Spinning Toys: Fun and Functional

Spinning Toys: Fun and Functional

By Katie Briggs, MSPT, CIMT2, CPMT

Kid-Approved (A Treatment Room Favorite)

If you’ve been in my treatment room, you’ve likely seen them: Spinning Toys. From three months to three years, spinning toys, particularly those with suction cup attachments, are a big hit with my patients.

Why Spinning Toys Are Engaging and Why I Love Them

Spinning toys are visually interesting 

The movement of a spinning toy gets a baby’s attention, and since visual tracking is an important part of development, this is a bonus in a toy. When they learn to track, they’re developing the ability to move their eyes between different objects, it helps direct their reaching, works on attention, and helps with information integration for balance. 

Spinning toys allow for fine motor exploration 

These toys are irresistible to little hands! Before they can use their fingers to spin them like we would, a fist or open palm can get them moving. As babies get more dexterous, the fingers come out and their control improves. Working on this helps with things like pincer grasp to pick things up, and even “big kid” skills like writing. 

Spinning toys can be put in different spots to encourage gross motor skills 

Babies love these toys so much that they’ll move their entire body to get them. From rolling, to crawling, to pulling to stand, kids need motivation to do things that are hard for them, and if it means they’ll get to spin one of these, they’re often willing to push themselves to do something new.  

Spinning Toys at Home 

In the clinic, I use these toys in a wide variety of ways to encourage a wide variety of skills. Some of these can easily be done at home. For example, they are a great way to play with a baby working on reaching. For a baby learning to sit, putting a spinner at eye level encourages a nice upright posture. And when a kiddo is learning to balance in standing, putting one on a sliding glass door or refrigerator works well.

So, if you’re looking for a new toy to try, give spinning toys a try. The babies, toddlers, and PTs in your life definitely approve! Here’s the link to the toys I have in the clinic. One mama just told me she spotted some in the “Dollar Spot” section of Target! (Note this is not an affiliate link. I have no vested interest in the type of spinning toys someone buys.)  

By Katie Briggs, MSPT, CIMT2, CPMT 

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