Kid-tested, parent-approved toys for kids of all abilities!
Before and After
Before and After is an educational and engaging way for children to learn about the logical relationship between cause and effect. Each scenario includes sets of two tiles depicting a before and an after. The tiles have playful illustrations that depict many real life situations to give parents, caregivers, and teachers opportunities to discuss the world around them. “Good visuals to support learning, great for teaching social skills in a variety of situations,” says Ann.
1.2.3 Large African Safari
Seat up to three passengers and the driver in the safari bus for an up close and personal look at lions, zebra, giraffe, elephant, croc, and more. Keep an eye out for the ranger as he transports animals in need of aid in his truck with trailer. Set includes five figures, bus, plane with spinning propeller, truck with trailer, landscapes with trees, bridge, luggage, monkey, crocodile, giraffe, elephant, zebra, lions, and other accessories. “This will appeal to a child with Autism who likes to classify animals and vehicles,” says mom Kay. “Really well made product that will last forever.”
These plush animals “talk” via a built-in Bluetooth connection and come in the form of five personalities including Leo the Lion, Riley the Zebra and Hudson the Puppy. Each soft animal moves its mouth as it talks, sings and reads to a child. Prop up a laptop, tablet or smart phone onto their laps and tuck into their plush arms. Then watch the magic begin. “Great for storytelling and phone calls. Helps with speech and social/emotional communication,” says Nancy.
The Invisible Cosmic Zebra Collection by Kitanie Books
The creative “how to” workbooks aim to make invisibility no longer a disability for those managing an invisible illness. Written from a non-medical perspective, patients ages teen through young adult and caregivers/parents of tweens ages 6-12 can use the 100-page workbooks as a resource tool for understanding the myriad of funny-but-not-so-funny non-medical challenges they might encounter after diagnosis. The workbooks are full of concrete and practical advice, thought-provoking ideas, coloring pages, and lots of lovable cosmic creatures who give comforting advice—all with the aim of bringing HOPE and HUMOR into the lives of those living with an invisible illness. There are 18 workbooks available for 18 different invisible illnesses.
Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Thomas’ Sky-High Bridge Jump
Thomas is on his way to the Great Railway Show, but the drawbridge is up, so he’ll need to find another route by climbing the spiral track. Once Thomas reaches the top he zips down the ramp and the velocity shoots him into the air, soaring through the air for nearly 2’ before landing safely on the other side of the gap to continue his journey. Erin says, “Great for independence, fine motor skills and problem solving. My son Royce, 4, loves to play with this toy.”
Pushes puzzle fun to the extreme. It is challenging, but not so hard you won’t be able to solve it. The puzzle is symmetrical from all angles once completed. With 10 colors it is one of the most colorful puzzles around. “Portable toy that my son can play with anywhere,” says Emily.
Drum Therapy Kit
Working with drums and rhythm supports motor and cognitive development, coordination, memory, discipline, and communication skills. The Drums and Disabilities kit (D.A.D.) was created by award winning drum virtuoso/author/clinician Pat Gesualdo who single handedly revolutionized the drumming industry and enhanced special education curriculums throughout the world with his D.A.D. programs. Through the repeated exposure to the rhythms and patterns of drumming, Pat’s Drum Therapy Kit aids children and adults challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADD/ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Dyslexia, OCD/ODD, Muscular Dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, and numerous other physical and cognitive disabilities. Wilhelmina says, “My son has always loved musical instruments, so this was a big hit, learning to play drums.”
Put on your hat, break out your props, and hide your rabbits in this magical match up. When the challenge card is flipped over, players race to stack their objects in one single pile following three simple rules: objects printed in color must be visible on the stack, objects printed in grey must be hidden inside objects on the stack, and objects surrounded by stars must be kept empty. “Great for problem solving and thinking outside of the box. Fun yet a cognitively challenging game,” say the students at Lindbergh Scweitzer.
Bolli Stretchy Teether Ball
Bolli is a tactile sensory ball. It has been found to have benefits for children and adults with sensory needs and/or autism. Bolli’s open architectural design and 100% silicone material make it ideal for use as a fidget or oral sensory toy. “Keeps hands busy. A great sturdy hand fidgets toy,” says Ellen.
The Moodsters Talking Plush Characters
The Moodsters talking plush characters are based on the five lovable Moodsters detectives – Coz, Lolly, Quigly, Razzy, and Snorf – that each personify an emotion that all children experience in their everyday lives including happiness, love, fear, anger and sadness. Each plush character features sayings specific to the emotions they represent. These are a perfect way to learn about emotions and to develop a vocabulary for how they are feeling. Kimberly says, “I love that this toy discusses emotions, and about being kind and loving.”
