Sensory Toy Ideas for Littles

leah foreman

hello. my name is leah foreman. as an occupational therapy practitioner, my purpose and goal are to make access to health and wellness easier for all, because i believe all human beings are born with a right to experience wholeness and joy. i am passionate, involved, and balanced in my practice. my dedication is to general wellness for myself and those around me, including my family and my clients. you can find me sharing and advocating on my instagram (@lifesoccupations) and the life’s occupations blog. you can see me in my real life living out these values, promoting and teaching on pediatric development, safer consumer products, and the importance of mindfulness practice. you can also find me advocating for healthcare providers’ wellness — in collaboration with Joy Energy Time, a company that supports wellness and burnout prevention for all healthcare workers. i have been able to work with many clients to learn what is important to them when it comes to their lives and their health. i am experienced in pediatric early intervention, providing support for little ones for developmental milestones and feeding. connect with me to learn more about how i can support you and/or your little ones in experiencing this life how you are meant to experience it.

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.

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