About the Real Toy Story campaign

The ‘real toy story’ campaign aims to raise awareness about both the fun and serious ways toys can help a child’s development. In the run up to Christmas, this is the real story about toys!

For any child, toys have several functions – from encouraging them to interact and explore their surroundings, learning new skills or simply having fun.

Play as a whole has a fundamental role in the growth of social, emotional and intellectual capabilities. It also encourages creativity, imagination and problem solving as well as helping children to make sense of the world around them.

For some children like Matthew, Grace and Jenna with hearing and vision impairment toys can play an additional and highly important role by acting as “objects of reference.” For example, Jenna’s support worker, Katy, will use Fairy Dolly as the symbol for going out. When it’s time to leave, Katy will give Jenna her Fairy Dolly to tell her what they are about to do.

Using objects of reference like Fairy Dolly and play sessions with sensory toys can help Jenna and Katy develop a shared language.

What sort of toys work best for deafblind children?

Illustration of toy alligator with Santa hatIt is important that any toy is accessible and appropriate and will often therefore be dependent on a child’s levels of vision and hearing, as well as any additional needs.

Multi-sensory toys with bright colours, bells and different tactile surfaces can encourage children with limited sight or hearing to use their remaining vision or hearing senses. Equally, deafblind children often like to feel vibrations generated by vibrating speakers.

Some classic games such as playing cards, Connect 4 and dominos have been adapted to be accessible to deafblind children. This is done through braillle and tactile markings built into the pieces.

More information about sensory toys

What does Sense want people to do?

Illustration of lego head with smiley faceMost of us can remember their favourite toy from when they were a child – from Barbie to a BMX to a Sega Megadrive – and now we want you to tell us all about them as part of the real toy story.

We are asking people to tweet a picture of their toy or their child’s favourite toy to the Sense Twitter page @sensetweets using the hashtag #realtoystory. You can also share your picture on Instagram and Facebook, or upload them to the Sense website. Read about how to share your photos.

Does Sense want people to donate toys?

We would encourage anyone who does want to donate toys to take them to their local Sense shop, which provides vital income for our work.

Find your local Sense shop

Related link

Survey reveals parents struggling to afford children’s Christmas toys



First published: Tuesday 11 November 2014
Updated: Tuesday 22 December 2015