Holiday times are filled with searching for the perfect toys that will be cherished by kids of all ages and abilities. Children with special needs, language delays and other unique learning challenges can be extra challenging to shop for, since it’s possible they aren’t always able to articulate the specific types of toys you can easily head out to a store and quickly purchase for the right price.
I’ve worked with children with special needs for 15 years, and certainly popular toys are always a hit, here are 12 toy wishes children may enjoy that you might not have originally thought of!
Kinetic Sand is a calming, sensory activity unlike any other. The sand is soft, pliable and one of the most requested toys and enjoyed toys with children with special needs. Pair it up with beach stamps and other sand molds. Kinetic Sand is easily removed from the mold and will take on the shapes and details of the mold perfectly. While it can leave a slight mess behind it will never dry out and is easy to clean up.
OgoBild Nexus is a fine motor activity where children can create their own structures and people. No rules, no boundaries, they can just creatively build people, martians, vehicles or anything they can imagine.
Many kids love a quiet, cozy space if they are overwhelmed during holiday chaos or as a retreat if they are overstimulated. A tent is a perfect toy to set up indoors. Fill it with a bean bag chair, books or a technology device and it may become a safe, quiet place where children can relax and regroup.
4. Boogie Board
For some children, the sight of pencil and paper reminds them of the challenge of writing sentences, spelling and forming letters. A Boogie Board is a great toy that kids are often so intrigued by the technology, they will innately pick up a pen and begin to write messages, doodle, and draw pictures without wasting paper.
Building with LEGO’s is not only a fine motor experience that involves coordination, but the need to follow challenging printed directions can often lead to frustration and cries for help. LEGO Juniors sets feature standard sized construction bricks and characters that children love, like Disney Princesses, Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also included in these sets are larger modular pieces and simplified, step-by-step instructions, where children can have a more successful and rewarding building experience.
This moldable, pliable putty is not only great to build hand strength, but it comes in different colors as well as glow-in-the-dark, heat sensitive color changing, and magnetic varieties. Kids will love participating in a treasure hunt by finding small items like pegs or coins that can be hidden inside the putty.
7. Peanut Ball
Lots of kids love to move, have a lot of energy and crave activity in order to pay attention and learn. During inclement weather, it can be a challenge for children to engage in the same outdoor experiences they enjoy. A peanut ball allows kids to bounce and move indoors while engaging in physical activity.
8. Zoomer Dino
One thing children in general crave a lot of is control. Zoomer Dino is an interactive robotic pet that will react and respond to tricks a child can teach it using hand motions or a controller.The more he’s played with the more his unique personality will evolve, including prehistoric burps and farts!
A blank canvas and drawing pictures with proportion and size is not easy for everyone. However, give children a model of what to draw, and a few step-by-step instructions and they will relish in their success with a project that looks recognizable. Pair a drawing book with a large art set where kids can experiment with coloring, markers, colored pencils and pastels.
This travel size game doesn’t require reading and is great family fun for all ages. Players work together to roll the dice and create stories and silly sentences with the pictures as guidance.
11. Sew Cool
Do your kids love to create but the thought of needles, thread, scissors and a sewing machine make you cringe? Sew Cool is a threadless sewing machine where children can follow templates and use pre-cut items to “sew” and stuff, creating multiple projects for themselves or to gift to friends and family.
12. Kindle Fire
Technology toys are extremely motivating and well-loved by kids. Certainly parents often monitor the type and amount of media their children consume, but not only is a tablet a great way for kids to watch movies and play their favorite apps on-the-go, but earning time with their tablet can serve as a fun reward and intense motivator to persistent with challenges throughout the day.