What Do I Do Flash Cards
A wonderful tool for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of subverted social expectations. This deck of 48 cards helps children understand how to handle various social situations with poise, grace, and confidence. The encouraging illustrations and simple instructions are perfect for opening up dialogues between parents and children about what behavior may be expected from them in various social environments. By encouraging kids to understand and digest positive social behavior rather than memorizing it, these cards will help kids to comfortably respond to a wide range of social cues. “Wonderful conversation starter!” says Emily.
Swoop Balance Bike
This 20” balance bike was designed to help special needs and older children learn how to ride a bike. It was created to accommodate larger children and give them the opportunity to learn to ride when they are ready from a developmental standpoint. With a step-through frame design, it’s easy for kids to get on and off of the bike. The bike also features an adjustable handlebar and seatback, as well as a kickstand. A perfect bike for children with special needs who want to master the balance skills needed to ride a bike.
Click Clack Ball
The colorful ball features handles that click with every twist. Filled with tiny beads inside, this baby ball also rattles when shaken. “Encourages midline play with both hands. My son also likes the color and noise,” says Rebeca.
iClever Boostcare Headphones
Designed and built with a lot of effort and love. Designed specially with kids in mind with the following features: kid-safe volume limiting technology, over-the-ear design, soft comfy ear pads, suitably lightweight, adjustable head band, tangle free cord. “Comfortable, well made, and my daughter Kendall, 3, loved them,” says Kim.
Bizzy the Mix & Move Bot
With 10 different accessories there are so many ways to encourage the role-play experience by creating a different robot every time they play. This playful bot illustrates cause and effect as children connect the 10 accessories to trigger fun responses. It also includes 10 fun and unique melodies that children can personalize by switching around the accessories to add in their own special sound effects. “Interchangeable parts, a variety of play levels and an imitation/pretend aspect,” says Eileen.
This Norse horse is packed with multiple play surfaces, bead runs, peg mazes and more. This wood activity center teaches cause and effect learning while fostering fine motor skill development and hand-eye coordination. “Lots of components, great for fine motor skills,” says Rebeca.
Sassy Illumination Station
Inspires fascination by providing a manipulation challenge. Cause and effect lessons are provided with a spinning ball that lights up. High contrast colors and age appropriate color spectrum keep baby engaged. Textural variety develops tactile sensitivity. The suction cup base attaches to flat surfaces or remove it from the base for on-the-go fun. Rebeca says, “Suction cup holds it in place, perfect for beginning hand use and swipping.”
Helps to build logical ordering and executive function skills, which help children to improve their memory and recall, verbal skills and prediction skills. A wonderful educational tool and an entertaining and beautifully designed activity. “Great tool for teaching language sequencing and story retell,” says Emily.
Made of soft molded rubber, the Squidgie disc is designed for both indoors and outdoors. The soft flexible aerodynamic design is easy and comfortable for small hands to grip, bend and throw, making it the ideal disc for children with special needs or for those learning to play catch. Jody says, “Durable, soft so no one gets hurt, fun, simple and encourages exercise and engaging with peers.”
Count Your Chickens
The baby chicks have flown the coop. Players help mother hen collect her chicks and bring them back to the coop. Spin and move, count the number of spaces, and collect that number of chicks. Take turns but work together. Collect all the chicks, and everyone wins.
Kiddy Up Hopper Ball
The Kiddy Up™ Hopper Ball is the perfect addition to any child’s backyard or play area! Made from durable vinyl and complete with an easy grab handle, the Kiddy Up Hopper Ball encourages kids to Get Up and Play™. The Kiddy Up Hopper Ball comes in a beautiful full color box and makes an excellent gift for special little someone. “Great for exercising leg muscles while playing,” says Viri.
Starts at $14.99; PaperTraxToys.com
Paper Trax is a completely recyclable, all paper based race track created to race cars on Trax attached to your walls. All you do is pop open the box, fold the Trax and stick them to the wall with a removable adhesive tape (Command Strips) and your kids will be entertained for hours on the Trax they create. “The possibilities are endless! My son loves this and spent hours playing with it,” says Viri.
Kinetic Sand Build Bakery Boutique
Create, decorate and display with the new building formula that really holds its shape. Mold beautiful bakery treats and pick them up during play. “For children with sensory needs, this is great for submersing hands in the sand and it stimulates all the nerves in the hand,” says Maria.
My Clay Critters
Make 10 adorable ocean critters. With six colors of air-dry clay, a special shaping tool, and colorful pre-cut and custom pieces, kids can follow simple step-by-step instructions to create their own underwater adventures. “Uses fine motor skills and could meet sensory needs for some kids,” says Maha. “What I loved best about this toy is that my children are really able to make the critters almost all on their own.”