Find It Eww Gross

Find It game Eww Gross

Altogether you’ll be looking for the 40 items listed on the top cap  plus a mystery object divulged in the playing cards. Every item has an assigned value, from one to 20. Stinky shoes earn one point; the mystery object brings in eight. The often elusive penny inside every Find It tops all other items at 20. With multiple ways to play, Eww Gross could spawn a Gross-a-thon with the winner being named Chief of Gross.

Eww Gross provides hours of “purposeful play” as players search out revolting finds. Find It games are versatile “contained adventures” for one or more players who can decide to suspend play, then resume as time, opportunity, and interest permit. Players keep track of the finds and pick up where they left off when play resumes. This encourages spontaneous play, both alone and with others. Adults and children can play together, taking turns or joining forces, and will delight in the experience as found objects trigger laughter, memories, and storytelling. This is the Find It for those, typically early elementary school-aged boys, who delight in barf, boogers, and pee.

Find It both requires and improves concentration and focus. Focusing on the search for objects relieves stress by distracting players from whatever else might be going on. Keeping a favorite Find It handy can prove indispensable in preventing meltdowns and in rebuilding afterwards. Find It also makes an ideal gift for a child or adolescent in hospital by providing distraction and inviting social interaction.

Find It Dinosaurs

Find It game Dinosuars

With 40 objects likely found at an archaeological dig, Find It Dinosaurs makes planning a trip to a natural history museum more fun.  All objects are listed on the top cap and the enclosed Ways to Play guide lists an assigned value for each item. The easiest to find earn one point while the elusive penny earns 20. Double-sided playing cards provide additional games for two or more players. For those knowledgeable about prehistoric animals, some of the hidden objects will be familiar, others likely not. Here’s a chance to impress those who don’t know a brachiosaurus from a barnacle with your knowledge.

Find It Dinosaurs provides hours of “purposeful play” as players search for objects you’d likely encounter at a dinosaur dig. Find It games are versatile “contained adventures” for one or more players who can decide to suspend play, then resume as time, opportunity, and interest permit. Players keep track of their finds and pick up where they left off when play resumes. This encourages spontaneous play, both alone and with others. Adults and children can play together, either working together to find all the objects or in friendly competition.

Find It both requires and improves concentration and focus. Focusing on the search for objects relieves stress by distracting players from whatever else might be going on. Keeping a favorite Find It handy can prove indispensable for preventing meltdowns and rebuilding after one. Find It also makes an ideal gift for a child or adolescent in hospital by providing distraction and inviting social interaction.

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Cooperative Games

Now is the time to explore ways for everyone to enjoy spending time together while schools are closed for the holidays. Fewer hours of daylight and dropping temperatures force us indoors where we’re all too likely to retreat into the digital world. Engaging in a shared activity hones our social skills, enhances our sense of connectedness, and builds memories. What can be challenging is finding something that children and adults enjoy doing together.

Cooking and crafts are easily adaptable so that all ages can participate together. Putting together puzzles and playing a board game are other options. Cooperative games level the playing field as everyone works together to achieve a common goal. From preschoolers to centenarians, all players “put their heads together” to solve a problem and come away with positive feelings. Everyone wins. No one leaves the game gloating or sulking, negative feelings that would surely cast a dark cloud over winners, losers, and everyone else in the house.

Megana Hosein, a mother of four, is an enthusiastic proponent of the value of cooperative board games. She writes, “I love how cooperative board games encourage interacting and thinking with children in a way that is rarely explored in our busy lives. It always amazes me to hear what they have to say about solving dilemmas within the game, and how this taps into greater topics of conversation that might otherwise have gone unrealized. Furthermore, new friends can easily be made over the commonality and cooperation in a board game, both with peers and with adults. Truly a gentle way to introduce social rules and simultaneously focus the active child while drawing out the shy one.

Cooperative board games are an ideal alternative to digital devices. Social engagement and sharing a pleasurable, interactive activity benefit everyone, young and old alike. What better time than the holidays to make memories by playing games?

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Intergenerational Play Rocks

quote about what makes a family

Thanksgiving Gatherings

Everyone benefits from purposeful intergenerational relationships. The gathering of family and friends to share a meal at Thanksgiving traditionally involves multiple generations. What better time to share activities that nurture connections among different age groups?

