Wondering what the best toys for children with cerebral palsy are? Look no further because this article is going to share 10 toys that children with CP will love!
Before we get started, let’s clarify that just because a child has cerebral palsy does not mean they are limited to playing with a certain type of toy. Cerebral palsy does not define a person and shouldn’t interfere with their hobbies and interests.
That being said, some toys do provide functional benefits, and this article will share 10 toys that can help children with cerebral palsy develop their motor skills.
10 Best Toys for Children with Cerebral Palsy
The best toys for children with cerebral palsy should be engaging and challenging, but not frustrating to perform lots of repetitions. Repetitions are crucial for improving motor skills because they promote neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to rewire itself).
When an individual with cerebral palsy repetitively practices a movement, the brain senses a demand for that function and rewires it to healthy, undamaged areas of the brain. With consistent stimulation, the neural pathways for that movement get stronger and it gets easier to perform.
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These 10 toys can help keep children with cerebral palsy engaged and using their motor functions to promote neurological adaptations:
1. Kinetic Sand
One of the best toys to improve motor functions in children with cerebral palsy is kinetic sand. It’s easy to mold, but also completely dry, soft, and not sticky.
Kinetic sand encourages children to get creative. Some of the ways it can be played with include:
- building sandcastles
- squeezing and smashing
- packing it into molds
- poking objects into it
- making hand imprints
- burying other toys
- having a treasure hunt
Children will have so much fun playing with the sand that they won’t even realize how much it’s developing their tactile sensation, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.
2. Fold & Go Trampoline
A Fold & Go trampoline is a great, portable toy for children with cerebral palsy.
Jumping on a trampoline helps promote balance because individuals are continuously landing on an unstable surface. Additionally, it will help strengthen the legs and get children accustomed to bearing weight.
To promote safety, this Fold & Go trampoline has a small surface area so the child will only bounce around in one spot and has a safety rail to hold onto for extra stability. Use with caution and supervision for safety.
3. Sit n Spin
A Sit n Spin is a fun and easy way to build sitting balance. All your child has to do is sit on it and turn the wheel to start spinning.
Children can practice gripping onto the wheel, using their muscles to maneuver it, and stimulating their vestibular system, which helps develop spatial awareness and balance.
A Bilibo is simple toy that can help children with cerebral palsy develop their balance skills.
The shell-shaped toy is large enough to sit on, and children can spin and rock back and forth in it.
Because it has no flat surfaces, a Bilibo constantly creates changes in direction and motion. As a result, children get to repeatedly practice shifting their center of gravity.
5. Mega Bloks
Children with cerebral palsy can practice developing their fine motor skills by stacking Mega Bloks.
They’re larger than Legos, which makes them easier to pick up and stack.
Mega Bloks encourage children’s creativity and allows them to build whatever they want, such as skyscrapers, houses, and cars. The possibilities are endless!
Children also develop their reaching and grasping skills by interlocking pieces and pulling them apart.
6. Paint Set
Painting is a great way for children with cerebral palsy to develop fine motor skills.
Children can practice holding a paintbrush and maintaining range of motion in the wrist by using different types of strokes.
However, tools aren’t necessary. Finger painting is an excellent way to promote tactile development and strengthen the smaller muscles in the hands. Whipped cream mixed with food coloring can be used if the child will be putting fingers in their mouth!
7. Musical Instruments
Playing musical instruments can be an effective way to improve motor functions in children with cerebral palsy.
Incorporating music into play may help improve:
- Fine motor skills
- Sensory coordination
This musical instrument kit comes with lots of different instruments so your loved one can practice various movements such as grabbing, shaking, and tapping without getting bored.
Read more about the benefits of music for children with cerebral palsy »
MusicGlove is a gamified hand therapy device that is designed to help individuals with neuromuscular conditions like cerebral palsy perform the repetitions they need to promote neuroplasticity.
Both adults and children can use this rehab tool to boost their fine motor skills, rhythm, and hand-eye coordination.
In fact, the MusicGlove is clinically proven to improve hand function in just two weeks. By repetitively practicing the finger gripping motion, individuals can develop the skills necessary to perform everyday tasks like turning doorknobs and typing.
9. Magnetic Building Tiles
Magnetic building tiles will help children with cerebral palsy develop creativity, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness skills by creating 3-D structures.
The colorful, magnetized tiles attract on all sides and come in square and triangle shapes.
This toy can be especially ideal for individuals with weaker fine motor skills because the magnets will naturally gravitate towards one another and will require minimal effort to pull apart.
An iPad can be an extremely worthwhile investment for children with cerebral palsy because there are many apps that may improve communication and fine motor skills.
Children can be continuously engaged and have access to a variety of different programs like voice control, speech generators, and games that can help them manage and develop their motor impairments.
Unlike other toys, children can use an iPad for years and download progressive interactive programs to encourage mobility.
Toys for Children with Cerebral Palsy: Key Points
Play is powerful, and children with cerebral palsy should be encouraged to play as much as possible to effortlessly improve motor functions.
Many children with cerebral palsy have oral motor impairments that make it difficult to speak. Instead of verbal communication, children with CP may express themselves better through their actions. Observing how children play and what they create can help parents understand how their kids are feeling.
Playing also encourages children to experiment more, which is ideal for developing cognitive and sensory coordination skills.
The best toys for children with cerebral palsy are the ones that will keep their attention and make it effortless to perform repetitions.