Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

June 25, 2024

Special Toys for All Kids

The right toy can help with your kids' development, gross motor skills and more.

We specially rounded up the best toys that are great for kids with special needs.

Kids who have special needs either have physical, behavioral/emotional limitations or be sensory impaired. Anything to comfort a child and improve their abilities is so important to their growth. In addition to special classes and parenting, parents can have some helpful sensory toys on-hand to help provide comfort to children who are anxious or have sensory processing issues. The right toys can also help aid in your kids’ coordination and muscle development if they have physical limitations; improve cognitive ability, memory and focus if they have ADHD or other learning difficulties.

“Sensory toys can be a combination of interaction plus soothing for our kiddos,” says Holly Young, founder and owner of local shop, Puzzle Pieces – A Sensory Sensation now located in Traders World Flea Market, plus an has an online shop. “Many love the light up toys and will gravitate to the lights as a way to calm down and self soothe when in need.”

Movement is another key component of finding the right toys for your special needs child because it teaches them spatial awareness or in other words, helps them to understand where their body is in relation to their surroundings, Young continues.

“This is why so many of our kiddos love to spin and jump, swing etc.,” she says.

Look for toys that are manipulatives, too, that work on fine motor functioning and help relax them, says Young. Not only is it important to find something that helps your kiddo, it’s important to have toys that help us to interact with them, too.

“Toys that allow us to be interactive with our kids are priceless,” she says. “Sometimes they may seem to be in their own world, so drawing them out in a fun and interesting way is great.”

Here are some of the best toys out there that not only cater to kids with special needs, but to any kiddo.

Bilbo Seating; $28.99; 2+

There’s more that meets the eye here; this simple-looking toy elegantly inspires creativity, imagination and promotes active play for all kids! It’s bright and colorful which makes it very appealing which immediately arouses curiosity; made from nontoxic, shatterproof polyethylene; durable and appropriate for both indoor and outdoor play; stimulates creativity, problem-solving and open-ended play.

Chasing Fireflies Kids Game; $34.99; 3+ 

Perfect for indoor or outdoor play! Watch your kids’ creativity spark; the fireflies light up in the dark and kids run about searching for the next Firefly to capture with their own two hands and add it to their team jar.

Spin Again; $34.95; 1 – 4 

Whether you stack it in a messy order or from big to small, let it spin! Kids love to stack and create with the vibrant discs onto the threaded corkscrew pole. From dynamic rainbow colors including magenta, lime, teal lemon, red and blue, this is great for hand-and-eye coordination; sorting, and color-recognition; cause-and-effect learning; creative play and more.

Whirley Squigz; $24.95; 10 mo. – 4 years

Round and round and round they go, when they stop nobody knows! This cool toy made from high-quality silicone is not only safe for teething babies, it can stick to any smooth flat surface including the bathtub wall, table or window. Great for sensory learning; cause-and-effect learning; early counting; soothing sore gums and more.

Dimpl Pops Deluxe; $24.95; 3 – 12 years

There is a reason “Deluxe” is in the name – there are 25 dimpl bubbles just waiting to be pushed, poked and popped for all of your little Dimpl Pop-lovers out there. The fun doesn’t stop once you pop! Great for fine motor skills, sensory learning and calmness; also a perfect toy to bring for long or short road trips.

About the Author

Amanda Hayward

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a mom of three with one on the way. If she's not writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.