If you’re a parent to a deaf or hearing-impaired child, then you’ll know how hard it can be to buy toys for them. Many toys incorporate audio elements, and if your child has a hearing impairment, this means they could be missing out on a large part of the experience, which can make them feel excluded. Luckily, there are lots of toys out there that are perfect for deaf children. Some of these toys were designed specifically for deaf kids, while others simply don’t have any audio component, making them ideal for the hearing-impaired. Here are some of the best toys for deaf kids on the market right now.
Squigz are the perfect option if you’re looking for toys for deaf kids this Christmas. They’re effectively squidgy little things with suckers on the end, and you can attach them to one another in whatever combination you like. They’ll also attach to flat, non-porous surfaces like tables or countertops, making them ideal for play around the house. While there’s a “pop” element to taking them off a counter that deaf children may miss, this doesn’t impair the fun at all, so we highly recommend Squigz for your hearing-impaired child.
Scrabble is the perfect board game for hearing-impaired children. It encourages them to think about words and letter combinations in a new way, and you can impose whatever house rules you like on the game, making it a lot easier for kids to play. While there can sometimes be a timing element involved in taking turns – usually involving an hourglass – this often isn’t dictated by audio, so your kids will be able to see when their turn is up. Scrabble is a classic game for a reason, and more than earns its reputation in 2021.
You can’t go wrong with Lego. This highly interactive building block toy has been a favourite for almost a hundred years, and it’s easy to see why; if you’re looking for the best toys for deaf kids, Lego won’t disappoint. All your child needs is an imagination and the willingness to create incredible things, and Lego will oblige. You can buy pretty much any set you like, because within minutes, your child will be building whatever they like, unconstrained by whatever the set was originally intended to look like.
Okay, so we’re cheating a little here. Minecraft isn’t technically a toy; as a video game, you will need a platform on which to play it. However, many kids already have a tablet, a smartphone, or a games console in their home, and if yours does, then Minecraft is the perfect way for them to enjoy themselves. It’s effectively virtual Lego – you can build and create whatever your imagination allows, and a wide range of mods and addons allow you to go beyond the original constraints of the game. What’s more, Minecraft has full subtitle support, so it’s one of the best toys for deaf kids (despite not actually being a toy!).
If your child likes sensory experiences, we’d highly recommend this sensory ball pack from Learning Space UK. It’s a pack of 20 balls of varying textures, sizes, and densities, allowing your child to experiment with touch. These balls also have different bounce properties, so it’ll be fun for your child to throw them onto the ground and see if they bounce. The balls are perhaps better-suited to younger children, but if your kid enjoys them – or, indeed, if you do – then that’s the most important part, right?
In our opinion, one of the best options if you’re looking for toys for deaf kids is a tool set. This Chad Valley option from Argos boasts a hammer, a saw, a wrench, and plenty of other options to allow your kid to experiment freely with “fixing” things, building things, and generally interacting with their world. Every kid loves to roleplay, and that’s exactly what this toolset allows them to do. You could also consider a child’s oven, a Wild West roleplay set, or any other option that allows them to immerse themselves fully in roleplaying.
These tiles are a little on the pricier side, but they’re a great, interactive way to teach sign language to children. Sign language is a wonderful way for deaf children to communicate with the world around them, and if you’re a parent, your child will adore you all the more if you learn it with them. That’s where these tiles come in. They’ve got diagrams explaining how to make the motions for each letter, and they’re made from felt, which means they should stand up to even the most stubborn stains or damage from juice or food.
Last but not least, we have this tablet from Wacom, which will require a computer or laptop in order to operate. However, it can be an excellent way for deaf children to get in touch with their creative side. It can be frustrating not being able to communicate using sound, so let your child talk to you by drawing! They can also stimulate their artistic brain using this tablet, and who knows – you may well uncover a talent that could sustain them into their adult life!
These are some of our favourite toys for deaf or hard-of-hearing children. Whatever you opt for, just make sure it’s something that can bring out your child’s creative spirit and help them to make sense of the world around them. Being deaf or hard-of-hearing needn’t be a disability; instead, it can be a wonderful gateway to new sensory experiences!