As a physical therapist, I am often asked for toy suggestions from other therapists as well as parents and grandparents. Though many parents are familiar with sensory savvy toys, they often struggle with appropriate toys for developmental delays. I’ve selected my top favorite therapy toys that I not only love to use during therapy sessions but also suggest for parents to keep at home and use when I’m not around.
Peanut Balls. My number one go-to item for therapy is a peanut ball. Kids love to play with these odd shaped balls and, as a therapist, I love their usefulness. Peanut balls are great for seating, rolling, balancing, bouncing and just a plethora of developmental positions. Try tall kneeling on the floor and using the peanut ball for supporting the hands.
Foam Ball Pit. Ball pits encourage kids to get in and out, climb over and crawl through. They encourage heavy work and use muscles in a different way than traditional play. Hide objects in your pit and have your kids go find them.
Rockin Rocker Board. It’s small enough to toss up on the bookshelf, but sturdy enough to work on sitting and standing balance while playing. Have your child balance on the board while playing with toys or a game that is on a sturdy table or surface.
Spot Markers. Jump from puddle to puddle. Or learn colors with rhythmic stepping. Work on foot skills as well as use them for a spot to stand or sit. Spot Markers also work great for a placemat!
Saddle Scooter. It’s like a scooter board but with plenty of leg space. Kids can work on crawling, upper and lower extremity control and mobility.
Build N Balance Set. Not only is this a great balance tool, but it’s also a building toy for gross motor skills. Build the obstacle course of your dreams.
Air-Lite Tunnel. Inflate the barrel and then your child will automatically crawl inside (like a tunnel) and roll around, working on balance reactions and gross motor activities. Deflate some of the air and kids can crawl over the barrel too.
Traveller Hammock Swing. This is a must for every home! A swing that can travel or stay put. Use it for sitting balance, extension exercises and stretching while swinging. It’s super lightweight and compact, and can be a perfect therapy tool while on the go.
Rocking Raft. Such a great raft as it can be used for both rocking, sitting, kneeling and climbing (just flip it over for a rounded stable surface)! It provides excellent floor work and a dynamic surface for many developmental positions.
Hand-Eye Coordination Scarves. Work on tossing, stepping and catching, clapping and catching, hiding and finding, or jumping over them. These scarves are super lightweight, easy to take on the go and a great motivator for therapy sessions.