Good Finds! Toys-R-Us Differently-Abled Toy Guide (& my product picks for kidmin)
Each year Toys -R-Us produces a wonderful buying guide with special needs in mind. This catalog is as much an educational tool and idea-starter for anyone teaching children with learning differences. For churches that are nearing their budget year-end and have a few dollars remaining, I encourage you to take a look in this guide. There are several affordable products that could be great to have on hand in the children’s ministry environment that includes children with special needs.
You can download a FREE 2011 Toys-R-Us Toy Guide For Differently-Abled Kids here: 2011-TOYS R Us Differently Abled Guide -English.
Below are some of my favorite products that could be helpful in a kidmin setting:
- Foam Textured Blocks (P. 20) – Regular wooden blocks can become flying weapons. These foam blocks are more colorful and definitely safer!
- Electradoodle Creative Light System (P.29) – This is a great novelty toy to use with a kiddo who needs a distraction or a reward. While some fine motor skills are required to manipulate the stylus, handwriting ability isn’t required (many kids with learning disabilities don’t enjoy handwriting). A personal buddy may also provide assistance by allowing the child with special needs to place his or her hand over the buddy’s hand while the buddy directly manipulates the stylus.
- Camouflage Netting (P. 34) – Visual boundaries are often needed to create a quiet space that is still visible to caregivers. This netting is brilliant and could be draped around an area with a bean bag chair or soft mats to create a sizable chill-space.
- Dinosaur Train InterAction Figures (P. 34) – These toys are great tools to entertain a child through a transition. For a student who may wander or bolt when moving from one environment to another, allow the child to carry and play with this toy during the “trip” to the new setting. The 40 different sounds provided by this cause-and-effect toy is sure to keep an agitated kiddo occupied during a difficult transition. These toys can also be used as tool for redirection (finding something that interests a child can be a quick solution to a mounting melt-down!)
- Kids Trampoline with Handle (P. 40) – Rowdy behavior is sometimes a child’s way of trying to meet their need for gross motor movement. Children with sensory seeking needs (common in children with ADHD, autism, and sensory integration disorder) often calm after quick spurts of physical energy. Trampolines with handles can offer a wonderful space-saving and safe solution. Providing a few jumps on the trampoline may be just what the doctor ordered to keep a child with sensory needs (and the volunteers!) happy.