Are you looking for sensory toys in Rome, GA? Trendy Teachers has a large selection of sensory toys and therapy products for children with special needs like ADHD, autism, or sensory processing disorders. We have products like vests, fidgets, weighted lap pads, and lots more!
How Sensory Toys Aid in Development
As young children grow, their senses sharpen to help them experience their world. The signals sent from these senses through the nervous system to the brain integrate, helping children to interpret what their senses are experiencing and allowing them to develop responses to those experiences.
Sensory toys add a critical level of sensory input and interest to sensory play. Some sensory toys target a specific area of sensory input to facilitate the development of that sense, while other sensory toys offer multiple methods of sensory input to help the senses integrate.
Children who are developing normally instinctively select sensory toys that target those senses currently developing in a child’s neurological system. For example, a child who repeatedly selects sand toys or play foam during playtime may be seeking tactile input for a developing sense of touch.
Children with sensory processing differences may avoid certain types of toys due to sensory sensitivities or may overly focus on one type of sensory toy while ignoring others. Parents, teachers, and other adults may need to guide children with sensory differences as they play with sensory toys.
The following lists of sensory toys are meant as a guide. Do not feel that you have to purchase or make every toy on the list to provide your child with the sensory variety that they need during play.
Remember that your child’s preferences will give you an indication of their sensory needs, so you may want to follow their lead. That being said, it can’t hurt to have a sensory toy or two from each sensory area available as your child grows.
Briefly, here is a review of the body’s senses:
Vision – perceiving the world through sight.
Hearing – perceiving sound, also called auditory.
Touch – also called tactile, this sense uses the nerve endings under the skin to send signals to the brain.
Smell – called olfactory, sense of smell and taste are closely tied together.
Taste – perceiving the different characteristics of food, liquid, and anything else that goes in the mouth.
Vestibular – controlled by the inner ear, this sense lets the body know whether it is moving or still and where it is in relation to its surroundings.
Proprioception – this sense comes from the nerve endings in the body’s joints and tells a person where the arms, legs, and other body parts are in relation to each other.
Interoception – a recent addition to the sensory list, interoception helps the body to know how it is feeling inside. Hunger, thirst, pain, fatigue, and the feeling of sickness are all communicated to the brain through interoception.
Therapeutic Sensory Toys
Therapeutic sensory toys are more specialized than everyday sensory toys. These toys are developed to provide specific types of sensory input for children who have sensory processing problems. Children often use these toys in school or pediatric hospital settings.
Tactile Substance Toys
Tactile substance toys stimulate the small nerve endings under the skin of children's fingertips. This stimulation helps children to develop their sense of touch.
The act of manipulating substances also helps fine motor development. The colors and scents added to tactile substance toys help to integrate the senses of vision and smell into the play experience.
Stress balls give children a manageable resistance while squeezing, allowing them to feel the texture of the ball and the resistance of the foam. This helps a child to be aware of the position and strength of the fingers as they hold the object.
Rainsticks provide regular, rhythmic auditory input to help develop the sense of hearing. The colored beads and moving parts inside toy rain sticks also help to stimulate visual processing. Children with sensory processing problems often find rain sticks calming.
A rocking board made of plastic or wood, with a non-skid standing surface. The child stands on the board and attempts to keep their balance.Target senses: Vestibular, proprioception
Sensory Development: Balance boards help children to develop their sense of balance and position in space.
A squishy, stretchy, resistive substance that can be squeezed, pulled and rolled.
Target senses: Touch, proprioception
Sensory Development: Putty has been used by therapists for years to help strengthen hands. Children now use it to help develop the nerve endings in their fingers and to help them discriminate where their fingers are in relation to each other.
Weighted Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals that contain weighted materials. These stuffed animals are soft but feel heavier than regular stuffed animals.
Target senses: Touch, proprioception
Sensory Development: Weighted stuffed animals help to stimulate the proprioceptive nerve endings while calming the touch nerve endings. The result is a calming effect that is helpful to children with excess movement needs or sensitivity to touch.
A necklace made of chewable plastic material, tube or pendant shaped.
Target sense: Oral proprioception
Sensory Development: Chewy items like tubes and necklaces give children proprioceptive input to their mouths and jaws. These items give children who crave this input alternatives to chewing on their clothing, hair, pencils, or other inappropriate items.
Fidget toys are small toys that can be held in the hands and played with in a fidgeting manner. They come in many shapes, sizes and styles involving moving parts and squishy textures.
Target senses: Touch, vision, proprioception
Sensory Development: Fidget toys help children to develop their senses of touch and proprioception in their hands and fingers. These toys give children an outlet when they need to move but are required to sit quietly.
The colors and moving parts of fidget toys help to develop visual processing.