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Top 10 toys for special needs kids

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.






Great gifts for special needs kids

Got a super special kid on your gift list this year? We have toys that match up to kids with different abilities, so you can find something great to give.

Toys for kids with limited movement

Kids with low muscle tone or other physical difficulties need toys that challenge them to use the movement they have -- but without frustrating them.

The 6-in-1 Town Center Playhouse from Little Tikes (pictured) is large enough to accomodate a wheelchair or other medical equipment. Kids can explore the space and work on gross motor skills, crawling, balance, weight shifting and movement while engaging in pretend play. It's pricey -- about $400 new -- but it will last forever, and you can resell it afterwards.

At around $20, the Monkey Balance Board is another good choice for low-tone kids -- it's a sturdy wooden wobbly board that gives kids a playful way to improve their balance and coordination.

The PV Glider is a bike without pedals designed to let kids learn to balance properly. The nice thing about this bike is that it's larger -- so older kids with physical delays can still use it and learn to ride a bike. Snag one for about $100.


Sensory toys kids can enjoy

Children with sensory processing disorder sometimes have a hard time joining their peers in play. Look for toys that encourage a variety of sensory experiences as well as social play.

The Step2 Sand and Water Cart (pictured) lets kids explore different tactile sensations on their own or with friends. The table's size invites group play, and the table can even accomodate wheelchair visitors if the umbrella is removed. Around $70.

Wikki Stix are bendable, twistable, stickable sticks made of wax-coated yarn pieces that can be used to create designs by pressing them on any smooth surface. The sticks are naturally tacky, enabling them to easily stick to smooth surfaces. Under $15.

Next page: Toys to develop fine motor skills and improve cognitive development

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