As the Momma of a CI child, I am often asked about gift ideas for children with hearing loss. As we all know, much of our life with a CI child is spent playing games at home that also serve as the necessary therapy needed for communication. So, what are some of our most favorite gifts we have received for Drew that have also helped with therapy?
100 Hoops - Basketball Counting Game : Drew loves this game! It is perfect for a little boy, and allows for work on counting, and vocabulary like in, out, over, under, made it, missed it, dunk it, brick, etc. It counts in Spanish, two's, ten's, backward. This was Drew's favorite Christmas Gift of 2008, and nearly 365 days later, he plays with it daily.
Giant Road Carpet and Cars : Drew loves to play with his transportation vehicles, and I love that he has no idea he is actually doing therapy! We work on things like, "Drew, you need to take the children to school! Which vehicle goes to school?" You can put up the stop signs and talk about stop vs. go. You can have the child make the vehicle go fast vs. slow. "Oh, Drew! The police car needs to go to the store - fast! Let's go!" So much fun...for everyone!
Band in a Box : Perfect for these little CI kiddos! Work on the different sounds of musical instruments. You can work on making a beat. "Shake the maracas fast!"
Plush Barnyard : When Drew was younger we loved this barnyard. They animals are soft and cuddly, and they each make noise! Plus the barn was nice because you could say, "Drew put the cow in the barn." This helped with working on in, out concepts. And, this plus barnyard works great for the small concept, you can get a bigger barn to talk about big vs. small, etc.
Busy Day Home : A perfect sized house to work on many daily activities! It can start of very basic. "Drew, Put Daddy in Bed." Then you can get really advanced, "Drew, Mommy is tired. Where should she go?" And then I would wait for Drew to find the Mommy and lay her in the bed. This shows that Drew understands what "tired" means and that he understands you need to go to sleep when you are tired and that you sleep in your bed. Really, really difficult concepts, yet somehow we all learn this stuff!
Mr. Potato Head : Super fun to play with, reminding me of my childhood, yet excellent to help with learning body parts! At first, you can design Mr. Potato Head, and then ask your child, "Where is the nose?" Then you can have your child design Mr. Potato Head himself, talking about where each item goes. And, what we're doing now, you can play sabotage! One of my favorite things to do with Drew! I'll build Mr. Potato Head totally wrong...then Drew has to fix him. "No, Mommy, that isn't where the ear goes. The ear goes here! That's where the mouth goes!" Oh, how I love to play sabotage!
We actually have been given every toy I talked about above! And people say we have too many toys...ha! If you are reading this blog as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend...I can not tell you how much we appreciate these types of gifts. We work so hard with our kids daily on activities that seem so trivial, but in the grand scheme of things, these gifts help our children develop their listening, language and communication skills daily. The thoughtfulness of thinking about how a gift will help with the child's therapy is helpful beyond words.
So, what will Drew be getting for Christmas this year? We have so many of the "staples" when it comes to therapy, and in many ways, we are past the learning to listen phase of this journey. We're working on phonics, pre-reading, pre-math and fine motor skills. So, we've decided to get Drew a Leapster and Tag Reading System . He'll also be getting some of hisfavoritefriends ! He'll be so excited! Drew has worked so, so hard, so now we'll let him play.
What are some of your favorite therapy toys? Let's keep the list going!
**Disclaimer: I am in no way being paid to promote these products. These are just items we have found wonderful, and have been some of Drew's favorites!