Toys special needs children will love…. recommended by experts

Like normal kids, our children with special needs love to have fun.

Hearing their giggles and laughter uplifts us- parents, caregivers, and even their teachers.

Playing, aside from giving them fun, promotes the enhancement of social skills and development of their imagination and creativity, as well as improvement of their fine and gross motor skills.

More so, learning the basic concepts like colors, shapes and numbers would be benefits from the right toys.


Choosing the best toys special needs children will love and recommended by therapists, should be top in our minds-parents, caregivers, and teachers, when we plan to buy them for our kids.

Toys that promote learning

I recently read a post from a behavior analyst who said that her daily life consists of treating children with autism spectrum disorders and when she gets home, she implements similar practices with her own children. She uses the same toys for the same reasons.

She believes that all kids want to have fun while they are learning.

Thus, parents need to find developmentally appropriate toys for their kids, whether special or not, to create opportunities for learning while playing.

For our special kids though, because they have delayed mental development, we have to choose toys which are recommended below their chronological age.

We have to consider their mental development. For example, a 10-year-old child with Down syndrome with a mental age of 4-5 years, would enjoy playing a toy for a 5-year old, because a toy for a 10-year-old might be too advanced for him. Toys about numbers for a 5-year old would be identification only of the numbers, or simple counting, but toys for a 10-year-old would be involved with addition, subtraction, or easy multiplication and division.

Here are some toys that experts suggest

1.Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Match and Build Soft BLOCKS SET ( click the image to see the price )

 

Block set develops imagination and motor skills

  • These blocks are washable, soft and lightweight, thus ideal for babies, toddlers and older kids with special needs, for easy manipulation and lifting.
  • Kids will learn to identify numbers, animals, and shapes.
  • Skills that they develop include sensory, fine motor, logical, creative, linguistic, communication, and self-esteem.

 

2. PUZZLES ( click the image to see the price )

 

Big puzzles for easy grip

  • Our special kids need big puzzles which are extra thick and with large knobs for easier grip.
  • These puzzles enhance their imagination and creativity.
  • Because of delayed mental development, our special kids need to play with simple puzzles so their minds can solve easy problems of identifying shapes and images.
  • Playing with puzzles also develop their fine motor skills, socialization and hand-eye coordination.

 

3. SPEAK TO ME ( click the image to see the price )

Magic laptop promotes verbal interaction and reading and imagination.

  • For kids with autism, toys that promote interaction like this laptop, that encourages a verbal reply when they push a button, are suitable.
  • Various categories include letters, numbers, farm animals and musical instruments.
  • The games within also enhances imagination, creativity and develops intelligence.

Toys that calm anxiety and improve behavior

Children with emotional and behavioral disorders like ADHD, need to balance fun and calm their anxiety while playing or just sitting down, maybe in a doctor’s office waiting impatiently for his turn.

Usually, they thrive on holding on to something familiar to them like a favorite toy or a calming thing like a pillow.

 

1. SENSORY RING and FIDGET TOY ( Click the image to see the price )

Sensory rings bring relaxation and calmness

  • These soft, flexible rings and rubber spikes reduce stress and anxiety by providing tactile stimulation to calm a racing mind and to bring restless hands busy with something, while doing writing in school or at home.
  • If your kids have short attention span, these bracelets sensory toys bring focus, attention and relaxation, so they are more attentive in school or even at home while doing homework.

 

2. STRETCHY DINO WRAP ( Click here to see the  price )

  • This wrap gets your special child to pretend to be little T-rex roaming around the house.
  • It is perfect for play, pretend, movement, compression and sensory integration.
  • Adults need to supervise the kid to dress up and tuck their hands into the sewn in pockets to wrap themselves snugly inside the stretchy cape.
  • It helps tactile defensive kids and sensory seekers.
  • Attention is sustained for a longer time because the kids enjoy pretend play a lot.

