Educational Toys for Kids with Disabilities

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Our Monday green news brings you the latest on nutrition, good causes and child education:

educational toys, kids with autism, kids with dissabilities

Photo courtesy of The Autism Project

  • Educational toys for kids with disabilities: The ToyBox Toolkit, designed to help facilitate play for kids with disabilities, was developed in a collaboration between Hasbro and The Autism Project, and produced by the makers of Mr. Potato Head. These tools include play mats, instructional videos and other resources to help kids, parents and caregivers in learning how to play safely, and mainly to make a play accessible to children with disabilities. For example, such child might not fully understand how to piece Mr. Potato Head together, and might get frustrated with his inability. Tools like play mats can help children explore their creativity and feel supported, rather than being frustrated by a toy they don’t understand. Stepped educational techniques are a key part of the Toolkit, building on the idea that children with developmental disabilities often benefit from having information laid out in a series of building blocks, rather than encountering material that’s thrown at them all at once. In step one, they get to learn about the basic anatomy of a toy; step two encourages children to explore creative uses of the toy. In step three, these lessons are taken to a group setting, where kids learn to play with others, study turn-taking, and get a chance to connect through mutual play.
  • Most California parents support healthy school meals: According to a recent survey, 87 percent of California parents support the newly implemented USDA’s standards called Serving Healthy School Meals in California. These new rules include requirements such as a mandatory serving of fruits or vegetables with each child’s lunch, and many more. As Jessica Donze Black, director of the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project (a collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), explained: “The right tools in the kitchen can make all the difference when it comes to serving healthy food in schools. Something as simple as serving sliced rather than whole fruit can lead to kids eating more and throwing away less. But aging and poorly equipped kitchens prevent many schools from applying such practical solutions.”
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