A Few of My Favorite Things (Therapy Toys and Tools)

Here are some of my favorites.  These were actually worth the money.  They got a lot of use and really helped Finn achieve many of his goals.  Camila plays with many of these items that Finn has outgrown. Anything that is labeled "therapy" toy or toy for "special needs" or "differently abled children" costs a lot more than toys for "typical" children.  Many of these I bought at Target or Amazon and not at a "special store."   I will keep adding to this page.

A note: if your child belongs to Early Steps, you can check-out toys from Early Steps.  You should contact your coordinator to find out how or you can contact the family liaison. 

Upspring Baby Walking Wings Learning To Walk Assistant
Walking wings really help them walk while saving your back.

Hip Helpers via http://www.hiphelpers.com.  These nifty little biker shorts help prevent your child from W sitting and also help for keeping the legs together when learning to crawl.  You could also probably make your own by using very tight biker shorts and sewing the legs together.

This trampoline is great for learning how to jump.  Camila loves this one as much as Finn.   This one plays music I suggest putting a mirror in on the wall and let your child watch himself/herself as he jumps.

Pop beads or snap beads are great way to build strength and coordination.  Not all snap beads are created equal.  I love these cute bugs by B. Toys available at Target, but they are probably for your more advanced bead snapper.  My word of caution is make sure the ones you do buy are not too frustrating for your child and that they do not have sharp edges.  I found the garaimals version at Wal-Mart have very sharp edges.

Another B toys product.  These are small "jewelry" pop beads that are great when your child's fine motor skills are improving.  These require a lot of adult supervision though. 

These are my favorite blocks.  Another B toys product.  These are great for chewing and are squeezable for easy grasp/grip and stacking.  They are fairly large so may not be best suited for very small hands/small fingers.

Melissa and Doug latches board is great for problem solving and manipulating. 

Melissa and Doug puzzles with jumbo knobs are great for beginners.  I wouldn't go more than three pieces.
Lauri toys are great too.  This is the toddler tote.  It has foam puzzles and pegs.  We use this one for travel/take to restaurants.  We also have a larger peg board made by Lauri.  We got in on amazon.

Educational Insight's PLAY FOAM
Love this foam.  Both kids love this foam.  It is great for kids with sensory issues.  I don't think it is as messy as play-doh, but my husband may disagree with me on that one.

I love this play-doh.  It is pricey, but it is gluten free and you can also purchase a soy free option if your child has those allergies or is on a gluten casein free diet. 
The Melissa and Doug cutting good is one of Finn's favorites.  They also make a cutting pizza.  I love Melissa and Doug toys, but wood is not always good for children that chew!

I love this critter clinic made by B. You Toys available at Target.  It is great on so many levels.  First, your child has to match the correct key to the correct door and then insert the key and turn to open the door.  Finn loves playing with this toy and so does Camila.

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald's Farm (30 Poke-able Poppin' Dots)
This is a great book and there are more in the series of Poke A Dot books.  The pages are a great thickness for learning to turn them and your child will have fun while learning to isolate his or her pointer finger to pop the bubbles.
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I really love the pictures in this book.  We read this book to Finn every day and used it to teach him to point.

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Chewy tubes are great for kids that need to chew.  I like the "Ps" and "Qs" because you can attach them to a pacifier holder and clip them to their shirts or you can attached it to a bracelet or necklace.  These are great for teething - back molars.

I like these feeders for learning how to chew.  You can also buy the mesh at a fabric store and tie it off.  These really ease the worry of choking while your child is learning to chew.

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Stacking rings are a great beginner occupational therapy toy.  I like the one I am showing here because it rewards them with lights and music.  I would stick to the "hard" rings as the soft, plush ones are much more difficult to get on the ring.

Shape sorters are another great first occupational therapy toy.  The basic Fisher Price one show here is winner!

Alex Toys Learn to Dress Monkey
Dressing toys are great for learning self help skills and working on fine motor skills.  I really like this Alex Dressing Monkey, but it is expensive.  If you are looking at buying something similar just make sure that the buttons can easily go through the holes.  We have seen some where it was even difficult for me.

Another Alex toy.  These are my favorite brand of stringing beads.  They are easier for beginners and Alex makes them in fun shapes.  We have the cars version and both kids love them.

This is a great first tool set and is great for fine motor skills.  Finn has been playing with this one for two years.

Baby Signing Time Full Collection
The baby signing time videos are a great way for both parents and children to learn basic sign language.  I highly recommend these videos.

Spinbrush Kids - Thomas and Friends Electric Toothbrush
Finn has a lot of sensory issues when it comes to his mouth.  It is nearly impossible for any of us to get him to open his mouth.  This is the only toothbrush that he will use to brush his teeth.

The deaf/hard of hearing teacher that was working with Finn helped us make this book.  We take pictures of items around the house and put those on the right side and download pictures from ASL and paste those on the left.  Another great way to learn sign language using items in your own home as reference.

Here is some sample pages from the book...How to sign fire engine on the left and a picture of Finn and his fire truck on the right.

Stearns Kids' Puddle Jumper Deluxe Life Jacket
This is a great life jacket if you want to try and get your child more independent in the pool.  They help the kids stay horizontal, yet keep their head above the water.  Finn can float on his back as well in this one.  This is much better than "floaties" that swim teachers tell you to stay away from as they teach your child to swim vertically and are unsafe.

Other items that work well for speech are bubbles, whistles, and pinwheels.  You can also check out some of the therapy toy websites for ideas and then try and find them on Amazon or other stores where they are probably less expensive. 

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