AblePlay Blog

8 Great Games to Get Children with Special Needs Active & Moving

Posted on February 9, 2016

We love any game that will “active8” and motivate kids to get up and get movin’! Getting kids active while they are young can ensure a healthy childhood, which can lead to a fit and healthy adulthood. Movement can be so marvelous because it staves off obesity, encourages balanced energy levels, improves concentration, promotes cardiovascular health, and supports emotional well being. A good toy can have kids running, jumping, hopping, and screaming (for joy) all in a single game! Introducing the “Active 8”: Eight toys that can keep kids active and happy. Source: Friendship Circle Special Needs Resource Blog, February 2016

Polar Puzzles

Posted on January 27, 2016

Old Man Winter is here! It is hard to steer clear from the cold, hard fact that for some children, winter means wishing the snow would go far, far away, and for others it means withing there was more snow for play! Our top 10 Polar Puzzles list includes some great puzzles as well as puzzling toys to keep kids' brains working during the cold months of the year.

Local Non-Profit Director Champions Play for Children with Disabilities in Italy

Posted on January 27, 2016

Director at the National Lekotek Center is keynote speaker for European conference on special needs education. Jean Bailey, Director at the National Lekotek Center, was one of 3 keynote speakers during a January conference—COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action LUDI—aimed at the creation of novel and autonomous field of research and intervention on play for children with disabilities in Europe.

The Taming of the Toys

Posted on January 26, 2016

From the moment you open the doors, all you see is chaos. Blocks are strewn about to the left, trains thrown off the tracks to the right, a toy plane swings from a ceiling fan above, and those popular plastic blocks are stabbing your feet with every agonizing step. Yet in the middle of this GI Joe warzone, you will often find one or more smiling children, happily engaged in the chaos that can be playtime. While playtime can seem chaotic at first glance, it doesn't have to be! Here are our tips. Source: Parenting Special Needs, January/February 2016

Happy Anniversary Bananagrams: Why We Love Word Games

Posted on January 12, 2016

Words are all the rage for every age! During early childhood, the focus is on introducing different sounds for babies to vocalize. Elementary school age branches out to spelling small words such as C-A-T or M-O-M. But as kids develop and advance into adulthood, writing and words become ingrained pillars of our lives, whether it is writing papers, sending emails, reading books, or completing a crossword puzzle. There is one category of games that exists around this pillar, and it is a category diverse and versatile enough to be played at every age. It is the aptly named category of word games, and for them: words are everything.

55 Easy Items to Include in a Sensory Table at Home or School

Posted on January 5, 2016

Through seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling, our senses are how we experience the world around us. Sensory tables work to engage these senses. While there is no wrong way to make a sensory table, here are some suggestions to make yours optimal for the sensory interests of your child. Source: Friendship Circle Special Needs Resource Blog, January 2016

The Holiday Helper That Isn't an Elf:

Posted on December 15, 2015

How to use the 2015 Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids

While no one will dispute the fact that socks are fun, practical and a great way keep feet warm, maybe they are best left off your holiday shopping lists. For all parents, and especially parents of kids with special needs, finding just the right gift can sometimes be a challenge. Due to a shared love of toys, the National Lekotek Center has partnered with Toys“R”Us since 1995 to create the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, because Lekotek and Toys“R”Us both believe in the mission of #ToysForAll. From the front cover to the back cover and all the colorful pages in between, this Guide is full of useful tips.

Here are just a few ideas on how to use the Toys“R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids:

Gifts That Make Memories

Posted on December 9, 2015

Even with all the wonder during the holidays, most kids will tell you that some of their favorite memories have to do with the presents they received and usually that means...TOYS! Lekotek agrees with the kids. As an authority on toys and play for 35 years, we are recalling five memorable toys that are sue to bring joy this holiday season. Source: Parenting Special Needs, November/December, 2015

18 Favorite Fidgets for a Child with Special Needs this Holiday Season

Posted on December 9, 2015

Fall flies by in the blink of an eye, and unfortunately for this eye-catching season of changing colors, there are some times when you just can’t get outside to enjoy the falling leaves and fresh air before Old Man Winter comes knocking.When that’s the case, it is best to look towards the fun and friendly toys called fidgets. Here are some fidget suggestions for you. Source: Friendship Circle Special Needs Resource Blog, December 2015

Top 10 Tips for Buying Toys

Posted on December 1, 2015

Selecting a toy for a child who has a disability? Here are the questions the play experts at the National Lekotek Center ask when choosing developmentally appropriate toys for kids with special needs.