As the holidays approach, and family starts asking for Christmas lists, the question of what toys are most beneficial for Hannah comes to mind. This year, I decided to ask her occupational therapist, as well as her speech and language therapist which toys they felt would be most beneficial for her age group. I received some really great suggestions, so I wanted to share them with y’all! Here is my list (inspired by OTs and SLPs) of the top 7 toys for children ages 1-3 who have Down syndrome.
This pig is literally everywhere we go. We have seen him at the Thomas Center, Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, and from Early Intervention. This toy will help develop fine motor skills by having children place coins in the slot, as well as encouraging them to use their pointer finger to open the “bank.” With fun songs and noises, different stages, and an on/off switch, this toy is a win for children and parents.
This stacker is the perfect combination of simplicity, fun, and learning. Once your little one has mastered the traditional plastic stacker, they may be ready to move up to this stacker. With a smaller base and holes, it’s the right amount of challenging to still be fun yet educational.
Wooden blocks are the perfect fine motor building toy. They are fun to build up, and even more fun to knock down. With colors, numbers, letters, and pictures, these blocks can teach so much more than fine motor skills! Any wooden blocks will do, but these blocks are the perfect size, have upper and lower case letters, and come with a convenient mesh bag for storage.
A classic shape sorter is the perfect gift for this age because most children enjoy putting things “in.” It is great for developing those ever important fine motor skills, but also for encouraging speech and teaching signs. It’s fun to sign and say, “in” and “out” while playing with this toy. You can’t really go wrong with a classic toy like a shape sorter!
Mega Bloks are great not only for stacking, but for developing hand strength. Children can stack with these, and also pull them apart, which takes some strength and the correct grasp. When we work with Hannah, we build a tower, then hold it and have her take each block off one by one. These also comes in lots of different, fun colors!
Animal toys are great for not only teaching children their animals and sounds, but also for encouraging them to talk and mimic noises. Any farm playset will do, but this Fisher-Price set gets great reviews, comes with realistic animals, and is reasonably affordable.
Ride on toys are great for teaching balance and how to use your feet to move. They build core strength, while still being lots of fun. They are also a great way to get outside in the summer! This Fisher-Price fire stuck is super cute, fun, and gets great reviews. There are a few other style options as well.