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Great Gift Ideas for Kids with Special Needs

Great Gift Ideas for Kids with Special Needs

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Wondering what to buy the atypical kiddo on your holiday list? Educational toys are great, but sometimes “just for fun” is the way to go. Keep in mind that unless the child on your list is, in fact, an infant or toddler, there are plenty of appropriate gifts for school age or older children with special needs that aren’t “baby toys.”

As the fun-loving mama of a daughter with developmental delays, here are a few tips for choosing toys and games for special kids:

1. Keep gift receipts. So parents (who know their kids’ abilities best) can easily exchange the gift for something more suitable if necessary.

2. Read toy reviews before purchasing. I nearly bought a drone suitable for kids with fine motor delays—no remote required. The reviews warned that the battery dies after five minutes of use and requires an hour to recharge. My child is a lot of things, but patient is not one of them.

3. Avoid toys with small pieces. They are difficult to manipulate for kids with fine motor issues and can end up in mouths and noses. (Side note: My husband and I BOTH stuck Lego up our noses as kids. This is not at all surprising.)

4. Kinetic sand and Slime are trendy fun but exercise caution. They can get in mouths, hair, and everywhere. **Note: Jello-Play is available soon. Like regular Slime, it’s gooey fun, but this slime is non-toxic and 100% safe to eat. Not that we encourage that because ew, germs. But, it’s a good option for kids who want to play with slime, but also put it in their mouths.

5. Most toys and games that seem advanced can be modified to suit a variety of developmental levels. For example, my daughter and I played Candy Land as a team for years until she was able to count the spaces and take her own turn.

Here are some great gifts for atypical kids.

Prices vary quite a bit between online retailers so definitely shop around.

Fuzzy Flyers

Interactive talking plush toys you tap, shake or toss to elicit funny phrases, challenging games, and social interaction.

Recommended age range: Preschool+

$23.30 plus shipping | Available here 

Folding Gym Mat

Children can barely contain themselves when there’s a gym mat on the floor. It triggers tumbles, summersaults, and play—but in a safe way. Not only is physical play essential to development, it’s fun!

Recommended age range: All Ages

$49.99 | Available here 

Hanging Chair/Hammock

In this hanging crow’s nest children feel calm and safe. Soft swinging stimulates the sense of balance, playfully promoting development. Available in five colours.

Recommended age range: 3 to 9 years

$139.99 | Available here 

Super Jumper Trampoline

The Super Jumper is a great way for kids to stay fit, build motor skills, and burn off extra energy while having fun. This indoor trampoline comes with an ergonomically curved safety bar for increased stability and grip. Children with balance or motor issues should be closely supervised.

Recommended age range: 3 to 10 years / max weight 100 pounds

Regular $158.99 (current sale price $123.99) | Available here 

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Turtle Target Game

Take turns tossing beanbags, sticking them to the turtle game board.

Recommended age range: 3+ years

$32.97 | Available here 

Melissa and Doug Monster Bowl

This creative monster bowling set adds colour, texture, and a whole lot of eyes to a familiar game! Includes six furry, textured pins and one beastly ball in a zippered carrying case.

Recommended age range: 3+ years

$26.99 | Available here 

Kalimba Thumb Piano

A small instrument with a soothing sound. There are more expensive versions with more keys, but this is a good starter ten key thumb piano for kids who are interested in music.

Recommended age range: 5+ years

$35.00 | Available here 

Wildly Noisy Wooden Thing

Part whistle, part kazoo, it’s fun without being too loud. Easy to use design for all ages, once you get the idea of blowing out. Comes in a variety of colours.

Recommended age range: School Age+

$19.28 plus shipping | Available here 

Pop The Pig Game

Players pop a hamburger into the pig’s mouth, then pump his head. Each pump makes his belly grow, until . . . pop! Kids love the suspense.

Recommended age range: 4 to 8 years

$39.95  | Available here 

Face It Sticker Pad

Extra-large sticker activity pad. Each sticker features a different funny face, and every scene features lots of bodies to put them on. Use the stickers to fill a scene with unique characters—then change them around to mix up the crowd! Includes 5 colourful crowds and 150 cling-style, repositionable face stickers.

Recommended age range: 3+ years

$6.89 | Available here 

Jumping Jack Game

Kids spin to see how many carrots they pull from the bunny hill. One carrot will make Jack jump, but which carrot is it? When Jack jumps, players try to catch him to win! Warning: Small parts.

Recommended age range: 4+ years

Regular price $42.56 (Current Sale Price $36.98) | Available here 

The Floor is Lava! Game

Players must imagine the floor is molten hot lava while spinning for their color and jumping along foam game pieces in order to reach safety. The Floor is Lava is a family game incorporating physical activity, imagination, and pure fun!

Recommended age range: 5+ years

$24.97 | Available here 

Family Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger Hunt Card Game. The fun of a scavenger hunt in a single easy-to-carry deck. Great for a scavenging, but also great for vocabulary development and storytelling.

Recommended age range: 6+ years

$14.46 | Available here 

Squishables

Soft, squishy and sweet—these are one of the hottest plush toys under the tree this year. Lots of animals and squishy foods to choose from.

Recommended age range: 3+ years

$39.21 plus shipping | Available here 

 

 

 

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