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Ilana Danneman
BY Ilana Danneman
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My Top Ten Favorite Toys for 2014

What makes a great toy? Parents may tell you it’s a toy that keeps their kids busy. Kids will tell you it’s a toy that is “fun.” I have polled our “experts” and the results are in! The greatest toys for 2014 are the most hands on, body-bending, mind-engaging toys that will keep your kids busy for a long time, thinking, moving and planning.

Here are my favorite toys for 2014 and I think you’ll agree that their “fun” appeal is alluring, to say the least. I understand the allure of techno-toys but these 3-D toys outsmart and “out-fun” the techy competition hands down.

1. Discovery Putty

Ranked as our number one favorite toy this year is Discovery Putty: the Putty With Pieces. The reviews are raving! Kids migrate to Discovery Putty like bees to honey. Your children will want no other toy this year. It’s packable (take it on a trip) and can be used over and over again. Encourage fine motor, motor planning, , visual motor and speech/language skills. Ages  5+

2. Chewy Necklace Kit

Got a biter? This chewy necklaces kit encourages more than a good bite. Kids can actually make their own necklace. The coils can be scrunched or spread-out to accommodate individual tactile needs. Encourages fine motor, creativity, social and oral motor skills. Ages 6+

3. Give a Flip

A challenge at first but then addicting. Place any object on the board, stomp, watch it flip up and then catch it on its way down. Encourages hand-eye and hand-foot coordination as well as motor planning and timing. Ages 3+

4. Space Explorers

Stretch, move, pretend and relax. Space Explores provide just enough resistance to moving body parts. Kids love to pretend in them and all the while getting great heavy work, proprioception and body awareness. Ages 3+

5. Soft Scooters

Scooters are terrific for your sensory seekers. They encourage motor planning, balance and teach directionality too! Kids love scooters and therapist love their vestibular effects. Scooters require heavy bodywork, which can filter an onslaught of sensory information. Just a few minutes on a scooter can make a world of difference for your child’s ability to focus and concentrate. Ages 18 mo+

6. Cozy Canoe

A great toy for kids of all ages, a Cozy Canoe provides a hug to those who need some extra deep pressure and down time to chill and relax. Of course some kids will use their canoe for heavy playtime and that is great too! They can rock and roll their way out of the wiggles. Ages 3+

7. Fun Frames

IT’s a fort, a playhouse and a sensory room. Make it into a teepee, a corner spot, and a sleeping spot. Drape it with the accessory cover or throw your own blanket or sheet over the top. It’s the best pretend toy and portable sensory room we’ve seen on the market. Ages 18 mo+

8. Break Box

Touch. Handwork. Movement. Pressure. Stretch. Sound. The Break Box is all you need for a plethora of sensory tools all in one box. Take it on a trip. Keep in a classroom, clinic or home.  A perfect gift for your special needs sensory seeker or your classroom teacher! Use it before, during or after school. Ages 3+

9. Air Lite Ball Pit

Toss in some pillows, balls or use it as an empty space to hangout and read , socialize or talk. The Air-Lite Ball Pit is about all you need to fill your sensory room, clinic or playroom for movement, therapy or sensory time. Ages 3+

10. Reggie Regulation Ruler

It’s the emotional ruler that lets kids figure out their emotional state and then select an activity on the ruler to regulate. They can also squish Reggie up and down the ruler and measure too! Keep one at home and gift one to your favorite teacher. Ages 4+

Ilana Danneman

Written on December 3, 2014 by:

Ilana Danneman is a product developer for Fun And Function. She has worked with therapists, teachers and parents of special needs children for 20 years and has been a physical therapist herself since 1986 with experience in acute care, spinal cord injury (Shepherd Center), outpatient rehab and pediatrics. Ilana has a passion for writing and teaching kids (and adults) how to move! She can be reached at [email protected]
  • christina

    Thanks for the list! I wish everything wasn’t so costly – definitely out of our price range.

  • autismlaughtertherapy

    For the parents… this book. http://www.thriveinchaos.com. Parents with special needs kids with laugh hysterically.

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