A recent day working with special needs preschoolers reminded me of an important truth to remember for all young children, over stimulation is one of the main stresses for children (and adults).

We live in a world full of things, full of sounds, full of choices. You can’t control the world, but you can make a more peaceful setting for your child at home in at least one room, or corner. A calm place for your child’s mind to rest and create. This is a huge topic, so in this post we’ll focus on toys.

Though it’s true a shiny new plastic toy is exciting at first, especially if it makes noise, those are the toys that can add stress to your child’s life. I’m not advocating leaving the modern world behind, but limiting the number of those toys available at any one time is helpful.

Better choices for focused play and creativity are simple toys that are highly versatile. Toys that allow your child to calm themselves and to try out their own ideas include:

* Play dough   (so calming – homemade recipe below)

* Architectural Building Blocks   (can be built into anything and added into play with other toys)

* Simple dolls and stuffed animals   (soft toys are more satisfyingly tactile)

* Wooden small cars and trains with track or a floor mat with roads

* A bowl or basket of natural items   (depending on your child’s age and abilities, obviously nothing small for children who still put items in their mouths. Your child may help you find these items outside – pinecones, leaves, acorns, stones, small sticks. These items work well with all of the toys mentioned above.)

Here is a link to and excellent recipe for homemade play dough. Those little store-bought containers are expensive and frankly not enough. You want to make plenty for your child to play and build with. Enough to emersed their hands in. Be sure to keep in an airtight container when not in use.