Wyatt was such a curious and intent little guy, we were constantly searching for play activities and toys that would not only interest him but that he could explore himself with minimal assistance. The following suggestions are some of his favorites.
We put mirrors above his changing table, on the side of his crib, on the floor, anywhere we could think of because Wyatt was fascinated by his and our reflections. If you don't have a lot of mirrors around, you can also stretch aluminum foil over cardboard or a piece of wood. The shiny surface and distorted reflection also intrigued Wyatt.
We never could keep enough balloons around. Wyatt loved watching the balloons over head but most of all loved to move and hit the balloons himself. Helium balloons were just buoyant enough to lift his arms slightly when wrapped around his wrist and through his fingers so that when he moved his arms and hands ever so slightly, the balloon also moved. With supported movement, Wyatt would reach for and hit the balloon and giggle while doing so. We finally ended up renting a helium tank so we would have plenty of balloons on hand for Wyatt. The Mylar balloons worked best because they were shiny and held the helium the longest. They are also refillable!!
Due to Wyatt's limited movement, he had a strong tendency for visual activities-anything and everything interesting to look at intrigued him. Wyatt curiously looked over everything from faces to mobiles to Christmas lights wrapped around his crib rail, to musical crib toys that had colorful lights.
Wyatt was able to initiate movements such as reaching and kicking but because of his diminished strength was unable to complete his intended movements. However, we were able to help him complete his movements by gently supporting his larger muscles. The muscles closer to the body such as the upper arm and elbow, upper leg and knee are the largest but also the most affected in SMA. By supporting these muscles through gently holding them, this "frees up" the hand and feet, fingers and toes to reach, kick and grab onto toys and people. There was no greater feeling for us as his caregivers than when Wyatt reached out and grabbed our noses or our shirts and held on so sweetly. Ask your Physical Therapist just how to help your child with these movements.
Tongue depressors were the right weight and size for Wyatt to hold and move all by himself. Rattles and commercially available infant toys were just too bulky or too heavy for Wyatt. We decorated tongue depressors with shiny ribbons, stickers, and colorful markers so they were interesting to look at. We also added small bells to serve as a rattle. Wyatt loved these homemade toys and was able to play with them by himself once placed in the palm of his hand.