When one of our speech therapists is called “the toy doctor” by a client, you know we have a toy problem. More specifically, it’s a toy ADDICTION. Why do we love toys so much? Toys can be used to create “communication temptations,” or opportunities to use language to request. Oftentimes, toys can be used to work on fine and gross motor development as well as cognition. They also can serve as a gateway to engagement. I have personally trialed endless toys over the last few years at ICAN Center for Autism. Many broken toys later, some remain as the go-to favorites. Here is a list of some ofour most popular toys that our kids ask for time and time again:
- Spinning Tops. They come in sizes large and small. Some flash and sing music, while others just spin.
Why we love them: Tops can be very challenging to spin just right. Kids work hard to get them to spin on their own or an opportunity is created for them to ask others for help. Two tops are always better than one, and because they are affordable you and your child can spin a top together. Ready, set, SPIN!
- Balloon pumps. Balloons can quickly be inflated and then released. Watch the balloons take flight and then do it all over again.
Why we love them: Again, balloon pumps can be found very inexpensively. The balloons can be re-used many times and almost always guarantee a reaction from children. Have your child try pumping the balloon with you and then watch it together as it flies and spins unpredictably through the air.
- Stomp Rocket: Hit the switch and watch the rocket go up-up-and away!
Why we love it: The stomp rocket is a favorite for all ages. This toy provides a great opportunity to work on ideation (the ability to come up with an idea) by coming up with different ways to activate the switch. Fine and gross motor planning is also incorporated. The splash rocket is a great option for outdoor water play.
Posted by: Carmen, Speech-Language Pathologist