Four Cheap (But Effective) Child Developmental Tools


The cheapest development or therapy tool is yourself. Simply interacting with your child with song or play helps your child develop. Getting them to focus on you and follow you around with their eyes is quite the achievement. Once they are able to do this, it is easier to work on other tasks as they are very interested in what you are doing.

Plastic Ball

Our recent favorite therapy tool is the big plastic ball available almost any where in those huge cages. For 3 dollars you have an exercise ball 🙂 You can see in the video there are lots of activities that you can do on the ball. It helps with core strength and balance. It also helps the body learn how to react to different positions, take for example if you are “falling” to the left to reach out and catch yourself. Cheap tool number one is useful with the ball as you keep them entertained and using different muscles.


Another cheap tool we learned about at our very first occupational therapy visit was the maracas you can buy at Party City or Amazon. For 49 cents a piece you have a rattle that actually fits in the hand of your child and is light enough for them to shake. I don’t know if you felt the same way, but the rattles in the store are HUGE. Granted Noah’s hands are small, but I don’t know how any child gets their hands around those in the beginning.


One last cheap therapy tool is the different textures that are available at your house from your clothes, to furniture, to outside. Noah loves to feel things right now with his hands and feet. We notice him rubbing his hands and feet against everything. His favorite is his pack ‘n play mesh.


Have you found any cheap development tools?

Don't Miss A Post!

Enter your email address and be the first to know when a new post is published.


  1. This made me smile from ear to ear. Love it! good job mommy and daddy. He is such a happy boy.

    • Hey thanks so much! He is doing great, God has been very, very good to us!

      I can’t wait to check our your blog as well!

      How old is your little one?

  2. Love it! So great you mentioned first and foremost how important plain ol interaction and fun with your baby is. Can’t be bought at any price and is the most important thing ever!! And FUN!! I swear my face hurts from smiling most days! lol! Great video!

  3. I agree whole heartedly about the exercise ball and all of the others. Later on–cardboard boxes. It was a cardboard box that first allowed my daughter to walk. It was easy for her to push. She could put some of her weight on it without the box escaping her or collapsingf. We used the box that her push-pull toy came in. Small cardboard boxes served as a pegboard to help fine tune her fine motor skills. Or you can cut a rectangular slit in a box for your child to place objects into. We even used cardboard boxes to get that “perfect” height for Ellie to go from sit to stand. Costco–they did not mind me sifting through their boxes at the checkout line one bit 🙂

    • Anna,

      Thanks for sharing this! The cardboard box sounds like a GREAT idea!

      How old was your little Ellie when you started using it? Baby Noah is about 7 1/2 months old, and is starting to put weight on his legs, but of course no where near walking (but who knows!) 🙂

      How old is your little Ellie now by the way? I can’t wait to check our your blog.

      By the way, you should grab a Gravatar —->

  4. What a beautiful smile! And you are exactly right; despite all the thousands of educational tools available, your child’s best teacher and developmental tool is YOU!

  5. Great site – tons of info. I’ll just drop an idea that worked well for us. Our son is now 23 years old – where has THAT time gone. Sharing your first year experience here brings back all those great – and I mean GREAT – memories. Sure, lots of concerns, worries in the first few days – but we think we had our heads screwed on right, knew that the more information we had the better we’d be able to move forward – assess the recommendations from the professionals and compare that to our own common sense and figure we’d get it right as we progressed. Anyway – lots more to say, but at a different time. Right now – what worked in respect to physio – had great services from a therapist and she suggested using a sports headband – the terry towel kind – sewn together in the middle and then on Carson’s [our son] thighs under his clothing. Sounds so restrictive – and that was our first concern – but for hip dysplasia concerns, we felt it did wonders. Actually Carson was too small initially – head band wouldn’t stay on, so we sewed 2 tennis wrist bands together, and used that until he outgrew them. Did it help? For us – well, for Carson – immensely. Again – hope this is found to be helpful. Love your site!

    • Thanks for the tips. We have asked our therapists if Noah needs the hip huggers (or your cheaper version which sounds awesome) and they say no at this point. They did recommend them earlier but like you he was too small however we were not clever enough to create one on our own…excellent idea

  6. Melody Lehrman says

    My therapist used baby bicycle shorts with the legs sewn together as hip huggers for Amber. 🙂 I called them her ‘hot pants’ LOL!
    It forced her not to have such a wide stance while trying to learn how to walk and balance her weight. it gave her support on her hips, etc. 🙂 We would only have her wear them for like 5 minutes of trying to walk, and then would take them off and again would have her try walking and she usually walked much better..if only for a few steps. 🙂 She’s still not walking, but we don’t need them anymore. 🙂

  7. An inexpensive tool we use with our little guy right now is an unbreakable mirror. Like one you would buy for a school locker. He gets such a kick out of looking at himself.

  8. Jennifer says

    We had our Early Intervention evaluation today. As a new mommy, I loved watching the therapists “play” with Baker! I learned so many things I can incorporate into our playtime that will help him strength muscles and develop his speech. One of his primary goals is developing head control. We do a lot of tummy time now; are there other exercises or activities you would recommend to strength his neck?

    • There is nothing better than tummy time 🙂 setting up things for him to look at such as mirrors or toys (those that are black and white can work best). We used a boppy pillow to help prop him up more in the beginning. Our OT had us use things that made sounds to get Noah to move his head from one side to the other. So he would be looking one way and we would put the sound on the other side and he would have to lift his head up and move it to look towards what was making that awesome sound 🙂 you can also do supported sitting, having your child sit on your lap and your hand high up on the back and probably holding the neck at the very beginning and entertaining your baby yourself. As they get stronger you can move your hands down the back. You can also do things in the side lying position which allows the hands to do a bit more since they don’t have to work against gravity. Hopefully these are helpful 🙂

Leave A Comment And Let Us Know What You Think!


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.