Toys for therapy motivation have kept me on the thrift store prowl. So far I've had great success finding very expensive educational toys for $3.00 bucks and under and most of those have been well under a dollar.
Shape Sorters for example can be quite pricey when purchased new with even the simplest I've priced in store starting at $10.00.
My little Isaac loves playing with this type toy and he has several in our toy closet which I regularly rotate to avoid them acquiring the dreaded JTS: Jaded Toddler Syndrome.
When used for therapy the Shape Sorters are helpful for modeling: 'sharing' - he takes a turn, I take a turn, words: the shapes and colors, prepositions: down, in, out, exclamations: bing, bong, ding, or whatever else applies. It is also a good fine motor activity and perfect: cause and effect.
Only there is a teeny tiny catch to second-hand Shape Sorters,...it is very rare to find the original shapes that actually go with the original Sorter. To make matter even more complicated, the shapes to most sorters are very specific in size and shape to fit only that sorter.
How very cynical of the toy companies, it's as if they were scared to death a child might actually consider trying to play with their toy with rogue shape!
However some shapes do happen to fit other sorters and wooden blocks fit the bill pretty good for generic square and circle shapes, but what if the ultra cool sorter you have found for .59 cents has shape holes are too small for even wooden blocks?
Mommy starts flipping through possibilities.
First Thought: make some bean-bag type shapes out of felt, but my 'art and craft' time is quite limited.
Second Thought: cut shapes out of thick cardboard or craft foam, this could and would work, but it would be difficult to make the shapes 'thick' enough for easy manipulation - we're talking a two year's chubby little fingers, here.
Third Thought: actually I didn't have a third thought until I was in the check-out lane at the thrift store this Saturday and saw some thick foam - gardening kneeling pads. Immediately I saw the possibilities for potential shapes: nice bright lime green color, easily cut, yet thick enough for little fingers to grasp easily and most important, at $1.25 I wasn't take a huge gamble, so I purchased two pads.
In theory these should have cut perfectly, but in practice my circles weren't complete spheres.
But they were close enough for Isaac to get the idea. Most of the shapes I cut, I made to jusssst fit, so Isaac would have to push down,...a task he loved,...he started playing with these before I finished all the shapes,...as I stood at the counter,...he kept signing for 'more.'
Please note that these shapes are made of thick foam,...which a toddler or infant could and would easily take an experimental bite out of,...even Isaac,...who doesn't have 'mouthing issues' isn't to be trusted to play with these on his own,...so parental supervision strongly advised....It's always better to be safe than sorry with little ones.
From Isaac's point of view these Sorta, Shape Sorter Shapes are winners!
Until I post again,...may God bless and keep you!