These toys will help build skills without being overly challenging.
If your child has special needs, it's important to find toys that challenge her without being discouraging, says Diana Nielander, of the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit dedicated to making play accessible to children with disabilities. The organization partnered with Toys "R" Us to put together its 2008 Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids -- check out these picks from the guide.
Gross Motor Skills
The Inchworm by Radio Flyer (2 to 5 years)
The worm moves forward when your child bounces up and down, which encourages him to use his legs and trunk muscles for balance. $45
Little Mommy Doctor Set by Mattel (2 years and up)
Taking care of a "sick" friend can help your child learn empathy, social interaction, and expressive language. $16
Fine Motor Skills
Fine Motor Skills
TaDoodles All-in-One Paint by Crayola Beginnings (2 to 5 years)
Scribbling helps develop hand-eye coordination, and these ball-shaped paint markers are perfect for children who can't yet master the pencil grip. $6
Deluxe Nesting and Stacking Blocks by Melissa & Doug (2 years and up)
Stacking these colorful blocks, each marked with two or three letters, can help your child learn size discrimination, sequencing skills, and the alphabet. $10
Learn & Groove Alphabet Drum by LeapFrog (6 months to 3 years)
Every time your child taps the drum he'll see a letter displayed in lights and hear it spoken aloud, which will help his early language development.
Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Parents magazine.
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