NewsState

Actions

Marquette engineering students, high schoolers make adaptive toys

As a part of Penfield's Inclusive Play: Toys for All program, they’re making simple changes to give more kids the chance to learn through play.
Posted at 9:56 AM, Nov 20, 2023

MILWAUKEE — A group of engineering students at Marquette University are using their talents to make adaptive toys for kids with varying abilities.

“As a little kid I didn’t have the many toys and the toys I did have—I had a blast,” Marquette junior Jorge Torres said. “So knowing that can give that same feeling to these kids is pretty amazing.”

As a part of Penfield’s Children Center’s Inclusive Play: Toys for All program, they’re working with dozens of Milwaukee area high school robotics teams to make the modifications.

Together they’re making simple changes to toys—like replacing a small button with a larger one—to give more kids with limited range of motion or fine motor skills the chance to learn through play.

“The rewarding thing for me is seeing the kids smile but also having a parent light up,” Penfield Speech Language Pathologist Vladimir Bojelic said, “because that’s the first time they’ve seen a kid do a certain movement or make a certain sound.”

Penfield leaders said on average adaptive toys are 400 percent more expensive than traditional toys, so programs like there’s helping make them free, go a long way towards helping families on a budget.