Parenting

Finding multipurpose products for your kids

Anchel shares some of her favourite accessible products that are widely available and won’t break the bank.

Syona in her playroom.

As we got used to the idea of having a child that had special needs, we started to look at regular, everyday things for Syona in a new way. Trips to the toy store were usually a solo venture for me that involved a couple of hours of wandering around looking for specific toys that could help teach her certain skills (have you ever tried to find a single-button, cause-and-effect toy amongst the rows and rows of multi-button, light-up, music-playing toys that fill the shelves?), or help her gross and fine motor skills develop. I even researched and wrote an article that included some of our awesome finds in terms of great baby and toddler products.

We have a lot of toys. So many toys that it felt like they were swallowing our house. So when we made the decision to convert our former home office into a playroom, I looked for products that would make sense for our needs.

Our first stop to help us organize the room was Ikea. I was really excited when I saw the Stuva storage series which comes in different colour options and handle styles. I immediately fell in love with the cutout style of the handles because, as she gets older, bigger and a bit more mobile, it will be easy for Syona to open, even with her fine motor challenges. We also got some of the Kusiner storage boxes that go with the series. They are colour coded in a desperate attempt to try and keep Syona’s toys organized by category. While we were at Ikea we also fell in love with the bright, fun Multicolour Vemb rug. It is soft and colourful, which is perfect for keeping Syona surrounded with items that stimulate her from a sensory perspective. We also found the Ekkore swing. Swinging can help little ones with sensory issues and teach spatial awareness, which is a tough thing to do when there are mobility issues. Coming in at less than $50, it is a steal compared to many of the therapy swings that are out there that can cost hundreds of dollars.

We finished off the room with a few products from 3 Sprouts. Their storage bins are the perfect size for keeping larger toys off the floor. The storage boxes are a generous size and fit nicely on top of the Stuva furniture. (Bonus: We empty them out and flip them upside down and use them to practice Syona’s high kneeling — they are the perfect height and sturdiness. The caddies are cute and sized to fit all of Syona’s diaper-related things.

There are lots of modified products available for those with special needs. And I am sure that at some point we’ll require several of these products. But when we are lucky enough to find a product that is accessible, can serve multiple purposes in our house, and doesn’t require special order, it saves us money and time. And who couldn’t use that these days?

Do you look for multipurpose products for your kids? What are your favourites?