With all of the research I have done on toys that are beneficial for my toddler that will help get him on the right track and keep him there, I have narrowed my list to these top 10 personal favorites of mine! Obviously, these are not toys JUST for children with special needs! These are wonderful learning toys for all children!
1. Ball Balance and Differentiation Activity This little toy can be used SO many ways! The balls are different sizes and colors, and come away from the stands. They can be used to balance as a focus on hand eye coordination, sorting colors, sorting sizes, and more! Check out Mama May I for a TON of other learning toys geared to spike your child’s learning abilities!
2. Hippity Hop The hippity hop seems like such a simple toy without much value but, once we started therapy, I quickly realized we needed one of these! Colin is always at a high level of energy and getting him down from that can be hard, exhausting, and not so fun for him. High energy is his “normal” and even going to bed at night most times we have to really wind him down. He typically tosses and turns, and talks, and sings for a good hour before finally falling asleep. Our OT put it to us in a way I could really understand easily, and that is that the hippity hop gets him in control of his energy and helps him mantain control while working on his sensory! He has a very hard time with bouncing on objects, and very much dislikes swings. The hippity hop ball allows him to build up his sensory strength and release his energy at the same time. His feet stay on the ground while hopping but, there is still swaying from side to side and a slight risk of loss of control and falling. This toy is awesome, super cheap, and can be found pretty much anywhere!
3. Counting Bears Set and Sorting Cards This is one of our favorites! DO you remember these? The bears are all different colors and some sets come with small, medium, and large sizes. Get the bucket of bears, and the cards for matching skills and teaching colors!
4. Language Cards Language cards are always a must with learning but, I have yet to find a good set. I will be ordering these for Colin myself, as well as a few other sets from this shop!
5. Story Time Starter Box From the words of the creator…”The Story Box is a simple, little box filled with words to get your ‘story-brain’ fired up! When it’s time for a story, just open the box! Have your child reach into The Story Box and pull out one word, two words…or more. You and your child can incorporate the words chosen into your story. Arrange the words however you like, use them in any way…and embellish as the story goes on. The word-combinations are endless and tons of fun!”
6. Magic Beans Transfer Activity *Based on the Waldorf and Montessori methods. This activity focuses greatly on fine motor skills. Kind of a little twist to the whole “tongs/tweezers” activity for sorting. This is another must have on our Christmas shopping list!
7. Wooden Lacing Toy Sneaker Perfect for your little one to develop their fine motor skills, hand to eye interaction, and patience. Our Colin has a hard time being patience but, activities like this that need a lot of focus really help him on a whole new level.
8. Cup Toss Game This game is an awesome, one piece, hand eye coordination game, With a personalized touch for such a low price, this can travel with you, be thrown in a purse, or stuffed in a stocking!
9. Wooden Lacing Fruits Toy FINE MOTOR, FINE MOTOR , FINE MOTOR. Fine motor skills involve the small muscles of the body that enable functions like writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing, something a lot of special needs, and other children have a hard time with! This toy can also be used without the lace as just fruit fun to play in the kitchen while dinner is being prepped, or to have a pretend picnic with friends! Even if you’re just looking for fruits for play, the lace will always keep these fruits collected together and never lost!
10. Color Bowl Sorting Activity Said perfectly by the owner of this shop: “This set affords a child multiple things to learn: recognizing numbers, counting watermelon slices and matching the amount to a digit, matching color families of watermelons to the corresponding colored bowl, sorting melons into color families, sorting melons in order of value within a color family (value is the lightness or darkness of a color), and there are other games a child could make up by themselves or with your help for learning opportunities. Get your noggins working!”
I hope this helps while your making your lists for this year! We love these toys and know there are so many more to children’s learning! If you have some other awesome learning toys in mind, please leave them in the comments section below for other readers to see! Feel free to leave a link or post a photo of your little one at play!