 

3. SENSATIONAL TEXTURED CIRCLE FIDGETS ( Click here to see the price )

  • They have tactile surfaces on each side for fidgeting and sensory exploration.
  • Kids can trace their fingers over the raised circles on one side and feel the fine bristles on the other side.
  • They could also be put on the floor where kids can tickle their feet with the bumps and the bristles.

Toys that Improve Kids’ Fine and Gross Motor Skills

1. GYMNIC HOP BALL ( click the image to see the price )

Improvement of Motor skills plus fun=Gymnic hop balls

  • These hop balls are made of heavy-duty yet soft vinyl latex-free material for long-lasting use.
  • Inflation by a hand or foot pump needs to be done by grown-ups.
  • They are great for exercise indoors and outdoors on smooth surfaces.
  • Our special kids will develop their body coordination, balance, and lymph circulation .
  • They come with a hand grip safety handle.

 

2. MAGNETIC NUMBER MAZE ( click the image to see the price )

Maze develops fine motor skills and number identification

  • Your special child will enjoy and develop fine motor skills as he guides little red balls with a magnetic pole.
  • It develops small muscles in the child’s hand to be able to hold the pencil properly for better writing skills.
  • This is also a learning tool for numbers  and counting.
  • Hand-eye coordination is also developed as the child guides the balls.

 

3. CRASH PAD ( click the image to see the price )

Crash pad lets kids enjoy jumping and develop gross motor skills

  • It is filled with a long lasting foam with heavy duty stitching, thus a  safe place for special kids to calm down and relax by sitting or lying down.
  • Children will enjoy crashing, jumping, exploring or cuddling, thus developing their gross motor skills and balance.
  • Suitable for kids up to 150 pounds

Parents and caregivers must play with their kids

Your presence in your special child’s activities will help him a lot to improve his social and cognitive skills.

Deep trust in you will be developed as well, as you regularly play with your special child.

Likewise, while playing with him, you are able to observe your child up close on how he interacts and how fast he is learning.

Remember, playing is the best form of bonding for you and your kid.

Playtime with a partner needs to be encouraged

There are various benefits if your special child is allowed to play with you and others.

As much as possible, expose your child to a playmate to promote engagement and interaction.

Various studies recently have shown that interactive experiences actually change the physical structure of the brain.

“We now have evidence from neuro-imaging studies (e.g., MRI, PET, and SPECT scans) that new neuro-pathways are created and connections among neurons are enhanced when the brain is stimulated,” explains Dr. Ron Savage, Executive Vice President of the North American Brain Injury Society and expert on neuro-developmental disabilities.

Based on these studies, special needs products and toys are made to improve motor skills, mobility, sensory processing and communication skills.

These specialized items can help children enhance their basic abilities while also soothing their anxiety and improving behavior.

Playtime provides both fun and opportunity for learning

Play therefore, is the best stimulation for children, especially when children are enjoying their toys and games, and parents and caregivers are devoted to helping them learn.

Studies have proven that loving relationships, meaningful toys, and time engaging in play together are the best ways to open avenues for our special kids to grow up and be the best that they can be.

So my dear parents and caregivers, please choose wisely what toys your child with special needs will enjoy and learn from.

It will be remarkable to witness the joy of your child while playing and in turn, his brain is stimulated to develop with added neurons for more wisdom.

 

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How do you choose toys for your special child? Do you observe that your kid learns while having fun? What is his favorite toy?

 

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Published by

Marita

I am a doctor by profession who had several years of clinical practice as a Pediatrician and General Practitioner. At present, I work as a Clinical Research Assistant in a large university. Pangga ta ikaw remembers fondly a loved one who passed away and making her demise more meaningful. Supporting children with special needs in our hometown in the Philippines through Special Education is our main focus and through this website, we also aim at making everyone realize that special kids need our love and support.

18 thoughts on “Toys special needs children will love…. recommended by experts”

  1. I don’t have children so my experience is with others who have special needs children. One friend had a daughter who experienced numerous strokes before the age of one. This was back in the 1980s when there was a lot of unknowns on interacting with her.

