Toys toys toys! There are so many out there and so few that smaller babies can really hold under a year! With Black Friday coming up, I wanted to share my Must-Haves for LPs, or any small child! There are a lot of questions about what is best for babies based on science and health, but what about for FUN?! While the Bumbo is out for children with achondroplasia, Addie wanted to show you her favorites for the under 18 months crowd!
Here are awesome choices for budding brains and tiny hands:
2. Balls. Different balls and games with balls give a lot of depth to learning. Addie loved the O-Ball for it’s small spaces which make it perfect to hold, and the areas of “shaker” make it impossible to not shake (this works the muscles of the arms and promotes hand strength!). The O-Ball is light and comes in lots of colors and is priced under $10! This is a MUST, as it will move from teether to shaker to toss-and-kick, without missing a beat (literally!). Other awesome toys are ones that make you move– which help work the core, coordination and encourage children to get rolling!
3. Sophie…. These are great for sensory and muscle! For starters, Sophie doesn’t require a lot of strength to squeak. A lot of toys, I found, were in need of some baby muscles, and Addie just didn’t have those. When we found Sophie, she squeaked! It was perfect for us. The Sophie teether is great, too. The size is perfect for small hands, and the ridges make it a perfect appeaser for those swollen gums!
4. Water toys! They’re perfect for working muscles, but also sparking the imagination! Different toys offer different benefits, of course, but water play is so important to building muscles! We use them to encourage Addie to sit for longer periods of time, as well as stay balance when passing one items between her hands. Giving her things to squeeze water in and out of is great too- any OT will agree!
5. THIS sensory box from Lakeshore Learning is a great gift for all children, but I found it perfectly suited for the small, curious hands of an older LP child. With toys ranging from animals to transportation, and the box top being easy to get in and out (again, working hand strength, as well as the mind!), this gift is one that is sure to make your kids think… and come back for more! At 19 months Addie wants to name them all, at 12 months she just made it a goal to get them all back in after she’d gotten them out. At 9 months she simply wanted to get them all out… I cannot wait until she starts to guess them before she pulls them out!
6. A play mat… Any one will do. We hung lots of different things from ours- most notably Mortimer the Moose Play mats are great for tummy time, reaching, kicking, and learning to roll from one thing to another- things that many LP kids will work on in therapy can be done while having fun in your own home!
7. Elephant… this guy from Mamas and Papas is an essential. Not only does it have lots of eye catching color, but bells in the feet, crinkle in the ears and a bird pulley that vibrates, but it also sports a little mirror and a trunk you can bend and shape! All the activities are great for hand strength, encourage your child to move and explore, and are easy to maneuver, avoiding frustration that can come from growing minds with tiny hands.
8. Mirror… there is nothing better for head strength. We used one with velcro to hang wherever we were, as well as folded out. During tummy time Addie would hold her head up trying to look up at herself while leaning on a nursing pillow- since her diagnosis, docs have been impressed with her head control- I attribute it to the mirror!
9. Little Tikes Activity Table… We still use this- now as a desk for Addie. When she was younger she kicked it and then used it for tummy time, then as a bench. The seat is nice and low and it is sturdy enough for her to get in and out without tipping. If there is one thing your LP child “needs”, it’s this table! Older kids? Check THIS table out! Or THIS great swing set that was made for smaller children who want all the older kid stuff, but maybe can’t reach it safely, yet… Addie loves hers!
10. Rattles: These inexpensive toys are great for hand and arm strength, perfecting balance and core muscles and hand-eye coordination. Addie loves to shake the a rattle while she’s walking, giving her core quite a challenge (just what we want to build those baby abs!). These make great stocking stuffers!
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah (to those who celebrate) and a good Black Friday (for those who participate)… I hope these items help close those wishlist gaps for all children… with special attention on those with small hands, yet budding minds!
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