Sensory Toy Ideas for Littles

The following is a list of toys I typically send to parents and fellow therapists around the holidays. There are all great ideas to get some movement and sensory play in while the weather may be keeping kids inside. These ideas are great for holiday shopping but can really be used year round!

Parents typically like to pass this list along to grandparents, or anyone asking for ideas on what to get their little one. Most are sold on amazon, but a simple Google search of the toy name may provide additional purchasing options. Please feel free to reach out with any questions at OT.LeahForeman@gmail.com.

PEA-POD

Great for sensory breaks, joint compression, and a make shift swing for small spaces if hanging a swing from your ceiling at home isn’t an option! If you want the swing feature get one with handles — I found this one on Amazon.


WEIGHTED BLANKETS and VESTS from The Sensory Project

**please collaborate with a therapist or a staff member of The Sensory Project for selection of weight and guidance in use **

KINETIC SAND

Texture, fine motor skills, pretend play, all of the fun things with Kinetic Sand, one of my favorites!

POP TUBES

Provide deep heavy input and auditory input for the movers and the seekers. I got mine on Amazon but I’ve seen them randomly in Dollar Stores too!

CANDO® VESTIBULAR DISC

Great wiggle seat for meal time or table time activities. Two sided texture depending on the child’s preference of level of input seeking.

SENSORY GEL MAZE

These are wonderful fidgets, car time activities, and amazing for finding calm. I also love that these address fine motor skills, finger isolation and strengthening, enhancing tactile awareness, and so many cognitive skills! Great buy.

SQUIGZ

Fine motor strength, joint input. These are so fun to put on a window and pull off, build towers — there are so many games and activities to play with these and kids just love them!

BALANCE PODS

For walking and balancing on. They make them in a smooth version as well depending on your child’s preference on texture.

POD SWING

If you are able to hang this swing in your home (maybe from a basement beam?) — they are awesome! Great for sensory breaks and for those who calm with swinging. IKEA has a similar version.

BALANCE BOARD/WIGGLE SEAT

For sensory seekers who may also need to work on coordination and impulse control. Can be used with adult safety supervision to stand or as a wiggle seat.

Z-VIBE

For oral sensory seekers (chewing or mouthing everything!) and low oral motor tone/strength or kiddos working on feeding. *these are typically used under the treatment plan of a feeding therapist (Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist). It is best to at lest collaborate with a therapist on effect and safe use of this product*

PEANUT BALL

For bouncing and providing deep pressure during sensory breaks or within an OT prescribed sensory diet. There are many options on Amazon but make sure to buy child size, not adult. Most come with hand-pump.

SHAPE BEANBAGS

For color and shape learning and great for heavy work/proprioceptive input.

SENSORY TUNNEL

These are awesome for interactive play or sensory breaks. Amazon also has some with ball pits in the tunnels! So cool.

SCOOTER WITH PADDLE

Upper body strength and joint input for calming, strengthening — also helps with motor planning. And they’re just fun for the whole family.

INDOOR TRAMPOLINE

Awesome for use with sensory diet or before kiddo needs to attend to activity or family outing.

SIT AND SPIN

For kiddos who love to spin! This one can be used with a friend or by themselves.

WEIGHTED ANIMALS

Similar concept to weighted blanket or a weighted lap pad.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. These are great recommendations! I have got to get the Pea Pod — I think Pax would love that. Although at this time I see him more jumping on and off of it than settling in like that kid ^. We have the indoor trampoline which Pax loves, and Cal likes to climb on top of it and crawl around. The kinetic sand is another I think Pax would really enjoy. Right now, my challenge is encouraging him to enjoy a task for more than a few minutes at a time. He loves painting right now, so we get him all set up and then he gets bored after 5 min. Would love to hear your tips on this, or if it’s just age-appropriate behavior right now. Love you!

    1. Love that you realize that he needs more to maintain attention. In this day and age, sustained attention is really hard — even for adults! The kinetic sand is great, you can build castles and playing with it in water is so cool! He’d love it! If painting is his jam right now, can he use different types of “brushes”? cotton balls, cue tips, leaves, a “big” brush (wall painting brush) etc. Anything to make it novel and exciting. Marble painting is fun! Adding mixed media too – feathers, glitter — can mix it up. None of this is mess-less but that’s what makes it fun and a well-rounded sensory/learning activity. Pax, the artist. <3

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