I wanted to thank you for the wonderful service you provide at Playworks. As the director of a home-based program for visually impaired and multiply disabled infants and toddlers, I really appreciate the types of sturdy, multi-sensory, and easy to use toys you carry. We need toys that a child with motor, sensory and cognitive challenges can play with and enjoy. Your company carries a wide variety of toys that fit that bill. Many of your toys are essentials in our toy bags.
I also appreciate your expertise and thorough understanding of the needs of the multi-disabled children we serve. I know that I can count on you and your company to provide a top quality product.
I am delighted to recommend Playworks to educators who are looking for high quality toys that recognize and celebrate children with special needs. After learning about Playworks I was so happy to have a place to send teachers and directors for materials that would truly facilitate the development of children with special needs.
Also, Playworks helps us as we strive to have toys and equipment made from a wide variety of materials. Playworks provides a broader and richer variety of toys that will be of high play value to all children.
Nancy L. Brooks
When we're absolutely lost to find just the right toy Playworks has always been the source for the Blind Children's Learning Center to turn to and find the most creative, age appropriate and unique toys for children with a visual impairment.
I wanted to write and tell you how much Playworks helps our Center to provide especially appropriate materials for our infants with special needs. One of the things that we value about working with you is your ability to understand the uniqueness of this group of children and to closely match their needs with the toys you identify for us. It is your knowledge of development of infants that enriches those exchanges.
Jean Brunelli PHN, M.A.
Special Needs Toys are separated into seven sub-categories to facilitate finding toys that address specific special needs and situations. All Special Needs Toys enhance child development, allowing children with diverse abilities to experience a variety of sensory feedback and stimulation. Distraction Toys also provide relief from stress and enhance a child's ability to cope.
Distraction Toys enable children to turn their attention away from stressful situations and immerse themselves in play. These toys invite children of all ages to escape and explore, enabling them to cope. Meteor Storm is our most popular distraction toy. To activate a countinuously changing light display, a child must press and hold down the button. Letting go turns off the light. The child must focus on the act of play itself. Now available in two sizes. The larger globe of the original prevents young children from sticking the light in their mouths while the mini, with its breakaway cord, can be worn around the neck for instant gratification.
Light Toys provide visual feedback and stimulation to both low vision and sighted children. Although lighting up is the primary function of these toys, all provide multi- sensory experiences. Meteor Storm, with its press and hold switch, engages the sense of touch and invites children to experiment with on/off and to track the continuously changing color patterns of the spinning globe. This spinning causes the globe to vibrate, stimulating "feel" when the child places his hand on the globe, enabling blind children to enjoy Meteor Storm too.
Sound Toys offer auditory feedback, enhance language and motor skills, develop spatial intelligence and understanding of cause and effect. Sound Peg Puzzles are Sound Toys that provide varied visual, tactile, and auditory experiences and enhance motor and language skills. Fitting each puzzle piece in its proper place enhances motor development and rewards success with the appropriate sound. The pieces and their sounds enhance communication skills as the child identifies each piece and mimics the sound. Sharing the experience with an adult or older child provides further opportunity to hone cognitive and language skills, as the two engage in conversation about the puzzle and its components.
Sound & Light Toys offer both auditory and visual feedback. Although producing sound and light is the primary function of these toys, each requires the child to perform a task to elicit these responses, re-enforcing understanding of cause and effect and refining motor skills. Both Baby Buzz'r and the newer Busy Bee Baby Buzz'r are multi-sensory toys that not only light-up and sound off but also vibrate and provide phthalate-free teethable textured surfaces. Blinking lights, music, and vibration activate individually by easy on/easy off push buttons, allowing the child to experiment and figure out what happens when he presses the buttons. Eventually he will discover that he can control the functions, choosing a favorite, then adding another and another as he explores possibilities. The visual, auditory, and vibratory responses are gentle, and the vibrations cycle on and off to keep the child engaged.
Texture Toys provide opportunities to use touch to explore similarities and differences and to learn words to describe these characterisitics. Developing tactile discrimination skills enriches sighted children and lays the foundation for blind children to learn braille. Tangles, the ultimate universal playthings, feature a series of 90 degree curves interconnected to pivot 180 degrees at each joint. Just as a Tangle has no beginning and no end, there is no end to the pure delight children and adults alike experience when turning, twisting, bending and coiling a lightweight, portable Tangle. Playworks offers a variety of Tangles with texture, from the hard plastic Original with Texture to the Tangle Therapy with its soft, pliable coating and distinctive raised nodes. Their low impact motion relieves stress, strengthens finger muscles, and restores motion to joints. Teachers who use Tangles as a reward for children with autism report improved behavior: an increased calm and ability to cope with stressors that usually send them "over the edge" as well as increases in skill acquisition. Tangles invite manipulation and reward play with improved concentration and spatial relations and problem solving skills.
Children learn through play. Communications Toys enable children to develop cognitive and language skills, and foster creativity, planning and problem-solving. Quality play builds confidence and re-enforces a child's desire to explore and learn. Being able to communicate well enhances the play experience. The better a child is able to express his thoughts and feelings, the more likely he is to get along well with others. Acquiring social skills and becoming effective communicators are essential components of successful human development.
Emotional intelligence leads to more effective communications. The game Eggspressions helps children identify their feelings and develop problem solving skills while having fun. By sharing their feelings and working together, children figure out a happy solution to a challenge.
Oral motor skills are essential for eating and speech. Tooting, humming, whistling, and blowing toys exercise facial and oral muscles and encourage deep breathing and controlled blowing. Facial and oral massagers provide oral stimulation. Their low-intensity vibration calms and organizes sensory input. Jigglers, the only continuously "on" chewable oral facial massagers, turn on and off with a twist and come in two playful styles: a purple elephant and a green alligator.
Special Note Regarding Toy Safety
No two children are alike in their development, abilities, limitations, or personalities, and all these factors must be taken into account when choosing toys. What is appropriate and safe for one child may not be for another. Manufacturers label toys with small parts that pose potential choking hazards to children as being "not for children under 3 years old;" however, that does not mean the toy is, therefore, appropriate and safe for all children over the age of three. Those children, of any age, who continue to put everything in their mouths require special consideration. We urge you to consider carefully the children for whom you are purchasing and to purchase with their needs in mind.