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Multiple Benefits of Light Up Toys for Children

Hand-held spinning light show globe
Lifting Spirits

With darkness falling earlier and earlier, we need a dazzling light show to lighten our spirits. Meteor Storm does that and more. Spinning, bright colored lights in ever changing patterns attract our attention. Captivated, we watch the show and feel our tension slip away. We’re lighter in spirit, more joyful. Other light up toys that also enthrall are  Mini Meteor Storm and Light Show Stick. Below are some benefits of light up toys for children.

Behavioral Distraction

Because light up toys are spellbinding, a child in the midst of a full blown meltdown may turn his attention to an amazing light show and stop acting out. In this case, the light up toy helps restore calm and supports self regulation. Meltdowns can often be prevented by providing a light up toy to a child struggling with self-control. “An ounce of prevention,” as the saying goes, “is worth a pound of cure.”

Therapeutic Distraction

In another setting, spinning light up toys make ideal distractions. Consider Meteor Storm. In a therapeutic setting, it draws a child’s focus away from a frightening situation. Child life specialists use light up toys to distract children undergoing simple medical procedures, such as a blood draw or inserting an intravenous drip line. Instead of the child freaking out, she becomes mesmerized by concentric circles of changing lights spinning inside a globe. Before the fascination wears off, the procedure is finished, and the child is too spellbound to notice. Such therapeutic distraction reduces patient and parent distress, improves patients’ coping skills and ability to cooperate, and makes the procedure go more smoothly. As a result a potentially traumatic experience becomes a positive one.

Visual Tracking Assessment

Vision specialists use Meteor Storm to assess visual tracking in children who are blind and visually impaired. Those with low vision delight in holding one close to their faces, watching the bright colored lights spin while listening to the hum and feeling the mild vibration the spinning creates. Teachers frequently motivate students by setting aside time to play with a Meteor Storm once a task is finished.

Fine Motor Development

These light up toys develop fine motor skills. In addition to grasping and holding the toys, children must press and hold the switch that starts the light show. This means the child must pay attention to what he’s doing or the lights literally go out.

Gross Motor Development

Lazer Fingers, lights with elastic bands for wearing on the fingers brighten up ceiling and walls as fingers dance and arms circle and swing. Getting a move on—dancing and prancing—takes the Lazer Fingers experience to new heights. To take it to the max, add music for a multi-sensory experience.

Added Safety On Halloween

Visibility is vital to safety as children go trick or treating. These light up toys make children easier for motorists to see in the dark. And add unexpected dazzle to the door-to-door trek.

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Distracted? Distracting? What’s Distraction?

When hearing the word distraction, what comes to mind? According to the New Oxford American Dictionary, distraction has three distinct meanings. The most common refers to anything that keeps us from giving our full attention to something else. Often we view that “something else” as more important than whatever or whoever is interrupting us. Sometimes it is. Others absolutely not. The definition is ambivalent. The situation determines what’s a bane and what’s a blessing.

If I’m concentrating on writing a blog post and constantly being interrupted, the interruptions are keeping me from focusing my full attention on my writing. That’s a hindrance. On the other hand, child life specialists use distraction toys and techniques to divert a child’s attention away from a frightening or painful scenario. Such distractions reduce stress and increase the child’s ability to cope. Similarly, distractions help prevent or minimize emotional meltdowns in children.

Additional definitions, “diversion or recreation” and “extreme agitation of the mind or emotions,” reflect the same polarities as the primary meaning. Perhaps if we embrace this duality of meaning, we can avoid extreme agitation by allowing ourselves a brief diversion. Breathe deeply. Find a quiet place – preferably outdoors – and simply sit. Take a walk. Balance is crucial to our well-being.

C. S. Lewis wrote “Children are NOT a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work.” Most parents would agree, at least in principle. Our most important work is rearing our children. Doing so is our privilege and our responsibility, and we take that seriously.

