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Between Owen’s Angelman Syndrome, and the wide range of kids in the house (spanning from 5 months to 17 years), finding toys that engage all the kids is challenging.
If they’re too small, the little guys and Owen can eat them.
If they’re too babyish, the middles and older kids won’t enjoy them.
Thankfully, we have found several naturally inclusive toys. These are toys that hold the interest of kids in a wide age range, and a wide ability level.
They are toys that can be enjoyed multiple ways, depending on the abilities of each person playing.
Here are our top five naturally inclusive toys:
1. A Bubble Machine
Bubble machines are a ton of fun for everyone. Owen and my littles enjoy just watching the bubbles, and trying to pop an occasional one.
My middles love racing through the bubbles or dancing in the middle of them.
My older kids love watching bubbles and listening to music, or doing challenges with the bubbles.
We do have to keep the machine up out of reach, because otherwise it’s too tempting. They don’t hold up well to being knocked down, and it’s a huge waste of bubble solution when it goes flying off the porch!
Here’s the bubble machine we use:
And of course, you need plenty of bubbles!
Here are some ideas for ways to engage the kids:
- Put on music and have a bubble dance party
- Bring it outside and predict which way the wind will move the bubbles
- Count how many bubbles you can pop
- Compare the sizes of bubbles
- Try to catch bubbles
- Sing the ABC song while popping all the bubbles you can
Bubbles are definitely fun for kids of all ages!
2. Mega Bloks
My kids all love building with construction bricks. While many of them can’t yet play with actual LEGOs, we all enjoy getting out the big drawer full of Mega Bloks.
Owen enjoys taking apart builds the other kids make for him, and just banging blocks together.
The older kids enjoy building challenges, working together to build something amazing, and tossing them into the container to try to make a basket.
Some of my kids really like the special blocks – the car base with wheels and the big white eyes.
Because the blocks are so big, they aren’t a choking hazard. There are so many different pieces available, they are engaging for a wide range of kids.
Some of our favorite building challenges with Mega Bloks:
- A farmyard pen to hold a plastic animal
- A tower with as many pieces as possible
- A boat that floats
- Something from a book we read recently
- A church with a parking lot for toy cars
3. A Teeter Popper
This toy has been a great addition to the active play of our kids.
They can sit on it and rock, stand on it and try to balance, or turn it over and use it for an elevated platform.
This thing has been a bridge in pretend play. It’s been a challenge in obstacle courses. I love how flexible it is!
Owen enjoys listening to the sound it makes. He also sits on it, though he can’t yet rock himself. He does enjoy when one of the kids rocks him, and is able to get off when he’s had enough.
4. A Lycra Swing
This one was blessing to Owen from the local Elks. He participates in their therapy program, and was the guest of honor at one of their dinners. They did a fundraiser that night, and raised enough so Owen could get this swing.
Here’s a similar one on Amazon:
All the kids LOVE it! We used to have it hanging in our living room, but because of the drop ceiling we have we weren’t able to secure it to a beam and it eventually pulled out.
So we now have this hanging on our new play set in the backyard, and it gets a lot of use from all the kids! We can easily take it down when it’s raining, and it stayed in the closet all winter. The kids are so excited to hang it back up again now that it’s spring!
5. A Parachute
I picked this up at Toys R’ Us a while back, and we’ve used it a lot. It takes me back to grade school PE class.
We try to keep balls in the air, raise it up high and have someone run under it, and are working on switching places while it’s up.
Owen loves having it raised up and down over him. He tries to grab it sometimes, but the kids just go with it. Sometimes it ends up in a roll Owen up in it play event. Or he’ll start crawling away with it, so the kids chase him.
I love how they naturally include Owen in many different types of play!
Other Naturally Inclusive Toys
Here are some of the other toys we have enjoyed over the years that are inclusive in nature.
Do You Have Any Naturally Inclusive Toys You Recommend?
I’d love for you to share your favorite toys for either a wide-range of ages, or for kids with special needs in the comment section. I’m always on the lookout for new favorites–and having suggestions will make shopping for Owen much easier in the future!