 PlayopolisToys serves the citizens of play. Those children and adults who delight in entertaining themselves with engaging activities. That’s what play is. Younger and older citizens having fun together forms bonds that enrich everyone involved. Opportunities abound. Take a walk. Share stories, Read a favorite book aloud. Create something. Play a board game, preferably a non-competitive one. Or go on a treasure hunt while sitting together on the sofa.

Cooperative Games Foster Teamwork

Cooperative games require players to work together toward a common goal. By putting aside competition and working cooperatively,   everyone comes away with positive feelings. Non-readers and readers. Preschoolers and high schoolers. Parents and grandparents can enjoy playing a game together. Team work leads everyone to success. Moreover no one leaves the game gloating or feeling like a loser. 

Megana Hosein, a mother of four, is enthusiastic about the value of cooperative board games. She “loves how board games encourage interacting and thinking with children in a way that is rarely explored in our busy lives. I am always amazed to hear what they have to say about solving dilemmas within the game. This taps into greater topics of conversation that might otherwise have gone unrealized. Furthermore my children can easily make new friends over the commonality and cooperation in a board game, both with peers and adults. Truly a gentle way to introduce social rules. And simultaneously focus the active child while drawing out the shy one.” Consider cooperative games for those times when kids of different ages and  abilities as well as kids and adults want to play together.

Thwart Stink Bugs

Ever thought about hiding bugs under a rug before stink bugs show up and stink up the place? That’s the  challenges players face with Snug As A Bug in A Rug. One of more than two dozen fun-for-all-to-play cooperative games by Peaceable Kingdom.

With three levels of play, these skills-building games grow as players become more proficient. Create a team to solve these problems. Two players will do, but there’s room for more. Designed to be played in 15 minutes, these games offer a quick solution to the challenge of keeping the peace before and after Thanksgiving dinner.

Search for Treasure

Find It games, theme-based treasure hunts in a cylinder, invite intergenerational searches.  Both offer cooperative and competitive ways to play. Think of  Wildlife, Dinosaurs, Mythical Creatures, or anything that elicits the comment Eww Gross.

For those who thrive on challenges,  Mythical Creatures is the ultimate Find It for intergenerational play. After all, two heads are better than one, and the more heads, the merrier the conversation, especially in intergenerational play.

Mythical Creatures requires knowledge of folk tales and supernatural beings from around the world. Keep a dictionary or Wikipedia handy while going down the list. Otherwise, when you see the word hippocampus, you might think of the region of our brain thought responsible for emotions and memory. Although that’s true, you’d be missing a chance to identify one of the fish-tailed horses of Greek Mythology. The beauty of Mythical Creatures is the chance to find out who’s who and what’s what, then check each off the list. While concentrating on finding out about the Jersey Devil, a kraken, or a troll or taking note of the similarities and differences between a hippocampus and a manticore, you’re happily learning, making memories and nurturing relationships.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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How Play Increases Concentration and Focus

What’s the attention span of a goldfish? What’s yours? According to a Microsoft study, a goldfish averages nine seconds, one second longer than the average human. Not so long ago – at the turn of this century – the average human attention span was 12 seconds. Not long, but longer than a goldfish. Our waning ability to concentrate causes problems for children and adults alike. When we’re inattentive, our productivity suffers: tasks take longer, we make more mistakes, become frustrated and stressed out. What are we to do?

Play more. While engaged in play we naturally pay attention. We’re concentrating on an activity that gives us pleasure. We’re in the present, oblivious to time, not easily distracted. Relaxed and confident, we’re apt to take glitches in stride, assess the situation, and apply our creativity to finding solutions.

Play is recreation, an activity we choose to do for the pleasure we derive from doing it. Play relieves stress, giving us a fresh perspective and  renewed focus. Play is essential for everyone, at every age. Playing games is a traditional pastime adults and children can enjoy together.

Find It, a series of thematic games designed for players six years old and up, requires players to search for objects hidden among plastic pellets in a cylinder. These intergenerational “contained adventures” both require and reward concentration and focus.

The top cap of each game lists the objects hidden in the cylinder. An enclosed guide assigns a point value to each object: one point for the easiest to find and 20 for the often elusive penny hidden inside every Find It.

