Skip to main content

Undergraduate Student Projects

Toys for all Tots

For children with severely impaired movement or other disabilities, the simple act of playing with a toy can be a huge motivation. And yet, there is an acute shortage of toys for children with special needs to activate on their own.

How you can help

Toys for All Tots, a student organization at the University of Rochester, accepts lightly used or new battery-operated toys, then adapts them with special switches so special needs children can use them.

This gives the children a strong sense of empowerment—and a strong motivation to develop other skills. For example, pediatric physical therapists at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University say special needs children are motivated to practice therapy exercises such as walking across a room when they see a an adapted toy waiting for them on the other side.  Cause and effect developmental learning from activating a toy can stimulate acquiring additional skills for those with limited mobility.

Toys for All Tots, based on a program begun at Ohio State University, is also interested in reaching out to schools and other organizations, to train others to adapt the toys.

Where will the toys be used?

Golisano Hospital, which serves a large population of special needs children from across Upstate New York.

Examples of toys suitable for adapting: Toys with lights, sounds, and movement such as Tickle-Me Elmo, bubble machines, dancing plush animals, plastic bug/animal music players. Toys with simple on/off activation are easier to adapt.

To donate a toy: Toys can be mailed or dropped off at the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Department of Chemical Engineering
4510 Wegmans Hall
P.O. Box 270166
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0166

More Information

To learn more about participating in Toys for All Tots, contact:

Rachel Monfredo, lecturer, Department of Chemical Engineering

Bryan Schellberg, student participant

Group picture