One of the benefits of finding out during pregnancy about my baby's Down syndrome was getting a head start looking for resources. We started therapy at just a few weeks old, where the therapist brought in toys and books to stimulate development.
Over time we've gone to OT, PT, FT, (occupational therapy, physical therapy, feeding therapy), and infant stimulation. From all the therapists and therapy centers we've seen, we've also seen a cornucopia of toys designed to make learning fun.
These toys help develop sensory, fine motor, and gross motor skills, while improving logical, creative, linguistic, and communication skills. They're fantastic for special needs and typical kids alike!
Fisher Price Piano Kick & Play Gym – In the beginning when babies can't quite move they spend alot of time in one place. The play gym brings toys dangling and kickable. Having floor time stimulates the baby's development by giving all kinds of inputs to the body with the opportunity for feedback. The interactive
Baby Einstein Floor Mirror With Take Along Cards – Floor mirrors encourage tummy time. These also come with high contrast cards as an added bonus.
Fisher Price Rattle N Rock Maracas – These toy rattles provide visual and auditory stimulation, giving grasping fingers a chance to make sounds.
Manhattan Classic Beads Wooden Rattle Teether Clutching Toy – These colorful wooden balls are attached by elastic, giving babies the opportunity to manipulate them. Autistic children have reported
Wrist and Foot Rattles (Arm and Foot Finders) – Increasing awareness of a baby's hands and feet help them start to learn how to control them.
Lightweight Oballs are great for practicing motor control and promoting play:
Classic Oball – The lightest weight Oball is easy to grasp and great for newborns and up.
Manhattan Toy Infant Stim Mobile To Go Travel Toy – High contrast patterns are great for infants. Most mobiles are hanging down but babies that look up from the bottom really need some images that are parallel to the ground. The graphics are perfect for early visual and multi-sensory development.
Manhattan Toy Winkel Sensory Teether – Easy to grasp, with an embedded soft sounding rattle
Finger Puppet Books – Looking for an active book? These board books have little finger puppets popping out, offering a fun and engaging story time!
Texture books – Sensory books to attract your baby!
Never Touch A Series – Series with you must never touch a porcupine, never touch a shark, never touch a dragon with silicone textures
Poke A Dot Books – Our OT's favorite book series. These are great for working on fine motor skills. Babies need to isolate their fingers to pop the bubbles.
Melissa and Doug Soft Blocks – This 14 piece set is great for after babies can sit up and play. There are cubes and triangles that also encourage pair matching and number recognition. Flaps can be lifted on some of the blocks to reveal other surprises.
What sensory toys have you found to be helpful?