No matter how old one is, the concept of playing never becomes old. This is even more crucial during one’s childhood and formative years, as playing teaches a myriad of fundamental life and social skills. Playing helps a child in their cognitive functions, helps them practice their fine and gross motor skills, allows them to exercise their imagination, and even helps them learn some social skills as well. And of course, more often than not, playtime is never complete without toys to play with, whether they be for indoor or outdoor play. However, with the myriad of toys for children to choose from, it is sometimes quite hard to choose what exact toy or toys are the right fit for a particular child. This decision becomes even harder when an individual sets out to buy toys for children with special needs or autism, and might feel daunted at the prospect as they don’t know exactly what and how to choose. However, just like everything, there are some very unique factors one should consider when buying a toy for a child with special needs or with autism.
One of the most important things to consider in buying a child with autism a toy is the particular level the child is currently at. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to buy the child a toy that is complex in terms of fine motor skills if he or she cannot handle something that complex yet. If that is the case, simple toys with buttons that can be pushed should be considered over a more complex LEGO set. However, getting toys that would help a child’s fine motor skills would be good, while taking into consideration the current level the child is at.
Toys that stimulate the senses such as toys with different textures on it, and toys that make sounds that aren’t too startling would be great for them as well. Tactile toys, toys that they can squeeze and feel different textures on will definitely grab their attention; as well as visually stimulating toys, such as toys that play around with light. Toys that move when played with is another option, as well as toys that can be deemed as therapeutic for them.
Toys and games that allow them to have cooperative or turned based play would help them learn social skills, such as simple board games, would be another option to look at. It would also be a good option to have toys as well that not only encourage the child to use their imagination, but that would also allow them to play with others, whether it be a large group or just another person. And, of course, simple but fun toys that would allow them to play outdoors and get physical exercise should be also be considered.
Another thing to consider would be the child’s special interests. If the child seems to have more of an interest in cars or dinosaurs, it would be a safe bet that they would appreciate toys that have to do with those particular themes.
Make sure to always get quality products and products that don’t easily break, as young children cannot control all of their motor skills yet. So, instead of giving them an ordinary book for children, you can give them books that are waterproof or that don’t easily tear.
You can also try giving them some traditional toys to mix up with up with the other toys, as long as the toy is at their level, and you can also give them toys with which they can also play alone with.
Now, while there are many different toy shops one can consider when it comes to buying toys, for buying toys specifically designed for children with autism, it is better to check out shops and websites that sell those specific things, such as our little toy shop, the Autism Toy Shop.
Here, you will be able to find traditional toys and toys that match the considerations that were mentioned above, and that will definitely help your child improve their cognitive abilities, as well as their fine and gross motor skills.
Some of the toys in our shop that are uniquely suited for children with autism include the six piece life piece life skill/motor skill practice set. Not only is it made out of cloth and is brightly colored, but it will help your child develop their fine motor skills as each cloth piece has a simple “challenge” for children, such as zipping up a zipper, tying up shoelaces, buttoning, using snaps, and doing simple buckles. Aside from the fine motor skills being developed here, its material allows it to cater to those who like more tactile stimulation.
The stress balls will definitely appeal to children who are more tactile, while slightly older kids will appreciate the fidget cubes and spinners, which not only move but have various buttons that they can press.
There are also some puzzles and matching games that will are not only sensory stimulating, but will let them learn new things and will help develop their cognitive abilities. These include calendar and clock wooden puzzles, and a kids body apron toy which allows children to match different colored plush body organs to their corresponding places on the apron.
As for outdoor play, our shop have several items that fit the bill. Children of all ages love playing with kinetic sand, which can be played alone or with friends and family; families with slightly older children will love playing with the air power soccer disc which can be used indoors and outdoors; and a giant inflatable beach ball sprinkler that is perfect when playing outdoors on a hot summer’s day with the entire family.
In the end, buying toys for children with autism now no longer a daunting task thanks to the fact that there are toys that are now specifically designed for them. So just take note of the considerations mentioned above, sit back, and have just have fun with them.