Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gavin's favorite toys

I have had half this post written for months now (mom of the year, I tell ya).  It was inspired because I have recieved some emails regarding the types of  toys that Gavin enjoys.  Most have been from other parents who have a blind/VI child, others are from teachers, or family.  I decided to share some of Gavin's favorites that he has shown interest in.  We are constantly rotating toys.  Upstairs toys, downstairs toys, car toys.  Car toys are VERY important especially for a little eye presser!  You have to keep those hands occupied.  I have brailled most of them, the ones I haven't yet - I just haven't been able to ... yet.  So I keep the ability to braille the toys on my mind when choosing a toy for Gavin

The toys below made the top list. 
[These are not specifically for a blind/VI child.]

The first set below, are great "car toys".  We travel to Gavin's therapy, and it's a 2 hour round trip every week.  We sit in the car line at school to pick up Landon (45 minutes early) everyday.  A "car toy bag" is a necessity for Gavin, and these are a few that keep him occupied.  (Along with the Goldfish and Juice cup) that are a staple in the car.  All are brailled (by me - they did not come brailled).  All are perfect size for his lap in a car seat.  The top two, were great when he was smaller (bigger buttons). 

(yeah ignore the spacing, I know the pictures are not even)

The next row of toys, are ones he plays with either standing up, or on the floor.  Little big bigger than the car toys.  The "piano" is his favorite.  He loves piano, he loves his keyboard, and he loves his meow piano.  It has more buttons than just the keys, and he has mastered every single one.  It's quite fascinating to watch his little fingers trail over the toy to find the exact button he wants.

(here too, I'm too tired)

(it is annoying, I know... but it's not cooperating)

This alphabet train from Vtech is awesome!  All the blocks have a different letter of the alphabet, there is a hole to drop the blocks in with music (as a reward for doing so).  There is a book on the side of the train, and the pages of course turn.  It's a book of the alphabet.  You can store the blocks under the seat of the train, and the train also has a seat you can sit on.  Getting "on" and "off" of anything is HUGE for Gavin, especially giving him the confidence he can do it himself.  This is a perfect height, not too far off the ground.

It's a great toy with many learning aspects!  Our big hurdle is getting him to play with his braille books more often.  He is turning the pages on the book of the alphabet train, and it's great becase it's in the form of play and not direct instruction.

Gavin's favorite place in the house is the kitchen.  Of course!  With drawers that make noise, and annoying mom with pulling everything out of the drawers, how can you not?  When he was younger, our biggest struggle was getting him to play with toys in an upright, standing position.  This magnetic word builder is PERFECT!  He can play in the kitchen, he needed to be upright to play this fun toy.  We have about 4 of these on our refrigerator, but this is his favorite.

He also like the magnetic braille magnet letters.  I can't find that on Amazon, but will update when I do.

This jungle activity center was great when he was right around 1 year of age.  It was a perfect height, and he actually started his first time "cruising" around this toy, and the couch.  It is sturdy, it provided stability, and it was enticing.  You can drop the ball at the top, the monkey plays different music, and you can "hide" the balls in the hippos belly and elephant's nose.  Now, at over 2 years old, he still asks to play with the "monkey" as he calls it.  His fun he gets out of it now, is quickly putting all our ping pong balls at the top, and finding which side it has come out of (there are two exits).  Provides directional instruction (on top of, to the right, left of the monkey, etc).

Moving to the very important Vestibular Stimulation. This indoor or outdoor trampoline is great!  We usually keep it indoors, but we can move it outside pretty easily.  Gavin can jump for hours, and there is also music on the handlebars.  It feeds the vestibular stimulation that his body desperately needs.  It's not too big, and is perfect height just for him.  He reaches the handlebars great.  It is also teaching to get him "on" and "off" of things, while he jumps "up" and "down" usually while singing "Five Little Monkeys". 

It introduces a lot of directional listening skills, and engages him for hours!

Ok, I am saving his ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TOY for last!  You would think this toy was paying him to advertise it.  My word.  Where do I start?  He first found this toy at Blind Children's Learning Center.  He was intrigued at the first spin!  BUT, he just wanted to spin it with his hands.  It's made to sit and spin around, kind of like a sit and spin, but without the middle part.  It's completely flat, hence the name "disc".

Gavin calls it the "round and round".  On therapy days at BCLC,  before we get in the car, he asks for the "round and round", because he knows we will be playing with the sacred spinning toy very soon.

He now has advanced to actually getting on and off the "round and round".  This will be a toy to have as he gets older too.  Gavin likes to spin in circles, as many blind children do.  It's more socially acceptable to spin around on a toy that actually is meant for that.  I can envision Gavin being 4 years old, on his belly, and spinning on it till there is smoke.

These toys are in addition to his blocks, and all of the unanimated/non-music toys.  We are working with pegs, pegboards, pull apart toys, etc. to also work on fine motor and hand strength that will help with his cane grasp.  Many things that we are making strides in, is mostly done in a non-direct instruction manner!

Thank you toys!

1 comment:

  1. Johanna & TomMarch 23, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Thanks for sharing. Did you order these all from Amazin? I'm interested in 2 of them for a 4 year old VI (and other secondary conditions). Ui think he would realy enjoy the monkey gym for sure.
    I emailed you from my husbands email (Tom).
    I appreciate your guidance


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