ESI Toys

The pop-up-style enclosures, and Tub of Toys (TT) are recommended play toys for the ESI. Similar toys with equivelant functions were used in its initial development. The ESI normative data represent children’s social behavior while playing with these types of toys.

Toys were screened and selected based on their ability to engage children’s interest and evoke interactions with peers and adults. Additionally important criteria for selecting these toys included safety, common availability in child care settings, and suitability for use by children six months to 3 years. Additionally, we rejected toys that met these criteria, but too often evoked sitting and exploration rather than play and interaction.

Burger Stand Pop Up Tent

Big Burger Pop Up Tent

Pop Up School Bus

Pop-Up School Bus

Form A: Pop-up-style enclosures with balls :

These type of toys are typically made of a flexible nylon enclosure, similar to that of the bus and “Big Burger Drive Thru” on the right. Playhut and Gigatent offer several different styles of these enclosures. They are characterized by a door that children can walk through, and window(s) through which children can communicate with each other and/or the adult play partner. For safety reasons, there is no attached floor. In addition to crawling through, children may stand up in the enclosures, open and close the nylon doors, and look out the windows. The balls are not sold with the enclosures but can be borrowed from the TT toy set described below. The balls are used to encourage further communication between children within and around the toys.

Tub of Toys

Tub of Toys

Form B: Tub of Toys (TT):

The Tub of Toys is an assortment of toys including a bowl, three balls, at least two people, a vehicle with which to interact (e.g., a car, space ship, etc.), and four animal figures. Although there is not a specific set of toys recommended for this toy set, the Fisher-Price Little People® figurines pictured here are acceptable options for the people and animal figurines. Appropriately sized vehicles that do not require batteries should be used to encourage children to interact with the figurines. All toys used for these assessments should be ‘wipeable’. As such, toys with a cloth exterior would not be appropriate because they cannot be wiped with antiseptic wet wipes.

See the ESI administration instructions (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader) for additional information, including recommendations on how to use these toys during an observation and modify them for children with sensory impairments.

ESI Toy Purchasing Information


All of these toys can be purchased at online stores such as Amazon. The tables below contain links to the toys in various online stores. Alternatively, you may go to one of the online stores listed in the table below and type the name of the toy into the store’s “search” field. While other stores may also sell these toys, these were the most popular stores that had them in stock as of our last check. If you have problems finding them at the stores listed, search for them via Google or via by typing the toy’s name into the website’s search fields.

Pop-Up Enclosures

Click the link in the right column or use name to search for these toys in stores. To search for a toy online, type the name of the item into the store’s search field.
Store Approximate Price Link and Toy Name
Amazon $26 Homfu Gingerbread Play Tent
Amazon $26 Liberty Imports Pop up Fire Engine
$30 Amazon, GigaTent School Bus
Walmart, GigaTent School Bus


Tub of Toys (TT)

There is no specific manufactured toy set for the Tub of Toys (TT). However, we recommend using figurines from any of the Little People® toy sets. For example, the ECI communication measure uses the Little People® Farm and Busy Day House. Figurines from one of these toy sets could be used for the Tub of Toys. See the ECI Toy Purchasing Information for additional recommendations.

Also needed for the Tub of Toys is an appropriately sized vehicle and three balls of similar size.

Toys used should not require batteries and should be made of material that can be easily cleaned with a wet wipe.


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