Friday, November 28, 2014

Toys for Children with Special Needs

The Christmas season is upon us, and the challenges of finding toys that are appropriate for offspring from tots to teens are complicated when there are special needs. Fortunately, there are many toys suitable for children with different types of disabilities. Here are a few suggestions, but remember to take into consideration developmental age as well as chronological age:

Sensory Needs and Fidgets:

  • Tangle (there are many types) and other fidgets
  • Specialty sand (Kinetic sand, or sand by Brookstone)
  • Building toys (Legos, blocks, Tinker Toys, etc. 
  • Games that involve manipulation of small objects
  • Maze toys 
  • Puzzles
  • 3D Feel and Find
  • Sensory balls (all types)
  • Boogie Board writing tablets
  • Balancing boards and balancing balls
  • Magnetic Mighty Mind
  • Bubbles 
  • Pop Toobs
  • Pop up tunnels & tents

Language Problems:

  • Sensory balls
  • Boogie Board writing tablets
  • Tobbles Neo
  • Toys that pop out balls
  • Peanut Ball
  • Specialty sand (Kinetic sand, or sand by Brookstone)
  • Books of interest (for language exposure)
  • Scoot-type riding toys
  • Jumping beans
  • Books with seek-and-find activities

Social Skills:

Fine Motor Delay:

  • Paper or wooden dolls to dress
  • Toys with small pieces to manipulate
  • Building sets
  • Hot Dots pen
  • Blocks
  • Boogie Board writing tablet
  • Craft sets, such as weaving, beading, or sewing 
  • Magformers building sets
  • Rainbow scratch paper
  • Basketball hoops and crayons for the bathtub
  • Juggle Bubbles
  • Pop Toobs
  • Oball Rainstick Rattle
  • Simple sports sets (bowling, T-ball, etc.)
  • Gyro wheel
  • Bean bag and other toss games
  • Trunk Show
  • Infinite Loop
  • Play Foam
Developmental Delay:
  • Matching games
  • Piano Mat
  • Lacing cards and beads
  • Plasma Car
  • Rush Hour Game
  • Puzzles with handles or large pieces
  • Bean bag and other toss games
  • V-Tech Laptop or other toys
  • Duplo and other building sets
  • Simple craft sets
  • The Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set
Need more ideas? See the ToysRUs Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, the guide at, and links on Assistive Technology Corner.