Note: This blog was written by Shawna, one of our great OT’s prior to going on maternity leave
As a pediatric occupational therapist and soon to be mother, I have made the choice to try to only have non-battery-operated toys. Battery operated toys tend to be very stimulating (bright lights, loud noises, etc.) and to a newborn baby this can be overwhelming as they have been inside a relatively dark and quiet space for the past nine months. For that reason, I am a very strong believer that non-battery-operated toys have positive benefits on several areas of development because they foster creativity and allow the child to use their imagination. They also help build problem-solving skills and facilitate language development, as well as promoting sensory development in a more subtle manor. Because a child has to use these additional skills, these type of toys tend to hold a child’s attention longer, compared to battery operated toys that do everything for them.
A few of my favorite toys I have received so far include:
· Stack and Roll Cups: promotes eye-hand coordination through stacking towers; 2-hand coordination through putting cups together and rolling them across the floor; comes with a ball that makes noise and can be placed inside the ball or balanced on the tower.
· Homemade Sensory Hula-Hoop: a hula-hoop with a variety fabrics, beads, ribbons, small toys, mirror, etc. which provides a multi-sensory component through sounds, touch and visual stimulation; a great way to promote tummy time. See the picture above as an example.
· Castle Marble Works: facilitates development of cause and effect; balls make noise which adds a sensory component.
· PipSquigz- very versatile toy that can be used in a variety of places (i.e. highchair, bath tub, stroller, floor play); they can be suctioned together or to a smooth surface which allows the child to pull or tug; they are a textured silicone which provides a tactile sensory experience and when shaken make noise.
For questions about these and other recommended toys, please speak with any of our therapists here at TOPS!