Wednesday, September 15, 2010
What Makes a Good Toy?
Toys are a fantastic way to encourage learning in kids, stimulate senses and develop cognitive, motor and social skills.
This is particularly important for children with autism, who often require additional assistance in stimulation of the senses, motor control and recognition and understanding of social rules and playing with other children.
As with all toys for children, cheaper toys are usually not the preferred option, as they are easier to break or fall apart, and are often unsafe. Spending a bit extra for a sturdy, durable toy is well worth the money, in terms of safety as well as longevity of the toy.
They generally, depending on the type of toy, offer more options for interactivity, sensory stimulation and thought processes. Even simple aspects, such as the type of noise made or the ability to press buttons or flick switches can have profound impacts on its playability and enjoyment by the child.
For children with autism, toys that have a greater focus on sensory stimulation are most beneficial. Those that also offer a “cause and effect” type reaction, such as squeezing a ball and a light comes on, engages both touch and visual senses.
Toys or games a larger number of muscles to be involved; like the whole hand being required to squeeze, as opposed to one finger pressing a button, offer a greater opportunity for larger areas to be stimulated. Team them up with toys that engage other sensors, visual or auditory is good (leave taste for eating food!) and the impact on development of many areas is enhanced.
Toys that require sorting, matching or building, such as puzzles, LEGO or shape sorting/colour matching are great for improving cognitive skills, creativity and imagination. Of course, they also play a role in development of fine motor skills.
You also can’t go past play doh for creativity, development of imagination, and the touch and feel of has a profound impact on sensory stimulation. You can also add food flavours, such as strawberry or orange essence, and engage smell as well.
To help your children develop go and buy them a good toy.