    I didn’t live close by but when I visited I played with her. Her parents attitude was ‘why bother’. I don’t know what she retained but she was always glad to see me and stuck to me during my visit.

    Fortunately things have changed. I can honestly say I would love playing with the toys you introduce. I wouldn’t mind some sensory rings myself. It might stop my unconscious nibbling at junk food!

    Currently I don’t know anyone who lives with this but if I do meet someone I will give them your web address.

    Keep up the good work.

    Ciao
    Helen

    1. Hi Helen,

      Your past experience playing with your friend’s daughter who had special needs only showed that this kid , like all other special kids, always appreciate the time that we spend with them , especially playing with them. Even without toys, just our mere presence  brings them a lot of joy. This is a special bond that parents and caregivers need to develop with these kids. 

      The toys that we offer our special kids are there to help them focus and allay their anxieties and provide them with additional learning while having fun. 

      Thanks for passing by and for planning to refer my site to your friends.

      God bless,

      Marita

  2. This is a great topic. I do not know any children with special needs at the moment, but I will keep your advice in mind.

    I certainly agree that kids need play and stimulation. Especially the special kids that you are talking about.

    My only concern is letting kids with 10-year-old bodies and 5-year-old minds play with real 5-year-olds. That could be challenging.

    1. Hi Peter,

      I know, physically it could be challenging, but mentally, they would be talking and thinking at the same wavelength, so eventually they will understand each other.  Guidance of grown ups is very important here.

      Just like with parents or caregivers, they need to play with their kids at their level so they can connect.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Marita

  3. Hi Marita,
    Great post! I used to work on toy development. For toys in developing motor skills development, there’s no different for regular and special kids. But for learning language is concern, there is a difference.
    One point I want to raise out is the risk of choking by small objects, it could be something that parents of special kids to pay attention.
    All kids in the world, whether regular or special, have the right to enjoy learning and playing with toys.
    Brian

    1. Hi Brian,

      You are right, all kids whether special or not, have the right to play with toys and of course, parents and caregivers need to supervise them especially those with small parts, which in the first place the kids should not be allowed to play with.

      For toys that help in developing the special kids’ language, they need to be exposed anyway, like the “talking” phones or laptops because with repetitive exposure, they will eventually learn to speak and understand, though with different pace for each child. Even the cell phones and television, letting the kids listen or view for an hour or two everyday would help them develop their verbal capacity. Reading to them as well would be very helpful. Or just talking to them at all times.

      Thanks for your nice comments.

      Marita

  4. Hi Marita,

    These toys look really neat. I especially like the look of the Sensory Ring and Fidget Toy, the hop ball (I had one of these as a kid and loved it), the magnetic toy and the crash pad. The Sensory Ring and Fidget Toy looks like something many people might want!

    I am glad educational games and those that provide sensory experiences are becoming better understood for all kid’s development. Good for you for sharing this information with the world!

    Jessica

    1. Hi Jessica,

      All these toys are actually recommended by therapists so they are very useful for the special kids, and even all kids, I would say.

      Glad to know that you appreciated how they are helpful for our children with special needs.

      Of course the sensory rings and fidget toys are awesome.

      Thanks for reading.

      Marita

  5. I loved reading your article. There is just a special place in my heart for special needs kids, because they are the sweetest people on this earth. My mom used to teach special needs kids and she loved it more than anything. What makes these toys geared for special needs kids? Is it that they’re softer toys and can’t hurt you?

    1. Hi Danny,

      Thanks for appreciating my post.

      Glad that you had a nice experience with special kids through your mom. Truly,  they are angels on earth. They could uplift our mood anytime when we are around them.

      These toys are are usually tried by therapists and are really fitting for special kids because aside from giving them joy, they are soft and comfy  like you said and most are educational as well. Some of them like the puzzles are big enough so the kids will not have a hard time grasping them. They also motivate their minds to explore and be creative, while some provide soothing and calming effect.