Being responsible parents means providing for our children: clothing, food, shelter, health care, and education. To accomplish this, we engage in other important work – that of earning a living. If we’re not mindful, our jobs can drive us to distraction. We’re called upon to create boundaries and establish equilibrium among myriad important tasks including our most important one.

Interrupt the cycle by creating a diversion. Spend time in a leisure pursuit with your children. Switch off electronic devices and play. What play means to you and your children will depend on ages, stages, interests, and available resources.

With holidays approaching, consider baking, making cards, or decorating butcher or craft paper for one-of-a-kind gift wrap. Explore service opportunities in your community and choose one to brighten the holidays for others. Perhaps read aloud a favorite holiday story or sing familiar songs at a retirement home. What’s important is being together, sharing experiences, making memories. Creating positive experiences for others shows our children the importance of kindness. They learn such lessons best from watching us. Whatever words we use, our actions speak louder.

Now back to the word of the day – distraction. Be mindful of interruptions to your most important work and use recreation and leisure pursuits to avoid being driven to a state of mental distress. Breathe deeply, slow the pace, and savor the moment.

PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play

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Top 7 Light Up Toys

Light up toys are our best sellers. Some are simple, others are more complex. All immediately grab our attention. Spellbound, we focus intently on the lights. Waiting expectantly to see what comes next. While watching, we’re so absorbed in the moment that we forget our worries.  As a result, our mood improves. Beyond that, our bodies relax and our minds calm.  Which is what makes light up toys such effective distraction toys. As well as why making time to play is good for the body and good for the brain.

Beyond those benefits,  light up toys help children develop skills. Not only by reenforcing their emerging  understanding cause and effect but also by improving their fine motor skills. In addition, following the movement of the lights strengthens visual tracking skills. Universally appealing, light up toys delight both the young and the young at heart. Starting at number 7, here’s our take on what makes each of these light up toys a winner. Sales determined the order of the best light up toys.

Going Swing

Seventh place goes to Going Swing which changes color with a squeeze of the hand. Move through seven constant colors: blue, green, red, purple, cyan, yellow, and white to slow, then fast pulsing color bursts. Shock resistant polycarbonate core features a removable, ribbed, thermoplastic cover that provides slip resistant tactile stimulation. Going Swing comes with a detachable lanyard for wearing and swinging. Imagine calling your posse together and creating dazzling light shows. Simply by dancing, prancing, and waving Going Swings. Then use your smart phone to capture the spontaneous celebration of light and movement.

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Light Up Whirly Wheel

Number six, Light Up Whirly Wheel, demonstrates how something old can become new again with the addition of lights. Experience centrifugal forces first hand. Tip Whirly Wheel up and down by its handle to make the wheel spin. Spinning creates the rainbow light effect, The faster the wheel spins, the brighter the light display. High quality magnets keep the wheel spinning smoothly along metal rails. Drop the wheel onto the floor, and watch the top spin like crazy! Not only develops visual tracking skills but also improves fine motor skills and wrist rotation. Measures 12″ long.

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 Going Magic Light Ball

Fifth place belongs to Going Magic Light Ball. This 2 3/4-inch diameter ball changes color with a squeeze of the hand. Squeeze  through seven colors – blue, green, red, purple, cyan, yellow, and white plus three light modes – constant color, slow, and fast pulsing. Know how to juggle? Going Magic Light Ball is ideal for creating dazzling, mesmerizing light shows. The shock resistant polycarbonate core is clad in a removable, ribbed, thermoplastic cover that provides slip resistant tactile stimulation.

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Flashing Spiky Ball

In fourth place is the sensory and simply delightful Flashing Spiky Ball. Bounce or whack on a hard  surface to activate the colored flashing lights inside this 2 1/2″ diameter malleable, spiky ball. The soft spikes provide sensory input that many children and adults find calming.

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Light Up DNA Ball

Number three is the ultra smooth, soft, flexible, thermoplastic, elastomer Light Up DNA BallFilled with soft, translucent mini spheres in assorted bright pastels and a LED ball that lights up when squeezed. In addition to relieving stress, squeezing  improves flexibility and strengthens the muscles in fingers and hand.

