A network to share best practices for children with special needs
Play is the "work" of children. Are you the parent or grandparent of a child with special needs? Do you wonder if the gift you're giving will become that child's favorite? Luckily, many of the toys you grew up with are classic skill-builders and provide timeless Fun!
The Lekotech Center has 10 Tips for Selecting Toys for Children With Special Needs. These general tips are great thought provokers for selecting what is a match for the child with special needs. I especially appreciate #10 Potential For Interaction. It's fabulous to have toys that are universally engaging for the child, and the child's siblings and peers. After all, aren't positive relationships really the best gift of all?
I am an occupational therapist so I can't stop talking about outdoor activities that promote sensation and movement.
Indoor Movement Favorites: I love the Rody and Rody Max... oops! So do the kids! Body Sox; Bungee Jumper, SensaTrack; Jumperoo; indoor trampoline; tunnels and Success Balls are also some kids' favorites.
Toys That Build Hand Skills: Start with the classics, like TinkerToys; Legos; Duplos; building blocks; puzzles; play doughs; stringing beads; MagnaSketch; MagnaDoodle; Jacob's Ladder; nuts and bolts; construction sets and Lincoln Logs. These are just some things that taught you so much when you were a kid!
Classic Games: It's weird to think that I'm calling a deck of cards a classic game. Think of the coordination that's required in handling cards, let alone shuffling them. You don't quite get the same skills on electronic solitaire. Right? Don't forget Rush Hour; Let's Go Fishing; Tiddly Winks; marbles; Hungry Hippo, I Spy books, games and puzzles; Ants In The Pants; Perfection; Barrel of Monkeys; Don't Spill the Beans; Memory; Twister; Operation: UNO and Tumbling Towers.
Try not to be distracted by all of the electronic and flashy digital options that are begging for your attention these days. Instead, get your kids involved in open-ended play activities. Also, here's a tip that didn't make it to the 10 Tips list:
Don't buy toys that beep/buzz/chirp unless you ask the parents first! (Apparently, I'm not the only "sensory avoider" on the planet.)
Enjoy the holidays. Remember, your relationship with your child is more important than any toy in the world. Peace and JOY to all.