Toys play a big role in every child’s development, but some toys are especially helpful – or unhelpful — for kids with cerebral palsy. Instead of choosing toys according to your child’s age, make sure you consider their unique developmental timeline and treatment needs.
Cerebral palsy is a diagnosis that looks different for every single child. No matter what your child’s age, gender, or abilities, there is no list of toys that will definitely fit them. Instead, playtime is like cerebral palsy therapy in Little Rock: personalized to fit each child’s unique developmental needs. The right toys for your child will not frustrate or endanger them, but instead supplement their therapy and give them a safe, entertaining way to have fun and build skills. Here are some of our favorite toys for children with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.
Puzzles & Games with Large Pieces
Many games and puzzles have small pieces that require fine motor skills. However, kids with cerebral palsy may have involuntary movements that make it difficult to put these pieces together. Assembling puzzles is also a great way to build upper-body strength and coordination, especially for kids who depend on their upper body for mobility. Look for games, puzzles, and play sets that only have a few large pieces.
Stacking & Building Blocks
Building blocks teach important lessons about size, shape, balance, texture, color, and more. They stimulate young senses and imaginations, and they are fun ways to build coordination and motor skills. If traditional LEGO® blocks and Lincoln logs are too small, consider editions designed for younger children or look for stacking toys with stimulating designs and textures. Whether your child is working on their grasp or channeling their creative side, building and stacking toys will help.
Play Food & Kitchen Playsets
“Make believe” is entertaining and enriching for all kids, but practicing real-world tasks is especially helpful during playtime for kids with cerebral palsy. Pretending to prepare food helps with confidence, coordination, and motor skills, and is just plain fun. Invest in some soft play food and a set of pretend utensils, cookware, and other kitchen essentials. Then encourage your child to practice the skills they are already working on – from matching similar colors and shapes to deciding and then creating what they want.
Musical Toys & Instruments
Does music inspire your child to dance, express emotions, or engage more in the world around them? Encourage this connection with toys that allow them to make their own music. Modified and child-sized versions of musical instruments are available, but you can also go homemade with a paper plate tambourine or a popcorn tin drum. Your child will have fun and build skills as they experiment with different sounds and rhythms.
Every child deserves to play in a way that fits their needs. Would your child benefit from therapy and other personalized support? We can help you find cerebral palsy support services in Little Rock today. Contact Integrity, Inc. by calling (501) 406-0442 to learn more about our resources for adults and children with developmental disabilities.