Ever wonder why children love getting dizzy, swinging, or playing ‘Ring around the Rose’? Because it makes their vestibular system feel good! The vestibular system helps our bodies know where they are in relation to our world around us. For example, it helps us know if we are leaning forward, falling, or just standing still. The vestibular system plays a key role in balance!
The best place for your child to develop their vestibular skills is the playground! Below are some toys that are great for enhancing your child’s vestibular development. What better way to help develop their vestibular systems than playing with fun toys!
- Spooner Board
This is a balance board. Using it can help improve core strength and stability, balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. Kids can do so many activities on this board: stand, sit, rock, slide, and more! Purchase it here!
- Sit N Spin
This is a toy where children are in complete control! They are encouraged to spin while maintaining their balance! This strengthens their upper body, but also allows them to have movement input at their own speed. Purchase it here!
The simplest way for a child to get a vestibular workout is through jumping! There are so many things that children can do with a trampoline. You can do a “Freeze Dance” activity where you play music and your child jumps until the music stops and then they “freeze” as fast as they can – challenging them to stop on all different stages of jumping! Place balls on the trampoline and have them pretend they are “lava” and jump around them to avoid being trapped! Purchase it here!
- Swivel Cars
Swivel cars are a great resource for getting your child to use the natural forces, such as gravity, to further explore spatial awareness. Kids get the feeling of both linear and horizontal movement! Purchase it here!
- Moon Shoes
Like stated before, jumping is a great exercise for a child to help with their vestibular development. These moon shoes are like mini trampolines for their feet! Purchase them here!
Rody is an inflatable toy that helps your child with their balance and coordination. This toy can include rocking, jumping, bouncing and playing in all sorts of directions. Have a race with your child to see who can move the fastest! Purchase it here!
- Scooter Board
Scooter boards are versatile and involve lots of vestibular movement! These boards are great tools for spinning and moving in all directions. Your child can lay on their stomach or their back for even more options! The scooter board also comes with handles, which helps create more balance and stability. Purchase it here!
- Wobble Disc
This disc is great for targeting many skills at once! It promotes balance while providing vestibular input! You can have your child stand on it and balance while performing fine motor tasks like stringing beads or gross motor tasks like catching and throwing a ball! Purchase it here!
- Foam Pogo Stick
This toy is great for all ages, including the parents. Not only does this help your child with vestibular movement, it can also be used for math skills and spelling words. You can use chalk to draw numbers or letters on the ground. Then you can have your child add or subtract numbers by jumping to them, or have them spell words by jumping to each letter. Purchase it here!
Swings are a great way to work on vestibular development. They are fun and functional! Check out the Chicago Occupational Therapy blog “Use of Swings in Occupational Therapy” for a full list of swings and how they are used during occupational therapy sessions!
Do you have questions about your child’s vestibular development and occupational therapy?
Contact Chicago Occupational Therapy or call (773) 980-0300 to learn more about our services and how we can help your child flourish and grow.