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Mini Meteor Storm

Runner-up to the coveted first place position is a miniature spinning light show on a break-away cord. Mini Meteor Storm hums softly and gently vibrates while spinning. Press and hold on/off switch keeps child engaged and re-enforces an emerging understanding of cause and effect. Measures 4″ tall. Worn as a necklace, Mini Meteor Storm provides instant distraction on demand.

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Meteor Storm

At the top of light up toys is Meteor Storm. A spinning ring of 10 lights creates ever-changing, multi-colored light patterns inside a clear globe. Steady hum and gentle vibration add auditory and tactile input for a multi-sensory experience. Touch and hold on/off button teaches cause and effect and keeps child engaged. Measures 8″ tall. Meteor Storm is the ultimate distraction toy and a consistent motivator. Teachers of the visually impaired report students so eager to earn play time with a Meteor Storm that they readily “get down to business” and complete their assignments promptly. And, of course, Meteor Storm is a great antidote to a grey day or a dark night.

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Quiet Fidget Toys

Many children simply cannot sit still. Their very being demands movement. Unable to concentrate, these easily distracted children become disruptive, distracting classmates, interrupting instruction, and frustrating the teacher. When a child does his best to meet expectations and repeatedly falls short, his self esteem suffers. He may start wondering if he can ever do anything right, setting the stage for emotional and mental distress.

One way to help an easily distracted, ants-in-the-pants child is with fidget toys; small, hold-in-the-hand objects that a child can manipulate quietly and unobtrusively, without disturbing others. This activity satisfies a need for sensory input that relaxes the child who then can pay closer attention.

Adults use fidgets for stress relief. Manipulating fidgets exercises fingers and hands, reducing stiffness, improving flexibility, and building hand strength, a benefit beginning signers appreciate.

For situations requiring quiet, unobtrusive fidgets, consider these kid-approved ones. We all have preferences that influence our choices. Tactile responses range from avoiding to seeking out tactile input. When choosing fidget toys, these preferences dictate what’s likely to work best. Variety, we’ve all heard, is the spice of life. Having a variety of appealing fidget toys provides choices and increases the likelihood of their proving useful.

Bead Ball
Grab a Bead Ball and knead away stress. Bead-filled, ultra soft, flexible, thermoplastic, elastomer ball invites kneading and squeezing. Two and one-half inch diameter, easy to grip ball builds finger and hand strength, calms, and relieves stress. Assorted colors. Not for “biters.”BeadBall

Aku Ring
These soft, super flexible, seven-inch diameter rings feature a unique nipple studded surface that makes grasping easy and provides much needed tactile input to soothe and center a sensory seeker.

 

flexible,spiky rings for hand maninpulation

 

 

Sea Life Water Snake
Three fish and a sea turtle float around inside this five inch bubble-decorated water snake. Iridescent glitter adds sparkle to their turquoise “sea.” Slippery, squeezable, and squishy, water snakes easily slip from one hand to the other. Transferring from hand to hand without dropping takes practice. Not for “biters.”

 

sea life-themed water wiggly

XaXa
XaXa, pronounced Ksa-Ksa, re-defines what a ball can be while inviting exploration, encouraging creativity, and challenging adults and children to explore what’s possible. Made with a polycarbonate core and a removable TPR phthalate and latex-free skin, this lightweight 2 3/4″ ball weighs only 2 2/3 ounces empty. The core is an inner ball that pulls apart to reveal a hollow center.  XaXa comes in primary color combinations: yellow/cyan, cyan/magenta, and magenta/yellow. Explore, mix and match colors. The smooth, super elastic skin, called Xa, features raised rim circular cut-outs and offers textural contrast to the bumpy, hard, rigid core. Both core and skin encourage play together and separately. Together they roll, separately the core rolls, the skin stretches, and that’s only for starters.

2 3/4" rigid ball with silicone cover

 PlayopolisToys – for the diverse needs of the citizens of play