A pack of double-sided playing cards expands play possibilities for two or more players. Finding objects is the aim of the game, whether played alone or with others, cooperatively or competitively.

Find It game about mythical creaturesConsider Mythical Creatures with 40 hidden objects. What better way for a child to learn about folk tales and supernatural beings from around the world than with a favorite adult who might know what’s what? Some objects will be familiar, but expect to be baffled and have to search for answers.

Otherwise, when you see the word hippocampus, you might think of the region of our brain thought responsible for emotions and memory. That’s true, but you’re looking for a fish-tailed horse from Greek Mythology. The fun is in finding out who’s who and what’s what. While concentrating on finding out about the Jersey Devil, a kraken, or a troll or taking note of the similarities and differences between a hippocampus and a manticore, you’ll feel more relaxed.

Play is essential. We learn while playing. Play more. Stress less. Pay attention. Concentrate. Focus. Thrive.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Have An Oball, Baby!

Oball is another type of ball popular with babies. Three variations each offer different play experiences that infants and toddlers find engaging. All are round, allowing babies to internalize the feeling of roundness and all roll, inviting visual tracking of an object in motion. What makes Oballs unique is the construction. These lightweight, hollow balls feature a surface of open circles, easy for fingers to explore and ultimately grasp.

The four inch Oball Rattle features four see-though disks containing brightly colored beads. Shaking the ball and seeing that the beads colliding against each other creates a sound is a powerful example of cause and effect. Often when a toy makes a sound in response to a baby’s action, the source of that sound cannot be seen and the baby misses an opportunity to make a connection.


4-inch oballOball invites finger play that can become more complex as fine motor skills develop. When a child begins learning to bring thumb and adjacent finger together, a process known as pincer grasp, consider stuffing a lightweight, silky scarf inside an oball and watch as baby explores and finds she can employ her new skill to pull the scarf out. When the silky scarf becomes too easy, replace with another more challenging fabric. Try a bandana. It’s also lightweight and thin but not likely to pull through as easily as silk. As long as the child enjoys the game, incremental challenges enhance not only fine motor development but also tactile discrimination.


The easy-to-grasp 6″ Oball with Rainstick introduces size, weight, and sound comparisons. The sound of the beads cascading from one end of the rainstick to the other invites observation and experimentation. Shake. Rattle. Roll. Chase. Baby visually tracks the movement of the beads and rolling of the ball and develops auditory discrimination as beads respond to different motions. A gentle push creates softer sounds than a vigorous, give-it-all-you’ve-got shake. Whether shaking or chasing, baby is engaged in physical activity that develops fine and gross motor skills.

Babies learn to grasp and let go as they approach their first birthday. Mastery of grasping and releasing takes practice. That’s why fill and spill games are such important skill builders. Infants and toddlers like to drop balls into a bowl or pail, box or basket, and then dump the container and repeat the process again and again and again. Developing the fine motor control and finger strength needed to latch on to and let go of an object takes practice.

Lightweight, easy to grasp, rattle, crush, throw, catch, and chase after, Oballs support early learning and skills development.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

Other Toys

Other Toys covers a broad spectrum of play opportunities. From the self entertainment of solitary play to the social interaction of group play, Music, Games, Puzzles, Balls, and Creative Pursuits enhance early child development. Each offers multiple play possibilities and ways of learning, and address a wide range of mental and physical abilities.


Music benefits everyone. Children can create music alone or with others. Playing with music toys or musical instruments enhances social skills, refines both large and small motor skills, fosters early vocal development, and increases spatial abilities.

Some instruments provide multiple play experiences. The Ocean Wave Drum, for example, comes with a mallet and responds to being drummed with a tom-tom beat. Hand drumming with fingers or open palms creates different sounds. Holding and tilting the drum with both hands sends multi-colored beads scurrying around inside the drum. Experimenting with hand movements rewards musicians with a range of sound. Slow movement produces the whisper of a rippling tide and fast movement creates the crash of waves on rock.


By playing games, children develop social skills, learn to take turns and play by the rules, to focus on what’s happening, and to plan ahead. Games provide opportunities to refine skills and learn new words and concepts.

