April works full time in higher education balancing her time between her special needs son, handsome husband, elderly mother, and new baby coming in May 2014. She has a background in theatre, film, and television but somehow stumbled into the educational field. She loves spending time with her family, dreaming of the beach and organizing her house.

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Toys for Special Needs Children

It’s that time of year when parents are running around looking for the perfect toy for their child.  Parents of special needs children are also trying to determine if the toy they choose will help their child learn and grow.  With all of the toys out there, it is hard to figure out what your child will really use.  Here are some of my favorite toys for special needs children:

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head –

This toy is great for getting kids interested in being creative.  If you have a couple different sets, your child can really get creative with the different looks.  My son was first exposed to this toy with a therapist and he really seemed to connect with the toy.  It’s also a great way for them to learn to role play social situations.

Stackers –

Whether it’s cups, blocks or rings, kids really like to stack things.  Stacking helps them to understand that there is some kind of order in the world and they tend to be creative in how they stack.  Although used for young kids, older kids still like to stack blocks or make things out of legos(another form of stacking.)

Playdoh and accessories –

Playdoh is a wonderful tool for kids who have sensory issues.  It’s all about texture and the accessories aid in various lifeskills.  The scissors in the playdoh kits help kids learn to use their fine motorskills and strengthen their hands.  This is something that needs to be used while supervised because it can often become a snack!

Shape Sorters –

Whether you use the Tupperware balls or the basic sorters in the stores, these are helpful to special needs children because it begins them on the path to thinking creatively and intuitively.  They have to figure out what shape goes where and if you work with them, you can teach them the names of the shapes.

Puzzles –

Puzzles are great because it makes your child stop and think about where every piece fits.  Just like the shape sorters, this is a more advanced version and soon they will be experts at mastering a particular puzzle over and over.

Costumes or Misc. Clothes –

Whether you buy a special set of costumes or collect various ones from garage sales, it is nice to have a collection of clothing that kids can try on and pretend they are different people.  Even old clothing or shoes of your own can fill this need.  Kids like trying on mommy and daddy’s clothing.

Ride On Toys –

Whether it’s a horse, car or even a tricycle, special needs children are drawn to toys they can climb on.  If there are textures on the toy, that’s even better.  The horse was my son’s first ride on toy and he loved to pet the mane of the horse.  He’s 3 and still loves it although his legs are getting too long for it.

Lace Toys –

Beads, cards, wooden shoes,and more are great for kids to develop their fine motor skills.  My son spent hours playing with his beads.

There are so many toys available to kids now that it’s impossible to pick just one.  I know I have to restrain myself from buying every toy that I see potential learning.  Hopefully this short list will give you some ideas about what you can get this year for your child or another special needs child in your life.  Enjoy the search!




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