Welcome to Part 3 of our series on equipping your special needs classroom. This week’s installment will focus on toys that improve students’ fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are small muscle movements in the fingers, thumb and hands that work in coordination with the eyes to perform important tasks such as writing, dressing, eating and toileting. According to Kid Sense, they’re “essential for performing everyday skills… as well as academic skills. Without the ability to complete these everyday tasks, a child’s self-esteem can suffer, their academic performance is compromised and their play options are very limited. They are also unable to develop appropriate independence in ‘life’ skills (such as getting dressed and feeding themselves) which in turn has social implications not only within the family but also within peer relationships.”
Many children with special needs require extra practice to develop their fine motor skills. Enabling Devices designs and adapts many toys and training products that offer fun ways to improve their fine motor skills. Here are some of our favorites:
NEW! Fine Motor Kits (#4395 and #4396) each contain nine fun and engaging products to strengthen muscles, improve dexterity and grasping, and develop eye-hand coordination. Two age appropriate kits (child and teen) are great for Occupational Therapists and Special Ed teachers to use in a school setting.
Tactile Manipulatives (#1365) This set of nine fun and therapeutic manipulatives helps students strengthen and gain tactile awareness of their hands and fingers, improve fine motor skills while it also relieves tension and improves focus and attention.
The Pull Ball (#416) encourages children to practice reaching, grasping and pulling. Designed like a whiffle ball, the multicolored pull ball is perforated with holes that allow a child’s fingers to easily slip in, grasp and pull. Even the gentlest tug activates the toy’s music and lights. Children will be motivated to reach out, grasp and pull again and again.
Chunky Tic Tac Toe (#3602) Perfect for children who have difficulty with fine motor, dexterity or grasping, this special take on a classic game has large easy-to-hold shapes and giant knobs.
The Therapeutic Manipulator (#2304) encourages fine motor development while also teaching other important skills. This colorful and versatile activity center helps students develop finger isolation, reaching and grasping skills while it also offers tactile, visual and auditory stimulation and teaches cause and effect. Children will love pulling the manipulator’s “wiggle people” to hear their wacky sounds and rotating the blue and green worm to see a lightshow with music and vibration. Turning the manipulator’s knob and pushing its green button provides even more sensory surprises.
Drop-in-a-Bucket (#349) This uniquely designed shape-sorter has a low profile that’s ideal for players with limited reach. The toy helps children learn their shapes while they improve their fine motor skills. When players fit the right shapes into the right openings, they’re rewarded by music and lights.
ADL Boards (#7006) give students valuable practice with the fine motor skills they will need to dress themselves – lacing, buttoning, zipping and snapping.
Finger Isolation Button (#716) The recessed button on this uniquely designed, colorful switch encourages practice of fine motor and finger isolation skills needed for mastery of computers and touch screen devices.
Weighted Hand Writing Glove (#3974W) This versatile weighted glove provides proprioceptive input and compression that helps students perform a variety of fine motor and self-help activities. A must for any classroom.
For more toys and training products that improve fine motor skills, click here.