You may know by now that Guidecraft makes fun learning toys for home and educational toys and furniture for the classroom. Many of their products are also accessible and helpful for children with disabilities.
The two items I am sharing this month are ones that are fun for typically developing children but take on a whole other dimension when they are used for occupational therapy with children with special needs.
Rocking back and forth feels good–that’s why infant swings are best sellers and even adults like rocking chairs. A rocking motion relaxes and may help regulate breathing and heart rate. Rocking also helps children with attention disorders release energy and focus better. Rocking may even help brain development.
Not only is rocking back and forth is comforting and fun for children, it also helps promote a sense of balance. The Balance Base from Guidecraft has two sides for two different balancing challenges. At first, it may be all you can do to stay on! Once you become accustomed to balancing, you can count how many times you can rock back and forth in a minute. Try rocking slowly, try rocking fast!
I also like that this is an active toy that gets kids moving when you are stuck in doors–perfect for January!
Just like the balance base, the Multi Match Sensory Discs have multiple play possibilities for both typically developing children and children with special needs.
Simple learning games with the discs teach basic skills. Hand tiles can be matched by color and number and shape.
The discs also promote tactile learning. Tactile learning has been shown to deepen understanding and improve retention–even among graduate students! The sense memory of touch provides a hook, much like Velcro, onto which new knowledge “sticks”. Feel the discs with eyes closed to match and see how you do!
Kids can also practice gross motor function, jumping from plate to plate or tossing the hand tiles onto the matching discs.
Guidecraft delivers a lot of play value and quality for the money. Although these two toys at MSRP might be priced out of the range of ordinary home use, they make a perfect addition to any classroom or therapists office and may be worth it for families with a child with special needs and may be found on sale.
- Leave a comment telling us how you would use the balance base or multi match sensory discs.
- Leave a separate comment sharing a favorite item from Guidecraft other than the two in this review.
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Prize ships directly from Guidecraft and Mamanista is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Giveaway ends 11:59 PM EST, January 13, 2012. Shipping to US & Canada ONLY.
And the winner as of January 13 is: Margo!
Disclosure: I wrote this review as part of the Guidecraft Educators program.