The versatile game 3D Feel & Find comes with a durable cloth bag that holds 20 wooden matching shapes and recessed tiles. With 10 geometric and 10 object shapes, play can focus on one or both categories, building spatial awareness and vocabulary.
To play, deal tiles and invite players to reach inside the bag to “feel and find” corresponding shapes to complete a pair. This is one game that finds sighted and blind children on an even playing field.

Early intervention specialists have found 3D Feel & Find invaluable as a set of 20 mini whole-object puzzles. Offer a beginner puzzler a matching tile and shape to fit together and take apart. Next, offer two shapes and one tile. Once the child has successfully distinguished between two shapes, add another to keep the learning challenging and rewarding. With 20 shapes the choices are many and varied.


With puzzles, children can play alone or cooperatively, developing spatial relationships, learning persistence, as piece by piece the picture emerges, and experiencing the joy that comes with ultimately solving the puzzle. Putting together a puzzle also provides opportunities to start, stop, then return later to pursue the activity further. Cognitive and communication skills develop as children explore and learn about what’s pictured.
Puzzles come in an array of styles and designs, from simple one-piece frame puzzles to complex multi-piece jigsaws. Most popular with the early childhood population are puzzles showing animals and vehicles.Sound peg puzzles reward proper placement of pieces with the realistic sound the featured object makes, a boon to the blind and visually impaired. Remove the batteries, and the puzzles lend themselves to adult/child interaction with the adult supplying the names and sounds and the child providing his own “sound effects.”

Active Play

Being physically active is essential to well-being. Active play builds strength and improves balance and coordination. Playing with others develops social skills, and “getting good” at any activity engages our minds and improves our focus. Magic Moves, an electronic wand with 90 fun, physical commands and 26 musical styles gets everyone movin’. Children develop listening skills, learn to follow instructions, and gain an enriched vocabulary as they stomp like a dinosaur and swoop like an eagle.

Balls introduce a variety of material properties, textures, weights, sizes, and colors, and children learn words to describe these. From early explorations of grasp and release with lightweight Oballs to the cooperative play of tossing Jacob’s Rib-it Ball back and forth, children learn cause and effect and develop motor skills and eye-hand coordination. All this from the most basic of toys. No batteries required.

Creative Pursuits

Appealing to adults as well as children of all ages and abilities, puppets lend themselves to adult/child interaction and to individual and group play. Puppets stimulate language and cognitive development and encourage imaginative play. Used during story telling and music time, puppets increase attentiveness and participation.

Art activities allow children with diverse abilities and interests to experience their own creativity and enjoy the process of discovery.Scratch Art and Wikki Stix offer nonthreatening, open-ended opportunities to explore possibilities, experiment with color, shape, texture, and space, and see what happens. We all have different visions. Artistic expression is a personal sharing of those visions. Along the way, we learn properties of materials and ways of combining different materials to create new and different. Spatial awareness and problem solving skills evolve while we develop an appreciation of composition and design for our natural and built environment.

Imaginative Play

Imaginative Play allows children to role play, creating their own worlds and letting their imaginations soar. Green Tea Set, named for its eco-friendly origins, is perfect for “brewing” pots of tea to serve family and friends, real and imaginary. These experiences prepare children for participating in family meal preparation and ultimately for independent living.
Scoots community vehicles allow children to re-create scenes from their neighborhoods and take on various roles in the community. A child can “drive” a fire truck and “fight” fires, “collect” recyclables, and “deliver” mail. With the addition of shoe boxes or blocks, she can build a town, complete with police station, fire house, and hospital.
Here at PlayopolisToys we encourage parents to reject licensed products in favor of open-ended ones that allow children to create their own story lines and adventures, not simply play out what they’ve seen on television. That’s why we offer classic wooden vehicles from Maple Landmark. We want children to fully develop their creative instincts.

Special Note Regarding Toy Safety

No two children are alike in their development, abilities, limitations, or personalities, and all these factors must be taken into account when choosing toys. What is appropriate and safe for one child may not be for another. Manufacturers label toys with small parts that pose potential choking hazards to children as being “not for children under three years old;” however, that does not mean the toy is, therefore, appropriate and safe for all children over the age of three. Those children, of any age, who continue to put everything in their mouths require special consideration. We urge you to consider carefully the children for whom you are purchasing and to purchase with their needs in mind.