      Different toys have varied purposes or effects on the special kids, and therapists usually know which are best for them  depending on their needs and present developmental milestone.

      God bless,

      Marita

  6. Good Morning Marita,

    As I liked my first visit to your website I have come back to read your latest post.

    When playing one learns and special children, the same as other children need to explore this exciting new world. Smells and colors are everywhere. New shapes they need to touch, all this is wonderful and broadens their still small horizon.

    You are right in saying that parents need to take care to buy toys which are good for their childs level of understanding.

    You present a nice long list of great toys. I like the Stretch Dino Wrap. I can imagine that a child wearing this will have great adventures. Then I also think the Magnetic Number Maze looks really pretty, while playing one can tell some nice animal stories along the line.

    I think your post will be a big help for parents who need to get the right toy for their special child.

    Regards, Taetske

    1. Hi Taetske,

      I remember you from last time with your unique name. Thanks for visiting again.

      These toys that I mentioned are all therapist approved and I know children with special needs will love to play and learn from.

      You are right, parents and caregivers need to spend time with their special kids and guide them or encourage them to explore their toys just like the magnetic number maze and tell them animal stories while playing. It is a great bonding time for them, as well to build trust to their parents or caregivers.

      Enjoy your day.

      Marita

  7. Excellent article. 

    I live in a rural area in South Wales, just outside a town named Carmarthern, which has a large secondary school which has a large department set out for the special needs children in the area. It was actually the school I attended in the 80’s, but this specialised department was not there then.

    I actually have three friends that work in this department, and they had little experience with special needs kids before taking it on. They now insist that the kids they look after there are some of the most loving and caring kids they have come across – you only have to come at them with a slightly different angle, understand things from their point of view. 

    They will be really excited to see this sort of website, and article surface – I will share it with them this week. I see from your bio that you have medical experience – have you ever worked with special needs kids?

    1. Hi Chris,

      Special education programs for special kids are now part of regular schools, unlike before, so these kids and their parents are so lucky to have this resource nowadays.

      Kids with special needs are angels in our midst- they are so innocent and fun loving, oozing with unconditional love. I understand how your friends who are working with them find them so loving and caring. 

      I took care of all kinds of kids when I was in active practice with my profession. From time to time I got to see special kids and I have a family of special kids- my sister and brother and 2 nephews and one niece. They are all awesome and so easy to live with.

      Thanks for reading and planning to share my website to your friends.  I have written lots of articles that they can learn from.

      This post above will help them decide what kind of toys their kids in school will love depending on their needs.

      Cheers,

      Marita

  8. Once again a very good article Marita and you give some solid parental advice also!

    For example, I make it a point to play with my kid every day. Even if I’m not in the mood, which is something a lot of parents can relate to. But I notice that kids appreciate it soo much when you play with them. For them it means everything.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Our kids will always appreciate the time that we spend with them. Especially if we play with them. These moments will be etched in their minds and hearts for years to come. Even with special kids, the more that parents share with their playtime, the more trust they build.

      Thanks for visiting again. I really appreciate it.

      God bless,

      Marita

  9. Hi Marita,
    What a fantastic site and resource you have here for parents and carers of children with special needs. My nephew is autistic and he is so amazing I love him to bits. We found that he loved toys and other objects that were very sensory in nature. He would have loved the sensory rings you have on this site. He used to like a toy we had that had lots of changing colours but really didn’t like very noisy or noise repetitive toys.

    Have a great day, Again great site and resource.

    Emma

    1. Hi Emma,

      Glad to know that you have a first hand experience with your nephew who is autistic and observed how he loved certain toys that address his sensory needs. He didn’t like noisy or loud toys because it triggers meltdowns.

      Thanks for your nice comments. I’d like to offer as much great information to parents and caregivers of special needs children to help them give the best to their kids.

      Enjoy your day.

      Marita

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