Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Children with Disabilities

Toys bring parents and children together in play. Buying toys for children with disabilities should be something that gives joy to both parent and child. This list of things to consider when buying toys can help parents to know which types of toys are good matches for their children.


Drawing of a beach ball.
  1. Multisensory appeal: Does the toy respond with lights, sounds, or movement? Are there contrasting colors? Does it have a scent? Is there texture?
  2. Method of activation: Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? What is the force required to activate? What are the number and difficulty of steps needed to start?
  3. Where toy will be used: Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on a wheelchair tray? Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home?
  4. Opportunities for success: Can play be open-ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it adaptable to your child's individual style, ability and pace?
  5. Current popularity: Is it a toy most any child would like? Does it tie-in with other activities like T.V., movies, books, clothing, etc?
  6. Self-expression: Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness, and choice-making? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?
  7. Adjustability: Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, level of difficulty?
  8. Child's individual characteristics: Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it reflect the child's interests and age?
  9. Safety and durability: Consider the child's size and strength in relation to the toy's durability. Are the toy and its parts sized appropriately? Does the toy have moisture resistance? Can it be washed and cleaned?
  10. Potential for interaction: Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?

With this list of things to consider, parents, family members and caregivers will be able to make the best selection of fun, safe and appropriate toys to offer children with disabilities.

Top 10 Things to Consider When Buying Toys for Children with Disabilities. National Lekotek Center, KidSource Online. 1997. English.

Last Reviewed: November 2008

Last Updated: November 13, 2014