My First Choice

PlayopolisToys is my first choice for toys for my preschools and for my grandchildren. I look for unique, high quality toys and especially appreciate Christina Wallerstein’s personal attention to each purchase and her Early Childhood background and expertise.

PlayopolisToys has been our primary source for toys and play equipment for our preschools for years. We can choose from a wide selection of many unique, beautiful toys, games, puzzles, and other play essentials. A delightful way to find special toys for children.

I am often asked by people who see the toys from PlayopolisToys that I give my grandchildren “Where did you get that wonderful toy?”… and the children always love them!

We can choose from a wide selection of beautiful toys that are often unique and always very special.


Toys for the
Diverse Needs
of the
Citizens of Play

Distraction, Developmental Coping, Learning, Social, Sensory Toys and so much more

Children Learn While Playing

Toys For Child Development
& Learning

PlayopolisToys sells toys for the diverse needs of the Citizens of Play, the young and young at heart who delight in play. We recognize the best play is open-ended and child-directed. We know children are developing critical skills while they’re playing. That’s why we sell toys that engage children and support their growth.

Carefully chosen toys invite inclusive play. Because play benefits everyone, the toys PlayopolisToys sells encourage and allow children with different abilities to participate in activities together. Such inclusive play supports emotional and social development. Children learn to accept and accommodate differences.

Consider the basic early childhood task of learning to identify and match shapes. A shape sorter that rewards matching with an auditory response delights and motivates the blind. And the sighted, who readily see when they’ve “made a match,” share the delight. PlayopolisToys offers a variety of toys that support learning about shapes.

Think about coloring, an activity that develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. That’s why the teacher encourages everyone to stay within the lines. In any group, some children will find this more challenging than others, yet everyone will be sharing the experience.

But what about a child who’s blind? Using Wikki Stix to outline the picture levels the playing field. With a raised outline, coloring within the lines becomes an attainable goal. Such an accommodation also provides tactile feedback to children with orthopedic challenges.

PlayopolisToys exists because children need to play. It’s essential to their well-being. Something they choose to do. An activity they consider fun. And we know that play is the best way to learn. While playing, children are constantly learning and delighting in the process.

Children are sensory creatures. Everything they see, hear, touch, taste, and smell makes an impression. Among the first lessons babies learn is cause and effect. They do something and observe what happens. Gradually they make the connection between their action and what follows. Including how the people around them respond.

Toys are tools. What’s best for a specific child depends upon age, developmental skills, situation, and interest. PlayopolisToys sells toys that invite play. Providing opportunities for children to engage in open-ended, child-directed play is our goal.

What does that mean? Open-ended toys offer children multiple ways to play. Blocks and building toys are classic examples. The children decide what to build and how. They devise and implement a plan. When hitting a snag, they look for work-arounds. Masters at pursuing activities that offer challenges and reward persistence, children become planners and problem solvers. When children play together, they learn how to collaborate, compromise, and cooperate. Such positive experiences also build self-esteem.

Play is a typical childhood pastime and a proven source of comfort when something disrupts a child’s life. Playing is “what kids do,” so children welcome the normalcy play provides. Often, they create pretend play scenarios that allow them to express and work through their feelings. That’s why therapists use toys to help children experiencing trauma express and manage their feelings. Play is essential.

Toys are indispensable tools for other professionals working with children. Distraction toys help child life specialists draw a child’s attention away from a worrisome procedure, such as a blood draw, IV start, or stitches. While focusing on a captivating light-up toy, the child relaxes, becomes better able to cope, and, therefore, to cooperate. What had been overwhelming becomes manageable. The same technique works well to stop a meltdown. When that happens, everyone wins.

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Play And The Impaired Child

Are Intervention Programs Inadvertently Damaging Development Through “Therapeutic” Use of Toys?


“Play is a spontaneous act that involves interaction with objects or people in a pleasurable manner. It occurs across all environments and can be goal directed or free flowing” (Fewell, 1986). “Play includes an element of enjoyment, something that is done for fun… If it’s not fun, it’s not really play” (Musslewhite, 1986, p.26). While this occurs naturally for most non-impaired children, the disabled child’s difficulties or delays in self-direction and motivation often are inappropriately responded to by professionals who utilize intervention strategies that incorporate overly structured teacher-directed experiences. These experiences are mistitled “play” therapies and inhibit spontaneity, self-exploration and an internal focus of control.

