Scott’s Toy Box: Satisfy Your Senses
What should parents look for when toy shopping for children with special needs? Marcia Hales from the Center for Coping and Hope suggests looking for toys that stimulate all five senses. I went over to Learning Express and found three great toys to highlight this month.
The Senso-Dot Ball from Edushape is a soft rubber ball with little nubs all around it. Hales advises choosing a toy that stimulates a vision-impaired child’s sense of touch, and the Senso-Dot Ball does just that. It’s easy to squeeze as well, and is something that children will enjoy throwing around. You can purchase one for $15 at Learning Express, but they also have a set of four that comes in different sizes and colors for $30.
A toy that engages the sense of touch is the Cozy Plush. At first, these toys look like any stuffed animal, but when you pick them up you’ll notice that they are much heavier. That’s because the plushes are stuffed with wheat beads and feel much like Beanie Babies. The fur is soft to the touch, but the beads add an interesting texture. You can place the plush in the microwave to add warmth or the freezer to give a nice cool element to the touch. Also, the beads are scented with lavender to stimulate the sense of smell. You can find an assortment of these plushes at Learning Express for $25.
Melissa & Doug’s Sound Puzzle
Melissa & Doug’s Sound Puzzle, perfect for stimulating the sense of hearing, is a wooden puzzle that plays a sound when each piece is placed in the correct spot. Each wooden piece has a peg that makes it easy to pick up, and each piece will only fit in its own designated spot on the puzzle board. You can find several versions of this puzzle at Learning Express for $13. For another musical toy idea, check out my column from the July 2011 issue, and read about the Mozart Music Cube.