toys for your child can be a tough decision.
There are factors like safety, age appropriateness, and development potentials to be considered. To help find the right toy for your child we have gathered some pointers.
1. Select Toys That Match Your Child’s Interest.
Selecting toys that align with your child’s interests is important.
You wouldn’t want to present them with toys that they might hate or worse, cause them to burst into impromptu meltdowns and tantrums.
If children find the toys interesting they would be more likely to grow a deeper connection with their interest.
2. Select Toys That Provide an Option for Open Ended Use.
Open ended toys are designed to promote creativity. Single purpose toys might turn out boring after a few days.
With open ended toys, the opportunities are endless and children will get the fun of exploring them. Play Dough, magnetic building tiles, art supplies are an excellent form of open ended toys.
3. Select Disability Adaptive Toys.
Disability adaptive toys allow children to experience something that wouldn’t be possible for them normally.
Where disability might limit the world for them, adaptive toys expand the opportunities for them.
Switch adapted toys can be extremely helpful for children with disabilities.
4. Select Toys That Encourages Inclusion.
Children on the autism spectrum often tend to prefer seclusion over inclusion.
Special needs toys that require multiple player engagement can help to develop their social communication.
This interaction can also be developed through computer games.
For example, if your children like Minecraft, you can develop a special bond with them by participating in their virtual world.
5. Select Age Appropriate Toys.
Age is an important factor to consider while buying toys.
You don’t want to buy a toy that your child will grow out of within a few months.
You can consider buying crib gyms, teething toys, soft dolls, activity quilts for kids 0 to 6 months old.
As they grow older you can consider backyard gyms, ball, art supplies non toxic, puzzles, and so on.
6. Avoid Any Potential Risk of Hazard.
While selecting, look for toys that are safe to handle.
Because sometimes they might pose threats like choking.
Playing with toys that have smaller parts like marble, balls might cause a choking accident.
Avoid buying toys for your children that are too small that can be swallowed.
Toys that have sharp edges or uncomfortable or scratchy material should also be avoided.
7. Select Toys That Have Sensory Appeal.
Children love sensory appealing, think touch, sound, light, movement toys. These toys are designed to enhance sensory processing in children.
Playdough, paint, slime can encourage tactile sensation. Musical CDs, instruments can provide auditory sensations.
8. Select Toys That Encourage Motor Skills.
Toys should enhance motor skills, the use of hands and finger, hand eye coordination.
Playing with LEGOs, blocks, tiles, puzzles can be a fine exercise in developing motor skills.
The quick development of motor skills can be helpful for learning to write and draw.
These will help your child to adapt to different school projects.
9. Select Toys That Encourage Movement.
It is important to encourage the physical movement.
Physical movement should be especially encouraged of your child from crawling to 2 years of age.
Toys that have a digital screen can hinder this purpose of movement.
Try to avoid these types of toys for kids who are just learning to move.
Rather select toys like balls, indoor gyms that promote movement.
10. There are Toys for Different Types of Development.
Toys can trigger different types of development in children. They can be modified to fulfill a special purpose.
Toys for Muscle Development. Playground equipment, indoor or outdoor gym, magnetic blocks, balls, writing tools, and art supplies have great potential for muscle development. Whatever toy you choose, it should be safe for your children.
Toys for Intellectual Development. Different board games, puzzles, card games, sorting, and organizing games can develop critical thinking skills. These can also provide an opportunity for all to enjoy the activity as a family, and help create a close bonding.
Toys for Developing Creativity. Open ended toys like play dough, finger paint, slime, LEGOs can be helpful for enhancing creativity. Playing dress up or other make believe play can also trigger their imagination. These toys offer new opportunities for them to play and they can enjoy those for a long time.
Toys for Sensory Development. Water Tables, bubbles, musical instruments, sand, and water toys can enhance sensory development. Toys that emit light and sound while switched on, can be appealing to children of a very young age.
11. Make Selecting Toys Easy.
Make selecting the right toys for your child becomes a lot easier if you know your child’s preference.
If you are still hesitant about it, you can always consult with your child’s therapist to get some ideas.
12. Find What Your Kid Wants.
Toys don’t have to be expensive to be fun and effective.
All that matters is it to be enjoyable for your children.
Be patient with your children if they prefer some toy over what you have bought for them.
If possible, take part in their play and try to take their lead.