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Amazing Products to Build Life Skills

Ah, life skills. Something that is not taught enough. As a teacher, I get shocked by many things such as 5th graders thinking Canada is a state or China is an ocean, but I think the biggest shocker is that kids do not know how to do basic things around the house or in their community.

What Are Life Skills? Why Are They Important to Children with Autism?

When I ask students what they do at home their answers are usually, "play on my phone", "make TikTok's", "read", or "hang out with my dog", but none of them ever say do my chores. So, I asked if they had chores and most students said, "No".

I remember when I was a kid I was responsible for cleaning my room, folding my clothes, washing my dishes, or just putting them in the dishwasher, and as I got to the appropriate age I made my lunches and snacks. I had responsibilities and they increased as I aged.

This lack of responsibility kind of reminds me of the Kendall Jenner episode of KUWTK where she doesn't know how to cut a cucumber and that makes you think. What are we teaching kids to be successful? If they don't have the basics, then how will they do the everyday stuff?

This of course got me thinking about Ellis, which almost everything does, and I decided I needed to be proactive and teach him the basic skills slowly as he ages, little by little. The best way to do this is of course play. I did some research on products that build life skills and decided to start with a few toys to introduce the life skills he will need to live and thrive which include cutting food, buying groceries, washing dishes, and more.

The Best Products to Build Basic Life Skills

Kitchen Cutting Set

This set not only helps with cutting real food but it's also a great fine motor activity to do together as a family. It helps kids learn how to prepare their food, strengthen their hand grip, and of course understand the process of making their meals. I love this set because it comes with a lot of different cutting tools that are all kid-safe!

The Standing Grill Set

Pretend play is crucial for development and using this standing grill set can mimic something they may see as an adult. I especially loved this grill because it has a "smoke" feature. The feature allows them to place water in a hole, press a button, and then the water turns into vapor. It's a cool cause-and-effect discussion piece as well. It also comes with food and utensils to grill with.

Checkout Counter

I do not have this, yet, but I saw it on TikTok and fell in love with it! In the video, a dad was playing checkout with his daughter and I thought what a great toy to teach a basic life lesson of purchasing items at a store, using money, and conversing with another person. I loved this idea that it is definitely on the list for a birthday present.

Dish Wash Station

Washing dishes is such an easy chore to understand but it's difficult when your size and the size of the sink don't match, so I purchased this set to help with that disadvantage. The result was that my son was not only learning how to wash dishes, but also feeding his sensory needs with water. It's very lightweight, easy to store, and comes with dishes, utensils, and fake soap.

A Busy Board

If you haven't purchased a busy board yet then this is your sign to do so. Busy boards are great toys because they have so much to offer inside of them such as telling time, tying shoelaces, counting, shape recognition, playing dress up on dolls, matching sizes, etc. The boards come in different varieties but this is my favorite because it's like a Velcro book that is lightweight and travels easily. It's also a toy that kids do not bored easily with, so that is always a plus!

Life Skills Toys are crucial for Growth

I think it's really important that we teach life skills as early as possible. It's great to be book smart and to get A's in all your classes, but sometimes I find people can be book smart and lack a lot of common sense which can be problematic in some scenarios. These toys are such a fun way to learn and I love that toy makers are being that creative for a young age group!



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