By Carissa Tozzi
Shopping for a special present? Here are a few of our favorite toys that kids will spend hours playing with while developing important skills like communication, coordination, literacy, organization, creativity and problem-solving!
1. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play: Seedling DIY Superhero Mask Kit : Turn every day into an awesome fun adventure with this superhero mask. Seedling's DIY activity kit comes with a blue mask, pre-cut felt shapes, and glitter glue so you can create your own masterpiece. A Winner of Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Creative Toys, their kit has everything you need to turn into a masked avenger and save the world at a moment’s notice. SHOP: Seedling's DIY Superhero Mask kit.
2. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play : Mame Ohagki Rainbow Beans : This beautiful wooden set is more than a food prop—it’s a wonderful, open-ended toy called a ‘manipulative’, which helps develop a variety of cognitive skills, from mathematics to spatial awareness. These beans can be stacked, piled and used as building blocks. They can be lined up side by side or designed into a pattern. They can be counted or grouped by color and used as a counting tool to teach simple math. This set comes with multicolored beans, a small wooden bowl, and chopsticks (a great dexterity aid), along with cloth cases for storage. SHOP: Mame Ohagki Rainbow Beans
3. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play: Enchanted Tree : Studio Roof is known for making creative toys and pays particular attention to the design. The brand uses recycled and recyclable cardboard as its material, and the do-it-yourself-concept as its motto. It is worth noting, that Studio Roof donates 5% of its sales to UNICEF. SHOP: Building Set-Enchanted Tree
4. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play: Kid O Cutting Fruit : Young chefs can chop and prepare five colorful fruits and vegetables with a wooden knife. As they practice their fine motor skills, they will also work on their speech and language development. SHOP: Kid O Cutting Fruit
5. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play: Pirasta Coloring Poster : What kid doesn't love to color on a wall or the floor? Pirasta makes enormous fun coloring posters that kids will be extra excited to explore and fill in. Hang it on a wall, or roll it over a floor, and spend hours coloring. SHOP: Pirasta
6. Fine Motor + Imaginative Play: Seedling's DIY Tiara Kit : Entertain guests with a majestic jeweled crown on top of your head with Seedling's DIY Tiara Kit. Use the metallic pipe cleaners, colorful pom poms, and sparkly beads to build a unique masterpiece fit for a royal affair. SHOP: Seedling's DIY Tiara Kit
And for more thoughtful, beautiful + fun gift ideas, please visit play.
"Most things I choose in life are a bit challenging and require a lot of grit. I can’t give up, not when I see Micah's determination. I know I must prevail so he can keep trying with the same intensity for the rest of his life. He needs that example."
"Research shows that by the end of summer kids fall behind in their reading skills, which is why it's so important to keep your children reading. Whatever their age and cognitive level they are, don't let them lose hard earned skills."
"When you think about the time you spent dating and choosing your mate it seems almost insane that we then go on to invite tiny humans into our lives where we get absolutely no say in who these little people are. We get no say in their personality, likes, dislikes, abilities, or disabilities. And we love them anyway. Every single human is a gamble and we love them anyway. People with disabilities are no different. I promise that you will love them anyway."
"Honestly, there are days when I'm completely overwhelmed by Charlie's inability to communicate and Jude's explosive personality. When that happens, I start thinking about all the great things they do."
"The best thing you can do is face it head on, not ignore it, and do your best to understand your child and their unique set of circumstances. All kids have obstacles they need to overcome! Ask for lots of advice and lean on others for support. And Never stop learning."
"I think the most significant thing I feel is this immense desire to protect my kids, especially Zane who just needs so much support and love. I believe it's why I feel a need to be a voice for him and all kids who are wired differently."
"There are tons of special needs Moms out there that feel the same as you. Find other special needs moms and get to know them. You will be so glad you did. We are a fun group of gals. TRUST ME."
"People with autism are...different. People with sensory issues are different. Everybody knows that. They are different. Not weird, not awkward, different. "
"Going out to a restaurant with a child is challenging, but when you have a child with autism, ADHD, sensory or other impulsivity issues it can be a daunting experience, trust me I know. Not only am I a board certified behavior analyst, but I am a mom of five children—including a son with autism—and a restaurant owner."
Finally, there is an affordable (and super cool) subscription box service that can make buying clothes easier for everyone.
"Follow your heart. Trust your gut. And never, for one single second, let anyone else's story define or determine yours. You and your children are unique. From the moment you became that kiddo's mother, YOU knew what was best for them. YOU and only you. Trust yourself and let your heart lead the way."
Going to the grocery store with your child can be overwhelming and stressful. But, with careful planning and preparation, you can get everything on your list and get out free of drama.
By Jacqueline Forchetti, BCBA