Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Auditory Sensory Toys & Tools for Kids

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We struggle with auditory sensory issues here, especially in places like a gymnasium.

For example, we avoided attending my husband's weekly basketball games for well over a year, simply because they were too overwhelming for my son.

Now that we have better strategies in place, we are able to attend the games. However, the buzzer is still too loud for my son, which is progress from him refusing to even enter the noisy gym. So, together, him and I cover his ears while the buzzer sounds. Every single time.

However, to get to this point, we have had to do a lot of work on managing his auditory sensory issues.

We did a lot of auditory sensory activities and relied on auditory sensory toys and tools like the ones listed below.

Auditory sensory toys & tools for kids - great ideas for kids with autism and/or sensory processing issues from And Next Comes L

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Auditory Sensory Toys & Suggestions for Kids

Most of the ideas listed below would also make fabulous stocking stuffer ideas for Christmastime!

1. Audiobooks

My kids love listening to audiobooks, especially while following along with a print book. Listening to audiobooks with headphones is a great calming activity for kids. Both of my kids really love the Pigeon audiobooks, but here are two other favorites that they enjoy:

Stick Dog Chases a Pizza Audio Book

Where the Wild Things Are and Other Stories

2. Headphones & Earmuffs

A set of good headphones to listen to music on a MP3 player or iPod is a great auditory sensory tool. My youngest loves to listen to music and audiobooks on his MP3 player and it is calming for him. Or, in contrast, a set of hearing protector earmuffs are perfect for kids who need help blocking out loud noises, staying focused, and reducing background noises. My oldest could certainly benefit from them, but he is also really good at covering his ears by himself.

Sound reducing/hearing proector earmuffs for kids

3. Musical Instruments

Musical instruments are fabulous for providing auditory sensory input. Anything from tambourines to jingle bells to drums to the dreaded recorder are great choices for kids. Another fun idea for auditory sensory input is an echo microphone. I remember loving them as kids and my boys had one when they were younger (it eventually got chewed to death by my oral sensory seeker and never replaced). You can even pick up a lot of musical instruments from the dollar store these days, making them wonderful stocking stuffer ideas for Christmastime.

Melissa & Doug Band in a Box

4. Sound Machines

Soft, background noises can be comforting and calming for kids. We use humidifiers and/or air purifiers as background noises for my kids while they sleep, but you can also invest in a sound machine. I recommend getting a portable one (so one with batteries) so that you can bring it with you when travelling.

Sound machine

5. Sound Board Games

Board games with an auditory component can be a great sensory toy for kids. We regularly like to spend a weekend morning at Toys R Us just letting the kids play with the toys (we never rarely buy anything). One toy that the boys play with every single time we go is Bop It! They love trying to play it and it provides lots of wonderful auditory input.

Bop it!

6. Sound Tubes, Groan Tubes, & Other Noise Makers

Kids will love making and exploring sound with sound tubes or groan tubes. Other ideas to try are thunder tubes or pop toobs. Lots of party favors, especially around New Year's, would also provide great auditory sensory input for some kids. Things like clappers or party horns, for instance.

7. Auditory Fidgets

You can even buy auditory fidgets that make sounds when you squish them.

Auditory fidgets

8. Relaxation Music & Classical Music

Keep the kids calm and relaxed with some relaxation music! Classical music also works great for this purpose. We personally love the CDs from the My First collection, such as the My First Classical Music Album.

9. Metronome

This idea may seem a little unusual at first, but really, a metronome is a fantastic auditory sensory tool for kids. The tick of the metronome is steady and even. You can make it go fast or slow. You can encourage your kids to do calm down breathing with each beat, for example. My kids personally love listening to the sound of a metronome. Ours even has a name: Mr. 500!


10. Sound Puzzles

Another great auditory sensory toy idea is a sound puzzle. There are lots of different sound puzzles available for kids, but our favorites are the ones by Melissa & Doug, including these two:

Melissa & Doug Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Zoo Animals Sound Puzzle

Looking for more auditory sensory ideas for kids? You'll definitely want to try the sound matching hearts gamejingle bell threadingjingle bell busy boxjingle bell run boredom buster, or these two drum games.

Auditory sensory toys & tools for kids - great ideas for kids with autism and/or sensory processing issues from And Next Comes L