Caring for children with special needs is a challenging but rewarding task. It requires long hours of sacrifice, unconditional love, and plenty of patience. Of course, you want only the best for your child — and that includes play time.
Educational toys are a great tool to use in nurturing the development of your special needs child. Toys that provide more than just simple entertainment value are ideal. Not only do they give your child the pleasure of a good time, but they also aid in the development of your child’s brain.
On the hunt for special needs toys that will both challenge and amuse? Look no further. We’ve put together the best options out there that will both inspire and delight your child. Read on for a glimpse of the best special needs toys on the market today.
Recommended Special Needs Toys
This Monster Toss game is a great toy for children with Down syndrome. Since this condition often leads to difficulty with motor skills, this makes it easy and enjoyable for special needs children to play.
The best part is that special needs toys like this can be customized and adjusted. This way, they adapt to whatever level of difficulty is appropriate for your child. You can move the “monster” holes closer or farther away depending on how advanced your child is.
Puzzles are fun at any age. Children with autism are especially likely to enjoy working with puzzles.
Children on the autistic spectrum tend to enjoy working with patterns and systems. Being able to assemble a puzzle and organize it into the logical sequence it belongs in can be a very pleasant experience for children on the autistic spectrum.
Choosing puzzles based on a theme that your special needs child is interested in will help to hold their interest. Puzzles that picture geometric shapes or blocks can also be of special interest to autistic children. Choose pieces with less pieces — the pieces will be larger — for kids who are working to develop their fine motor skills.
Aquadoodle Classic Mat
The Aquadoodle mats are an excellent choice. Not only are they fun, but they also provide a mess-free place to get creative.
They are one of the best special needs toys because they provide your child a place to create, draw, and “paint.” They do this without requiring anything more than a pen filled with water and a mat.
The Aquadoodle mat will help your child practice drawing. It also allows them to use their imagination in a particularly enjoyable way. This is a very easy toy to take with you.
Small at-home ball pits are one of the best special needs toys. They give the child a place to crawl around and feel safe and secure. They also provide endless hours of entertainment, thanks to the many colorful balls to play with inside.
Ball pits give children with special needs, especially ones in infancy or toddlers, a sensory place. These pits allow them to crawl around and experience the unique sensation of rolling around in the plastic balls. They can practice grasping the balls to help boost motor skills. They can also notice the different variations of colors around them.
Legos are one of the most developmentally appropriate toys out there. They are great because kids (and adults!) can follow the directions for a set or they can experience free play as they please. Children with developed fine motor skills can also benefit from organizing Lego into colors and sizes. They can build and create while using their imagination.
Larger-sized Lego bricks, called Duplos, can be great for children with special needs. This is because they are over-sized, and do not have small parts to lose or get hurt with.
Building and construction toys are also excellent for building STEM skills.
The Infinite Loop
This toy is a great toy for children with special needs. This is because it works with the limited movements of children who are affected by muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or any other conditions that relate to motor systems.
The Infinite Loop is also great for children who use a wheelchair. This is because it can be held in the lap. It helps to improve dexterity of their arms and torso. Plus, it also aids in concentration as your child works to keep the ball on the track.
Leapfrog Hug & Learn Baby Tad Plush
This Leapfrog toy is an adorable and interactive toy that helps to teach shapes, colors, and more. It also can play music, including classical music at bedtime.
Though this educational little frog may not be categorized under special needs toys, it is certainly a fun option that many special needs children could enjoy. Interacting with the toy may bring your child quite a bit of delight.
Fidget tools and toys are now mainstream but were intended for individuals with trouble focusing. Fidget toys, including spinners, cubes and puzzles and more, work to stimulate fine motor skills while keeping kids engaged.
There’s a reason that trading cards have stuck around for so long! Even with the influx of technology and screens galore, kids are still getting a kick out of good old-fashioned trading cards.
It’s simple, really: playing with trading cards is more than just fun. It also assists in essential areas of development. These include patience and dedication, organizational abilities, and even social development.
On the bright side for you as a parent, trading cards are rather inexpensive. At just a few dollars for a starter pack and no additional parts or tools needed, trading cards provide a low barrier to entry. This will help to give you peace of mind as you figure out how much of an interest your child has in this type of toy.
Spacerails and Marble Runs
Similar to a marble run in concept, Spacerails takes it to a new level. Spacerails is both educational and fun. It is a game that builds creativity, skill, persistence, and more. Playing with Spacerails consists of building a track that can be utilized to work as a marble roller coaster. This set will be good for those kids who have good attention to detail.
Most children need help setting this up. After you build it, children with special needs, including autism, may enjoy rolling the marble down the track.
Spacerails can be played on many different levels, from beginner to advanced. This gives your children the opportunity to advance at their own pace. Plus, they can teach themselves new strategies and problem-solving methods. Becoming better and better at Spacerails is something that your child can take great pride in. Plus, it’s something that you will enjoy both participating in and watching as you go.
Does your child with special needs have a favorite toy? Tell us about it below! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the toys we’ve mentioned here and any other special needs toys your family has grown to love.