OT-approved Christmas Gifts for Kids
Christmas is right around the corner and if you haven’t already started buying you’re probably getting pretty close. We all have people who are a little hard to buy for and buying gifts for a child with special needs can be tricky, whether you’re the parent or just a loved one wanting to give a special gift. As a therapist, I have found finding toys that are not only age-appropriate but also developmentally appropriate and accessible can be hard! You want the child to not only benefit from the gift but also genuinely enjoy it. I personally think it’s very important to keep toys as age-appropriate as possible and this can be difficult when the motor skills are significantly lower than the cognitive level. When buying for someone with special needs try to think of what they are able to do but also what they are working on improving. As a parent, you can find items that will help improve current therapy goals, and as a friend or loved one touch base with the parent and what would be beneficial and meaningful. Sometimes the simplest gifts make the biggest impacts. Here is a Christmas gift guide addressing different areas to help you come up with the perfect gift!
FINE MOTOR SKILLS
(Many of these gifts are also beneficial for bilateral coordination, and prewriting skills.)
Stringing beads– various sizes make this beneficial for a variety of developmental stages.
Pop beads-I use these constantly as a fine motor activity. The activity book is a favorite of mine!
Discovery putty– The color determines the firmness, this is also a great activity for sensory!
Super sorter pie-encourages pincer grasp and fine motor coordination.
Play dough-also a great sensory tool!
Rubix cube-also makes a good fidget/ calming toy.
Wooden noise-making puzzles– Knobbed puzzles help improve grasp.
Read more about Fine Motor Skills in this blog post, 10 At-Home Activities to Build Fine Motor Skills.
gross motor skills
Scooter board with handles– This is GREAT for vestibular input as well.
Parachute– This is also a great idea for non-ambulatory kids, laying under it while you make it move above them.
Therapy ball/peanut– Perfect for stretching, sitting on, and tummy time
Mini trampoline with handlebar– These are also a great item for sensory seeking kids!
daily life skills
Wooden toolset– Wooden toys provide more sensory stimulation than plastic.
Drill pattern game– This also incorporates visual and fine motor skills
Wooden cutting fruit– Again wooden fruit toys would provide great sensory input.
Potty watch– Trip training just got fashionable! Gentle reminders to take a break from playing and go to the potty.
Chewelry-This is a stylish alternative to a typical chewy
Weighted blanket-Personalized with their name or favorite characters on the fabric! Also, take into consideration the weight of the child when picking the weight of the blanket.
Color changing lamp– Amazing visual stimulation!
Tent-This is a great idea for kids who love to sit under tables, or in darker, secure places.
Water table– Outdoor water tables provide great stimulation as well as encouraging gross motor balance to stand at it.
Read more about Sensory in this blog post, 5 Sensory Activities for Sensory Impairment.
For a few of the toys, I mentioned I specifically put “wooden” and here is why!
Wooden toys are more stimulating when it comes to sensory input. Although the wood is typically smooth it has a soothing texture as compared to plastic. Wooden objects will also warm as the child holds them giving them a comforting feeling from the heat.
Every child deserves to have the most magical Christmas and sometimes even Santa needs a little help with finding the perfect gifts for some of the most special kids. I hope this guide helps make Christmas morning amazing for your loved ones!
GIFT IDEAS LISTED ABOVE:
- Fall Events in Georgia for Children with Disabilities in 2023 September 17, 2023
- 10 Resources for Parents Caring for Children with Disabilities August 9, 2023
- Starting School Guide for Parents of Children with Special Needs July 12, 2023
- Specially Gifted Foundation Q2 2023 Recap July 11, 2023
- Spring in the Valley 2023 Outshines Expectations June 14, 2023