As special educators we need to understand the role of play in psychological development and learning. Unless the well-documented information about the importance of play is incorporated into our “therapeutic” interventions, we risk the likelihood that these children indeed will be “handicapped;” we risk the possibility that our activities are actually more damaging than helpful. The greatest handicap is not the lack of a limb, muscle control, vision or hearing, but the loss of spontaneity and joy in discovery and learning and of the positive self-image, generated by a sense of mastery and competency.

Appropriate play experiences are child-directed and enhance self-esteem, socialization, communication, a sense of mastery and motor and concept development. A single play experience should incorporate all of these components versus tasks that are designed to focus on limited, specified concepts and skills. “Children’s learning does not occur in narrowly defined subject areas; their development and learning are integrated. Any activity that stimulates one dimension of development and learning affects other dimensions as well” (Bredekamp, 1987, p.3). “Teaching to the test” or intervention strategies that are rigidly copied from developmental checklists and assessment tools do not encourage spontaneous play and thus do not address the learning style and emotional needs of young children. And, most important, they place the fragile, burgeoning self-esteem and self-motivation of the impaired child at risk.


Facilitated spontaneous interactional play (FSIP) is the model utilized in Braille Institute’s Child Development Services program. FSIP was developed for use with visually impaired infants and grew out of our concern that emotional development often is ignored or misunderstood in current intervention models While admittedly the title is stilted and academic, the goal of the strategy is to engage children in appropriate play experiences that facilitate development in all domains and promote autonomy, competency and a sense of joy in discovery and learning.

Although concept development is woven into the play experience, it is not the primary purpose of the activity. When an intervention is geared solely to the teaching of a concept, not only will the child be unable to generalize, he also will be put at risk by the factors previously noted. A child who has had colors drilled through a rigid teacher-directed activity will not readily transfer the concept to other projects in his world. A child who is engaged in an adult-directed object permanence task by being repeatedly requested to lift up a cloth covering a block will not integrate the concept and broadly understand it within the context of his whole cognitive and psychological being. He will not spontaneously open a kitchen cupboard to find the missing pots and pans to play with or master separation experiences with his parents.


Blind children often have a lesser degree of motivation to explore the environment because vision provides such a profound impetus to learn about the things we see. The sighted infant has the opportunity for constant visual input that entices him to reach out and explore objects and people. This action provides continual incidental learning experiences that exponentially build on his concept development and desire to explore. Thus play often needs to be facilitated for a blind child by an adult.

Facilitated play is the creation of the opportunity, the setting up of the environment. Appropriate facilitation of play is effected by continual observation and assessment of the child and continual adaptation by the adult in response to the child. The initial assessment provides the basis for the activity; however, ongoing assessments based on observation during play are essential and provide the information by which the adult modulates his interactions in response to the dynamic behaviors of the child.

Assessment includes establishing the following information about the child:

1. Communication Cues – How does the child tell you what he needs, is interested in or has an aversion to? The cues can be vocalizations, changes in body posture, minuscule muscle movements or twitches. Keen observations are essential, especially with multi-handicapped children.

2. Temperament and Pacing – Is the child slow to warm up? easily agitated? Does the child need additional response time because of motor or sensory limitations? Has the child just awakened or eaten?

3. Developmental Level – What are the areas of competency and of delay?

4. Preferred Sensory Modality – Does the child prefer tactile, auditory or visual experiences?

5. Preferred Interactions – Are there favorite games or play activities that can be expanded?

6. Preferred Play Objects and Mode of Play – Can a transitional object or significant toy be incorporated into the interaction? How does the child like to play?


Play is spontaneous when the initial impetus for the activity comes from the child. The role of the professional is to respond to the cues of the child, determine what is pleasurable for him and assess his competencies. Play is no longer fun and will not generate additional spontaneous curiosity if the child is unable to engage competently. If the child is frustrated and not able to master a game, the impetus toward future play is interrupted. Play can occur with any materials, situations, or persons. Thus the facilitation of spontaneous play begins with whatever the child is already involved in. The professional needs to blend in with the experience of the child and not alter it abruptly. Goals for motor, language or cognitive development must be incorporated into the ongoing activity. New activities or toys may be introduced gradually if the child is respectfully enticed to explore new things.

