Toys to LOVE Part 2 (or why I went BACK to target)

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I found myself back at target the other day (surprised anyone?) and was wandering through the kid’s toy aisle.  I had already gotten everything on my list, so I figured, why not?  I hate the toy aisle–it is cluttered, the bright colors on the packaging all clash with each other and NOTHING is organized.  It is a sensory processing nightmare for me.  Luckily, all of the vision therapy I do with my patients has made this issue much better!

As I perused the aisle, I saw this Melissa and Doug Spray, Squirt and Squeegee set.  One of Max’s grandmothers had given him this set a few months back, when he was obsessed with “brushes”.  Turns out, this toy is fantastic in so many unexpected ways.  First and foremost, it allowed Max to mirror productive behaviors.  He LOVED cleaning with me after dinner.  Until he turned 2 and found his independence.  Secondly, cleaning is a life skill (that’s no joke) and you will thank me later.  This also makes a great bath toy!  The bottles have removable tops, which Max found irresistible.    Being able to manipulate the bottle tops exercises fine motor skills, some serious visual spatial skills and peripheral awareness.  And to top it all of, as a bath toy, your child learns about the fluid dynamics and flow rates.  I see a engineer who keeps a clean house in our future.

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The cleaning set is cute, but my favorite toy is the wooden Melissa and Doug tool set.  This was the toy that would have made my Grandpa Nat proud.  This toy is AMAZING!  It is colorful, contains kid friendly tools and literally is hours of indoor fun on a hot day.  There are so many visual skills that we get to exercise while playing with this:  visual closure and visual spatial reasoning are just a few.  You can play matching games (try and match the figure/shape you made), work on fine motor skills AND learn how to problem solve.  Learning that the screws require turning to fit into the holes and cannot be simply shoved in is problem solving at its best.

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