5 Sensory Toys Used In A Therapeutic Preschool Program

Sensory toys are a must for any developing child. In fact, sensory input is crucial for a child’s maturation and their core foundation skill set. Children often love these activities because they don’t really look like therapy at all! The child is focused on playing with the sensory toys, but don’t realize that they are actually learning at the same time. These toys are used in therapy to improve a child’s daily functioning, intellectual, social, and emotional development, positive interactions in the world around them, and achievement of their developmental milestones. All of these toys are great for group activities! In therapeutic preschool programs, these toys create opportunities for children to create social engagements and spontaneous language with their peers in the classroom. These five toys listed below are fun for any typically developing child, but most advantageous for children who are enrolled in a therapeutic preschool program.

Play Doh, Gak, Foam, etc.
Children need to be able to touch different textures and play with them in order to develop their own tactile processing. If your child does not necessarily like the feeling of textures similar to these, it is even more important that the therapist finds other ways to develop their tactile processing. There are so many ways to make Play Doh, that the therapist or parent can make it specific to the child.

Sand and Water play stations
Therapists most of the time have water or sand tables located in their classrooms. This is a great toy to expose the children to the textures of sand and water, but the ideas shouldn’t stop there! Therapists can get creative in the classrooms using shaving cream, rice, or beans as different textures.

Toys/pillows that vibrate
Toys that vibrate are other toys that can help to stimulate a child. These toys can take a while for a child to get used to. Sometimes, the therapist uses these toys to calm the child down. The usage just depends on how the child reacts to the stimulus. Examples of these toys include vibrating pillows, vibrating toothbrushes, and massage mats.

Play tunnels and tents
Tunnels and tents can be use for numerous sensory activities! To stimulate gross motor and bilateral coordination, the therapist can have the child crawl through them. The therapist can shake the tunnel or tent to stimulate the child’s vestibular reactions. The children can even use them for a safe place in the case that they become overstimulated in the classroom.

Oral motor toys or products
Sometimes children can have difficulty with their oral motor control. To help, therapists can have them play with toys that stimulate their mouths. These can include whistles, different textures of foods, textured spoons, and blowing bubbles! In the classroom, the therapists can assist the child using these toys or products in order to stimulate their mouths and challenge their skills in motor control.

If you have further questions about sensory toys and therapeutic preschools, click the purple button below or call 773-620-7800 to contact CST Academy, Chicago’s #1 therapeutic preschool!

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"After almost 2 years our son’s time at CST Academy has come to an end. The preschool program has done wonders for him. Ms Jaclyn is such a warm, kind and patient teacher. She and my son’s OT (Ms. Nikki) and ST (Ms. Erika) worked together to ensure he was meeting all of his goals. The level of collaboration between all therapies shows how dedicated they are to helping your child reach their full potential. They have all made such an impact on him, it’s amazing to see the changes since he started there. He has blossomed into a strong, confident boy who is more than prepared to start his new school in a few weeks. We will always fondly remember our time at CST Academy. Can’t recommend them enough!"
"I worked with CST Academy over a period of about 10 months. They are absolutely incredible! I also referred a friend to their program and the progress his child made just blew him away! Usually, I don’t write reviews unless I feel strongly compelled one way or the other, and in this case I do! You cannot go wrong here. I would not trust my children to anyone else. Call them and see for yourself. I have seen other programs and there is just no comparison."