Helpful Toys for Early Interventionists and Therapists
Carmen Knight, M.A.T. Early Childhood and Special Education
I have found a great group of toys at SmileMakers that will provide so many learning opportunities and be so much fun for all the children that you serve. These, and many other items at SmileMakers, are affordable and can be used to reach multiple developmental goals. With the click of a button, you can find each of these toys and have them shipped to your door.
Farm Animal Stress Balls:This is a great item for children with sensory integration disorder. They can hold these squishy animals and use them for sensory input as you work on language development by reviewing sounds made by each animal. Also work on recognition and colors by reviewing the name and color of each animal. The name and color exercise will assist the child in developing cognitive skills needed to be more age-appropriate like their peers. Imaginative play is also important at this age and these animals are perfect for this purpose as well.
Fidget Poppers: One of the latest and more popular new toys out is the popper. SmileMakers has several styles of fidgets that are the perfect size for little hands. One that I've found helpful for children is the Squeeze and Pops. The child will place the toy in the palm of their hand, squeeze it, and then wait for the small popping noise as it releases. This toy provides sensory stimulation as well as distraction from awkward situations or surroundings or anxiety they are facing. These are portable, fun, and so popular that no one will know a child is using one to ease anxiety or stress of their current situation.
Sticky Sand Character Building Kit: These amazing sticky sand kits can fit in a small pocket or bag and take up very little space, making them a great portable item for your therapy sessions. Children with sensory integration disorder often get overwhelmed in large crowds or with loud noises, and this activity can provide the sensory stimulation they need to help reduce their anxiety. Allow children to use their imagination as they create their silly creature. The kit comes with 12 sand sets that are reasonably priced so that you have plenty to cover your caseload.
Stickers: They are fun, easy items that make children smile, encourage good behavior, stir the imagination, work fine motor skills, incent, reward, and much more. Best of all, stickers are affordable and kids love them! SmileMakers has the best variety of stickers and should be your go-to resource. Whether you want them on a roll or in a box, SmileMakers has
- popular character stickers
- fun specialty stickers like Make-Your-Own designs, glitter, scratch 'n sniff, mini dots, and more
- holiday stickers
- play scenes
- sticker samplers
And the great thing about SmileMakers stickers is that they are manufacturer certified hypoallergenic and latex free making them perfect for all your kiddos.
SmileMakers has developed a SmileSource blog for Early Interventionists and Therapists to turn to for new ideas and toys. SmileSource has articles that cover all areas of development and suggestions for wonderful toys that help children reach milestones. They have personalized a link to take you to the primary areas of development to cut down on the time that you spend searching for toys. You can find a link for gross motor toys, fine motor toys, sensory toys and more. SmileMakers is working to make the life of Early Interventionists and Therapists easier!