There are so many useful and fun toys and games to help continue therapy programs at home. I have compiled a list of my favorite toys and games, which will help supplement your child’s regular therapy program.
These suggestions may also provide gift ideas for Christmas or birthdays. Remember to always consult with an experienced pediatric occupational therapist to determine if these toys are appropriate for your child.
Hearth Song is a wonderful resource for swings and other sensory equipment, definitely worth a look. A few great options from this catalog include:
Fine Motor/Oral Motor
Stockmar Modeling Beeswax: Good for kids with tactile issues as an alternative to Play-Doh. Warms up in the palm of your hand.
Crayon Rocks: Fun for fine motor skills and to encourage children who are reluctant with drawing (ages 3 and up).
Squiggle Pen: Makes writing fun and provides sensory input.
Pop Beads: Great for working on fine motor skills and hand strength (choking hazard – not for children who put things in their mouths). Lots of pop bead sets for either boys or girls.
Jigglers: Provides oral and facial input for oral seekers.
Robot Claw: Fun for hand strength and eye-hand coordination.
Rainbow Mosaic Pattern Puzzles: Works on patterns and matching skills and facilitates eye-hand coordination and fine-motor skills (ages 2 to 5).
EzyRoller: Great for strength, balance, coordination, and motor planning. Moves using left/right movement of the feet. Comes in a variety of colors.
Roller Racer: Similar to the EzyRoller but moves using left/right motion of the hands.
Kid Cart: Provides excellent heavy work and social play.
Hop Ball: Great for work on balance, coordination, motor planning, and strength.
Super Skipper: A fun way to work on motor planning, balance, and coordination.
Zoom Ball: Great gross motor play for bilateral coordination, visual tracking, eye-hand coordination and turn-taking.
Hopscotch Rug: Great for indoor play to get the kids moving. Works on bilateral coordination, balance, and strength.
Hyper-Dash: Works on listening skills, motor planning, and sequencing. It also allows the kids to get up and get moving for some sensory input.
Pop Up Pirate: Works on fine motor skills, following directions, and turn-taking (ages 4 and up).
Don’t Break the Ice: Great for working on grasping patterns, fine motor, and turn taking.
Animal Mastermind Towers: Great for turn taking, logical thinking, and sequencing skills (ages 6 and up).
Qwirkle: Great strategy game for visual perceptual skills (ages 6 and up).
Twister: Great classic game to work on impulse control, right/left discrimination, and turn taking.
Speedy Match: Wonderful game to work on fine motor skills, spatial awareness, matching, and patterning (listed for 4 and up but recommend for older kids).
Guess Who: Works on reasoning skills, logical thinking, and turn taking.
Pixy Cubes: One of my favorite games to work on fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills. You can do speed challenges, copy patterns, or make up patterns on your own (ages 6 and up).
Animal Yahtzee: Fun game to work on counting, pattern recognition, turn taking, impulse control, and fine motor development (ages 5 and up).
Whack a Mole: Great game for heavy sensory input, grasping skills, visual scanning, and socialization.
Connect Four: Another classic – works on fine motor skills, logical thinking, visual scanning, and turn taking.
Rush Hour: A great game to work on visual perceptual skills and forward thinking. There is even a junior version for younger kids (ages 8 and up and junior 6-8).
Blind Spell: Good for tactile discrimination, turn taking, and impulse control (ages 7 and up).
In addition to Hearth Song, the following web sites/catalogs are worth mentioning and have a wide selection of excellent therapy toys and games. These are among my favorites:
Finally, Toys R Us has a special needs catalog that groups games/toys by skill. This section of their web site is definitely worth a visit if you are hoping to address a specific area of development.
We hope this list will help get you started with your shopping. Again, if you have questions about the appropriateness of a toy for your child, always consult an experienced pediatric occupational therapist.
From our family to yours,
Melissa Hough, OTR/L, C/NDT
Owner, Children’s Therapy Center, PSC
Melissa Hough, OTR/L, C/NDT is an occupational therapist with over 20 years of pediatric experience and certifications in Sensory Integration (SI) and Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT). Melissa has a professional and personal perspective when working with children because she is also the adoptive parent of a child with special needs.
Since 2002, Children’s Therapy Center, PSC has served thousands of families in Louisville, Kentucky, by providing high-quality therapy services and parent education.