AblePlay Blog

Priceless Play: 7 Ways to Create Valuable Play without Spending a Dime

Posted on April 5, 2017

By: Lydia Bryant, CTRS

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s priceless.”  When we play with our children, it’s priceless.  When we watch them move with joy, it’s priceless.  When we laugh with them, it’s priceless.  While play, joy and laughter are priceless, parents know that paying for it certainly is not. The need to providing enriching, joyful and inclusive play to our children does not need to be a financial burden.  Whether you have access to a Lekotek toy lending library or not, the ability to create a world of play for our children simply takes a bit of ingenuity and imagination.  The result? Priceless.

As experts of inclusive and accessible play, we know the importance of play in a child’s development and overall quality of life for the family.  Creating those moments of inclusive and accessible play need not be a burden – financially or otherwise. For creating developmentally valuable play experiences that are accessible to children of all abilities, here are 7 easy and inexpensive ideas from our Lekotek Inclusive Play Specialists that are in a word, priceless.

Finding Balance in a Hi-Tech World

Posted on April 5, 2017

By: Lydia Bryant, CTRS

As an inclusive play specialist at the National Lekotek Center, I adapt and modify toys and play for children with special needs and their families. Any parent or professional who works with children has seen a rise in the use of technology in toys and play. We have seen the same rise in the special needs play space. The use of technology in early intervention and therapy mirrors trends in technology used in the classroom. Students use tablets or laptops instead of jotting notes in a notebook. Many toy companies have focused on creating hi-tech gadget toys for younger and younger kids. The newest trend in both educational and play products is teaching the processes that make these innovations possible. We hear words like STEM, coding and robotics in the education and therapy community very often. For many parents and educators these terms are unfamiliar. What exactly do they mean and why are they important for kids of all abilities?

AblePlay Toy Box Guide - The Inaugural edition has landed!

Posted on December 15, 2016

Just in time for holiday shopping, the guide, which includes information on more than 50 toys, is free and currently available for download. This is the guide for parents, grandparents, professionals, or anyone seeking to purchase toys for children on all abilities,” said Kathryn Lavin, Executive Director, Lekotek. "The guide features AblePlayTM approved products as well as AblePlayTM Play Ideas so that the benefits of play are maximized."

A key to Lekotek’s success is its emphasis on bringing the whole family together to enjoy the many benefits of play. This new guide will help make that all-important family time even more fun by showcasing toys that will appeal to all ages and abilities.

Fall Frolic

Posted on September 29, 2016

Fall brings the start of the school year, but it doesn't mean an end to the fun. Incorporating play into each day is part of a balanced approach to children's learning and development. Below are a few suggestions to engage children and help them learn on the sly!

Super Summer Fun!

Posted on July 25, 2016

Summer is a time for sunshine and laughter—when “kids can be kids” through play and TOYS!  Here are a few play products just right for the season encouraging kids to explore and expand their bodies and minds:

Spring Showcase

Posted on March 16, 2016

Spring! The word itself brings forth imagery of excitement and bursting forward, which is fitting for a season of nature waking from its winter slumber. With the cold winds dying down and the bright sunshine coming back, it is safe to open the windows and doors and say that spring is back. With the new season, comes a new batch of suggested toys.

Happy is Healthy

Posted on March 16, 2016

Healthy is something we all strive for, whether for ourselves or for our kids. As adults it can be activities including going to the gym, cutting back on sugar or signing up for a dance class, but for children being healthy can mean eating their broccoli, taking baths and getting playtime outdoors. Healthy bodies come from healthy lifestyles, so how do we stay healthy? We do so many things to ensure a healthy life, but one thing we might not do is be happy! Read on to find out how happy is healthy. Source: Parenting Special Needs, March/April 2016

18 Balls and 15 Ball-Playing Activities for Children with Special Needs

Posted on March 15, 2016

Children love toys, and children with special needs especially love toys that offer them a great sensory experience. When choosing toys for your children, be sure to consider the items in this list! Sometimes when it comes to toys, less is more. That’s how we came up with the ball. It is the simplest toy there is. So of course, buying a good ball is the easiest thing there is, right? Wrong. While yes, the concept of a ball is simple—a spherical object—the thing we have to remember is that toy manufacturers are great at reinventing simple ideas. Balls can do so much more, and with the huge variety of them on the market, it is clear to see how children can “have a ball” with all of the balls! Source: Friendship Circle Special Needs Resource Blog, March 2016

Playtime: An Exercise in Inclusion

Posted on March 2, 2016

Playtime is open to all, and that is how it always has been. Rain or shine, children have always been able to find joy in play. This is namely because all you need is the desire and some imagination (but friends and toys certainly don’t hurt) to play. For an activity that is open to everyone, it is only natural that it should be a highly effective focal point to promote inclusion.

For an illustration of this, think about play itself. In most playground games, there is generally some sort of “safe haven” incorporated into the rules of the game. Sometimes it is called a base, sometimes no man’s land and sometimes it is just called a “safe zone.” Regardless of the name, this is a spot in the midst of the competitive fervor for all children to catch their breath without allegiance and bond over the shared experience of being in the game together.