It seems that each generation is growing up with more technologically advanced toys than the one before. As technology evolves, however, you might stop and wonder whether the high-tech toys are the most beneficial from a developmental standpoint. The same goes for toys used in occupational therapy. Many children receive occupational therapy to build pivotal skills needed to complete their daily activities, also known as “occupations.” Some of the skills targeted in therapy might include motor or sensory skills. Sensory skills involve using your five senses, such as sight or touch, to complete these daily activities.
As a way to supplement lessons taught in occupational therapy, it can be helpful for parents and teachers to incorporate games that improve sensory skills into home or school routines. If you stroll through the toy aisles in stores or scroll through pages of toys online, it seems that toys are the market today are never-ending. However, we will focus on five of the best sensory skill games. This format can be much more fun for young children who may not necessarily be thrilled with the idea of additional therapy outside of their sessions with their occupational therapist (OT).
Sensory shapes: These blocks can be helpful for children building sensory skills as they have textured sides. A child with sensory issues or sensory processing disorder (SPD) might use these to self-soothe. Here is a link to buy your own set.
Relaxation toys: Some children with sensory issues may benefit from toys that help to reduce anxiety and stress. This might be in the form of a “fidget,” which they can use in a classroom under their desk or in a range of other settings. Here is an example of a “Tangle” toy on Amazon.
Water beads: These toys, while seemingly simple, can be an excellent tool for child with sensory issues. Water beads especially target tactile sensory skills, as well as other skills targeted in occupational therapy (e.g. fine motor skills). Click here to get your own set of water beads.
Sensory balls: These are great sensory skills toys for children, since they have a textured surface and can be squeezed. Click here to get your own.
Rattles or teething toys: These can be great toys to improve sensory skills, as they incorporate many different senses. There are many different models of rattles and teething toys that can be used as sensory toys, but here is an example of a popular model on Amazon.
Would you like to learn more about how sensory toys are used in occupational therapy?
Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services for children, including applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.