The Tools and Toys We Use

September 2020 | Question of the Month
little boy playing with mirror

It’s here! I’ve been super excited to compile a list of tried and true tools and toys that we use for our children—or really anything we’ve found helpful!

Can I start with mine? My son’s favorite (and most game-changing) “toy” has been a floor-length mirror. I lie not! We laid it down on its side on the ground against a wall, so its ultra-accessible to him. We discovered it on a whim, but its be so helpful to Kimball in his quest to learn language. 

You see, he’s hard of hearing and wears hearing aids. We’ve worked with a therapist since he was only a couple months old to help him learn to listen and in time, speak. One of the key parts of that development is learning to imitate. When we propped the mirror on its side, it was like magic. He immediately started making faces at the mirror—the ultimate imitator!

He was more excited to play with his mirror than with any other toy. Even now 18 months later, he loves giggling and playing peekaboo with his mirror.

So, if you have a young (or young at heart) child, I recommend giving it a try! I bet they’ll love it. 
Below you’ll find other parent’s favorite toys/tools for their children, grouped by three categories: dwarfism, tubies, and deaf/hard of hearing.

A big thanks to all that contributed!
I hope this list gives you ideas for holiday presents. It sure did for me!

Affiliate Disclosure: At no additional cost to you, our wonderful listener and reader, we earn a commission if you decide to purchase using some of the links below. It helps support our podcast! 

"PVC walker! We built it ourselves and it gives him so much independence."

—Brigid B.

"Alex Jr. Table is our favorite. Great height for practicing sitting and pulling to stand."

—Melissa H.

Tripp Trapp chair, Alex sensory toy table (when Nora was 1), Little Tykes Grow with me Kitchen, Tiny Love 3 in 1 rocker (when she was an infant since she couldn’t be put in much), water play mat for tummy time as a baby, Micro Mini Deluxe Scooter (best purchase ever).”

(Hear all about her daughter Nora on Episode 6 and Episode 7.)

—Emily Y.

"We got this and an Alex Jr. table for his birthday!"

—Mistea N.

"I love the Tripp Trapp Chair, and will add the Strider Bike to the list."

—Sandy T.

"Not sure if this counts, but the button covers are my favorite lol. And my mom makes them so they are super cute too."

—Aimee D.

"These.. I use them to hang the feeding bags everywhere. 😂" 

—Viviane C.

"We have an extra-large carabiner (for hanging the feed bags)."

—Aimee D.

"Our free arm assist!"

—Julianne G.

"The flying squirrel feeding pump holder, and the tubie guard."

—Stephanie J.

"The miracle syringe and Vitamix!"

—Heather M.

"ASL flashcards and closed captions."

—Linda G.

"Little mini denture brushes we use them for cleaning the ear molds."

—Natasha D.

"Roger FM, a direct microphone connection to the aids. I can call him in from play without having to yell. Great when they go to school."

—Jodi B.

"We used little people A LOT!!!!! We used it for following multi step direction and comprehension, sounds of different people, animals and vehicles when she was very very young."

—Katie M.

"I absolutely love these ASL blocks. It’s helping us learn together. We make a game saying and signing each letter as we build a tower. When it’s too tall to add more my daughter can knock it down and start again. 🙂"

—Stephanie F.

"Baby Dolls. They do so much with them. Feed them, bathe them, clothe them. So much language!"

—Rita E.

Infant—light projector mobile and vibrating lullaby dog.

Toddler—anything with loud sounds and lights.

School age—I had ASL binders made for them. All of the pages are dry erase. (They have) little squares with words on them (Velcro on the back) to match the sign. The ASL alphabet is along with English alphabet, farm animals that again they have to match up the asl square with, practice writing their name, etc.

—Jamie L.

“Her hearing aids! 🦻🏻”


—Tali H.

“I love visual aids for our HOH 11yr old. We use a number line for math, a calculator to check answers, a 100 block, a place value sheet that’s laminated so she can work on decimals, and a multiplication table. So my daughter’s spelling is bad but I find that she loves to internet browse on Amazon and and she’ll get lots of good practice reading and writing wish lists of Barbies she wants.🤪”


—Joy C.

“(Our) favorite toy is definitely my daughter’s Joss American Girl doll! We don’t use many “tools”, but she loves adding charms and tube trinkets to her hearing aid. 🙂”


—Bethany R.

“My daughter loves putting big earrings on her hearing aids.

And the Roger touch screen for the boys so they can listen to what they want at home.

My oldest is trialing the Streamer at school and that seems to be a big hit for him. Hoping to get the younger two on it soon.” 


—Annie W.

“My daughter loves her hearing aid headband! They are made out of a soft material, so they don’t hurt her head and she loves all the colors and patterns they come in!

We also bought her the Homer app and books and the app has ASL on it. She loves doing the lessons! We also have a game of CVC words. She loves that one too!”



—Alyssa T.

“I have been using unscented Boogie Wipes to clean her molds since she got her HA’s at 11 months (she’s almost 9 now). They work really well to get any ear hunk off and it removes the Otoferm cream nicely too. And since it’s saline it doesn’t damage the mold like some stuff can. I usually cut the wipes up and keep them in a baggie and they last a lot longer.”


—Andrea H.

“She loves changing out her stickers on cochlear and hearing aid!”


—Tesia R.

ITV signed stories.”


—Nikki M.

“Right now, my three-year old's favorite toy is a little green matchbox car. He loves to play with it outside and roll it through dirt. He also enjoys dragging it on the carpet and watching tracks form. Usually he is narrating the action as if it is a vehicle from Paw patrol. I hear a lot of calls for 'Ryder'. I just love watching him use his imagination.”


—Diana M.

“This is for my 17-month-old.

Tool: pilot cap for keeping his hearing aids in, especially on his left ear which is not typically shaped.

Toy: he has been obsessed with The Very Hungry Caterpillar for several months, and he constantly begs for the signed version from CSDB on YouTube.”


—Amanda W.

“For my 9-month-old:

Tool: Hey Bear sensory videos on YouTube. Super bright and fun colors and I lay my bass for my sound system down close to his bouncer when I turn it on so he can feel it.

Toy: he's got about 3. A plastic Sprite bottle he's been obsessed with it since I had Sprite last; his little toy cell phone that has a mirror and balls that move around on the inside; and a light up cloud toy that is also a teether but it slowly changes through the colors of the rainbow.”


—Sami H.

Ep. 111: Season 7 Kickoff lake and snowy mountain


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68: Dipping My Toes into Educational Advocacy