The In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapist’s Toolbox

toy box

I was training a new PT today at the clinic and was listing off all the things I thought she needed to start treating patients in their homes.  After that, I decided I might as well make a list so I can just share it with other therapists and any other parents looking for certain toys for their kiddos.  So with that, here is my list of items that will be helpful when treating kiddos that are 0-3 years old in their home.  I say 0-3 years since that is the most common age group that is treated in the home.

I will do a post in the coming weeks about why I use certain toys.  This list isn’t final of course, and if I remember anything else, I will add it to the list.  Please let me know if there’s any other toys you use!

I will divide the list by items for patients who aren’t walking (generally under 18ish months) and patients who are walking.

Younger kiddos under 18 months


  • O-Ball! my number 1 toy- I have it in 3 different sizes ( small, medium, and large!) Here’s more info in this post.
  • Rattle ( a ring rattle and rattle with a handle)
  • Music toy
  • Light and music toy
  • Simple cause and effect toy that can be activated easily when the child is lying on their back or side or tummy
  • Thick paged book with bright colors and different textures
  • 1 inch sized blocks
  • squishy blocks
  • Shape sorter or shape bucket (practice putting things in and out)
  • Piggy bank/ treasure chest/ or milk jug toy (these are common toys that practice a radial or pincer grasp to try to put narrower objects in a slot)- this post talks about the piggy bank
  • Ring stacker
  • Pop up toy
  • Toy with wheels to practice pushing something along a table
  • Playground ball
  • Bubbles (refer to this post for details)


  • Lap tray! Refer to this post
  • Exercise ball- 65cm size (this is the average exercise ball size but is useful up until kiddos start walking)
  • Push toy- to practice walking
  • Small mirror- I use this in all positions- back, tummy, sitting- preferably using a mirror that has a stand

Kiddos that are walking: 

Toys: (i will still use some of the toys above, so don’t forget those!)

  • playground ball
  • puzzles with different sized knobs
  • Connect 4- see this post
  • Any game/toy that has multiple pieces- These are good for obstacle courses in a home or when you’re practicing any walking or stair task, so you can do the course multiple times.
  • Small balls like tennis balls
  • Bowling pin game- good for practicing throwing and catching and kicking.  I have a smaller foam bowling pin set
  • balloon to practice catching
  • Mr. Potato Head- good to use in an obstacle course because of all the pieces.  It’s also a good way to practice learning body parts
  • Bubbles (refer to this post for details)


  • hula hoop to practice stepping over obstacles
  • pool noodles to make a variety of obstacles- see this post
  • step stools to practice stepping up/down a step and stepping across stepping stones- see this post for examples
  • cones- good to practice walking around obstacles or making a goal for throwing and kicking

Here are some examples of the toys I listed above:

wooden blocks

shape sorter

pop-up toy

ring stacker

puzzles with different sized knobs


Categories: Tips and Tricks Tuesdays

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1 reply

  1. This is a great resource for a new in-home physical therapist! Thank you!!


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