holiday guide cover What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?

Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses. Source: WebMD

Our senses consist of hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), touch (tactile), taste (gustatory) and smell (olfactory), vestibular and proprioceptive.

Below are some top toy picks that address these categories:



or “heavy work” is recommended to help children calm down, keep focus, and organize themselves. Proprioceptive input (sensations from joints, muscles and connective tissues that lead to body awareness) can be obtained by lifting, pushing, and pulling heavy objects. Such games hopscotch, Twister or jumping on a trampoline can help with gross motor, fine motor, and eye hand coordination.

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winner of Parent’s Magazine Toy pick

This hopscotch from Alex, is available on Amazon at:  It was Winner of Parents Magazine’s “Best Toys of the Year” Award.

Your children will be hopping and jumping on this big, bright and colorful foam hopscotch board that you can play both indoors and out. Snaps together like a puzzle. It’s visually appealing and easy to store. It comes with 4 large place markers great for a child’s hand that has low muscle tone.

The hopping and jumping will provide great proprioceptive input. Great for balance, coordination, gross and fine motor skills. Recommended for ages 3 and up.





trampoline Something my son loves is his trampoline from One Step Ahead. He loves to jump, but also loves and needs that safety pole so he doesn’t fall off. I like how the springs are covered so little fingers don’t get caught in them. This is particular trampoline is nice because it’s a fold ‘n go for easy storage, available on Amazon at:


Here is a video of him using it when he was younger.  He still uses it but he can really jump high now.




Jacob Murasko on scooter Scooters are also a wonderful toy for children to get some “heavy work” from. The sensations they will get from pushing or pulling while on a scooter are fabulous. You can find a wonderful array of scooters from Fun & Function.

Scooters help to strengthen upper body and gross motor skills while improving balance, posture and coordination. Ideal for children with sensory processing challenges, low tone, ADHD and autism



Vestibular Stimulation

Vestibular input (the sense of movement, centered in the inner ear), helping a child figure out where they are in relation to their environment. Any type of movement will stimulate the vestibular receptors, but spinning, swinging, and hanging upside down provide the most intense, longest lasting input.

sit and spin Toys like a Sit and Spin can provide endless fun and stimulation. This one is available on Amazon at:   A Sit and Spin is as a sensory integration therapeutic tool for the HYPERsensitive. Children who are extremely sensitive to vestibular input (i.e., fearing it, getting dizzy within seconds, etc.), can use this as a tolerance building toy.  Or, an autistic child (with hyposensitivity as well) who NEEDS to spin to remain/regain focus and neurological organization; thus, an overall sense of calmness.  This toy also helps encourage development of Gross Motor Skills and Cognitive Learning. Sitting up to play helps kids develop a sense of balance and coordination




rocking horse Rocking horses can be great fun, especially one that grows with you. Check out this rocking horse on Amazon at:  Everyone knows that rocking can calm and soothe an upset baby.





swing Everyone loves swings but a child with SPD, may actually need to swing for vestibular input. It is this rhythmic input that can calm a child and give them the vestibular (movement) input their bodies need.

Check out this cool one on Amazon.

Heavy Duty Sturdy Plastic, 5 year UV Color Fast Protection, Fun for Two, Adjustable ropes. Water drains out.  Great for balance, coordination and vestibular input.





The tactile sense detects light touch, deep pressure, texture, temperature, vibration, and pain. This includes both the skin covering your body and the skin lining the inside of your mouth.  chewy tubes

Chewy tubes can help strengthen the muscles in your child’s mouth and tongue. You can get a pack of 4 chewy tubes like this from The Sensory University online at Amazon by clicking

Chewy Tubes are an innovative oral motor device designed to provide a resilient, non-food, chewable surface for practicing biting and chewing skills.



jacob and sand table My son loves this Sand and Water Table from Step 2. It’s adjustable. Durable plastic cover with elastic tie-downs keeps the sand clean and dry. Umbrella comes in handy.   Great for tactile and sensory play.

These tables capture the essence of a child’s creativity, cooperative play, tactile play, and fine motor skills. They will have so much fun playing in it (and yes, probably making a little bit of a mess) while they develop necessary developmental skills.

Children can enjoy a variety of sensory experiences – tactile, vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive. Use a variety of textures to stimulate different sensory input in children including sand, water, beans, or shaving cream.

This is the Step2 Sand and Water table on Amazon:


sand and water table



school eaze Auditory input refers to both what we hear and how we listen, and is physiologically connected with the vestibular sense.  Try Sound Eaze and School Eaze CDs that desensitize children to everyday sounds such as flushing toilets, thunder, barking dogs, alarms, and other sounds many kids find distressing.

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