If you’re looking for some awesome gifts for children with additional needs, look no further. Here you will find a whole range of multi-sensory and special needs toys from indoor swings and trampolines to lamps that are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.
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In a world full of plastic and rubbish-filled seas we need to make better choices when it comes to gifting. Buying for the sake of buying just doesn’t cut it any more, it’s not about buying into the latest and greatest trends.
As a mum to a little girl with additional needs, I want toys that will spark joy and help her thrive. We want our kids to be their best versions of themselves and with toys that have a purpose, they can do just that.
These great ideas for gifts for children with additional needs will help with motor skills, muscle tone, balance, strength, anxiety, stress and relaxation – plus, they’re lots of fun!
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Great Gifts for Children with Additional Needs
Used by therapists around the world, peanut-shaped balls have been proven to enhance balance (vestibular input), improve gross motor skills and to increase core strength by working the abdomen.
They are particularly good for children with developmental delays, those with low muscle tone and children with sensory seeking behaviours.
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Made with a light and stretchy breathable material, a body sock is a fun and alternative way of offering children an intense sensory experience.
Body socks are specifically designed to promote spatial awareness, balance, strength and creativity.
How Cool Are These?
Finding accessible shoes for kids with special needs can be a real challenge, but just look at how functional (and fun) these shoes are!
Sometimes used as part of a sensory diet, scooter boards will encourage kids to develop upper and lower body strength, motor planning and can be used both indoors and outdoors making playtime more fun.
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Complete with a bumpy tactile surface these inflatable sensory chair cushions are perfect for children who crave movement and struggle to concentrate when sitting still.
Lightweight and portable, these cushions are less intrusive than a therapy ball and provide a discreet outlet for movement for kids of all ages.
The sky is the limit when it comes to building with LEGO. Offer your child a unique sensory experience with a big box of LEGO bricks and pieces – it’s perfect for all ages. LEGO are also trialling Braille bricks to help blind and visually impaired children learn through play
If your child prefers to have specific things to build and steps to follow, take some inspiration from these free LEGO instructions and learn how to build everything from unicorns and rainbows to Minions and Yoda!
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Fine Motor Tool Set
A handy pack of tools that are ideal for developing children’s muscles for writing, fine motor skills and the Gator Grabber is perfect for developing the pincer grip. The set comes with four brightly coloured durable tools and every household should have one.
Many children with sensory issues feel a sense of calm when they swing that’s why a cocoon type swing could be the perfect gift this Christmas.
Swings help can help promote vestibular orientation, relaxation, motor planning and sensory integration.
For some kids with sensory issues, pressure on their body can offer a sense of security making them feel calmer and more relaxed. Research has proven weighted blankets, which distribute the weight evenly across the body, help reduce insomnia, stress and anxiety.
These chew necklaces, chewy toys or “chewelry” are a great gift or stocking filler idea as they offer a safe, non-toxic alternative to chewing on hands, clothes and other toys.
They have been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress, particularly for children with sensory disorders.
Stress and Squeeze Balls
Good for strengthening hand, wrist, forearm muscles, and ideal for rehabilitation and physical therapy; the squeeze balls can also help to distract from stress and anxiety by squeezing them repeatedly.
Pom String Balls
These lightweight toys fit well in the palm of the hand, and are a good weight for playing with. Easily carried around and great to help relieve stress and anxiety, these pom string balls work great for kids with Autism, ADHD, and other sensory issues.
The stretchy string is great for playing, but also for exercising arm and hand muscles. You can stretch, pull, twirl, wrap and squeeze them in any shape – and they bounce back to their original shape!
These strong and durable stretchy strings are hypoallergenic, nontoxic, and free of BPAs, phthalates and latex.
Have Some Hands-On Fun!
These sensational sand play ideas are perfect for toddlers, pre-schoolers and big kids to get to grips with!
For those who need to move a lot to keep regulated, an indoor trampoline is a great option providing a safe and stable outlet to let loose.
Jumping on a trampoline can help develop balance and coordination in the comfort of your home, no matter what the weather.
Lava or glitter lamps can be a great tool for kids with sensory issues such as autism due to their hypnotic effect. The flow of the liquid helps as a visual stimulation, creating a soothing and relaxing environment to help little ones to calm down and unwind.
Melissa & Doug
We love Melissa & Doug toys because they’re great quality wooden toys, but also great tor encouraging fine motor skills, cognitive development, physical activity and also helping kids discover passions, interest and talents.
There are plenty to choose from, but some of our favourites include:
This Wooden Latches Board is an entertaining and educational activity play board that helps kids build dexterity as they navigate latches and locks that hook, snap, click, and slide.
It is designed to help children build fine and gross motor skills, while also discovering vibrant colours, numbers, animals, and more.
This hands-on toy is nice and sturdy, easy to store and easy to pack and bring with you.
Another great board toy is this inviting Basic Skills Board.
It includes a buckle (belt and seat belt), button, lace, and snap, which is great for helping children to tie and zip their way into independent dressing skills.
The board’s pieces are removable and work together to help strengthen your child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
These Primary Lacing Beads are great for developing strong fine motor, cognitive, and visual perception skills, and also promoting hand-eye coordination.
The wooden bead play set includes beads in five distinct shapes and six bright colours that are easy for little hands to grasp.
There are two laces included and they are thin enough to allow the beads to be threaded and fit seamlessly, which will greatly help to reduce frustration levels.
Get to grips with numbers and animals with this Magnetic Wand Number Maze.
It is designed to help children develop number-recognition and counting skills. It also inspires kids to improve their hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
Slide the magnetic wand (thankfully attached so it doesn’t get lost) over the board and drag it along the path to move the beads and count them into the right places. Just shake to mix them up again – giving plenty of opportunities for ongoing fun and learning.
Does your child like a plan and details? If so, try out My First Magnetic Calendar which can help to satisfy the need for information.
This daily magnetic calendar can be used to display the day of the week, date, weather, and special events.
It includes 82 magnets including years, months, numerals for dates, days of the week, holidays, special events, emotions, and a sliding temperature indicator.
There’s even a space to post their mood–an excellent way to open communication and encourage children to gauge their own emotions.
These portable fabric books full of fun and educational activities are perfect for teaching new skills, while also keeping children occupied in the car, at home or on the go.
The pages vary from book to book, but each offer an opportunity to learn, create and explore.
The multi-award-winning Bilibo is regarded as one of the most innovative and versatile open-ended toys for children with its simple and magically attractive design.
The Bilibo’s iconic shell shape and bright colours immediately appeal to children and arouse curiosity and inventiveness. Bilibo’s are wonderful toys for promoting a sense of space, hand-eye coordination and all things play.
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What other gift ideas for children with additional needs would you recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!