The issue of spontaneity is crucial, essential to the development of self-trust and a sense of mastery. Unless the infant begins to feel that his actions result in responses that are pleasurable and enhance his significant relationships, the primary task of infant development, “trust vs. mistrust” (Erikson, 1963), is not realized. Brazelton’s (1969) work eloquently demonstrates the delicate balance in infant relationships and the need for respectfully modulated adult responses that are based on the cues of the baby. It is another illustration of the spontaneity issue, and a primary consideration in the FSIP mode.


Visually impaired and multi-handicapped infants commonly need to have adults involved in their activities because they often have difficulty staying focused on a game and sustaining their play. The relationships between infant and adult can act as a motivator if the relationship is respectful and based on the factors outlined in facilitated play. The adult can expand on the experience and enhance learning and mastery through verbal feedback.

Since visually impaired children often are delayed in the development of affective responses such as smiling, laughing, and eye contact, the adult must be keenly aware of other minuscule cues. Adult responses to these infant-initiated cues validate the child’s involvement and self-worth and provide additional enticement for the child to engage with others. This results in the development of trusting relationships with significant others.

It is the adult’s responsibility, not the infant’s, to modulate her behavior to the temperament and need of the infant. “For any person to establish a mutual relationship with another person, it is essential that the two people share some type of common understanding. Young children are not capable of adjusting to adults as a basis for establishing a relationship with them. Consequently the quality of the relationship. . . is primarily dependent upon the adult adjusting downward to the child’s level. . . and is compatible with the child’s level of functioning. The quality of the play will be enhanced such that it will likely have maximum impact on the child’s rate of development” (Mahony & Powell, 1984, p.40).


1. Adult observes child for preferred activities by noting body movement, smiles, vocalizations, eye contact and minuscule changes in behavior or position.

2. Adult considers social, vestibular and tactile events as possible play interactions.

3. Adult modifies her interactions and movements to fit the temperamental style and pacing of the child.

4. Adult provides opportunities for child to choose from a variety of activities and notes aforementioned behaviors to determine child’s preference.

5. Adult mediates play interaction by using appropriate language to interpret the experience (e.g., comments on the child’s actions, expands the child’s vocalizations and repeats key words or phrases).

6. Adult recognizes child’s attempts and intent and facilitates child’s successful completion of tasks by providing support, shared attention and close physical proximity. Clapping and verbal reinforcers such as “good boy” or “good play” are not relevant and thus not appropriate.

7. Adult provides stimulating opportunities for the child to use self-initiated repetition to practice and experience feelings of autonomy and success.

8. Adult recognizes that children learn from trial and error.

9. Adult offers assistance when and if necessary, based on the above ongoing observations and assessments.


As special educators we risk the possibility of inadvertently interrupting rather than promoting the child’s development through our intervention strategies. We need to reassess our models and ensure that the approaches used encourage spontaneous play that is respectful of the child’s temperamental style, competencies and preferences.

The use of toys alone does not accomplish this goal. Our play experiences should facilitate development in all areas and promote autonomy, mastery and a sense of joy in discovery and learning. When language, motor and concept skills are separated, and learning tasks are adult-initiated and highly structured, we risk the greatest damage of all. We are in danger of creating an individual who is truly handicapped – one who is dependent and rigid and who suffers from low self-esteem.


Brazelton, T.B. Infants and Mothers: Differences in Development. New York: Dell, 1969.

Bredekamp, S., ed. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth Through Age Eight. Washington, D.C.: NAEYC, 1987.

Erikson, E. Childhood and Society. New York: Norton, 1963.

Fewell, R. Presentation at the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Early Childhood Conference, Louisville, KY, 1986.

Mahoney, G., and Powell, A. The Transactional Intervention Program: Preliminary Teachers Guide. Woodhaven, MI: T.O.T.E. Woodhaven School District, 1984.

Musselwhite, C. Adaptive Play for Special Needs Children. San Diego, CA: College Hill Press, 1986.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play