5 Gift Ideas for the Special Needs kids in Your Life
As we prepare for the holidays, parents of children with special needs have their own system for lists, requests and shopping. We’ve got this! And then the inevitable question from a family member or friend – what to buy our child?
Friends and family can need a little assistance in making choices, particularly for kids with special needs. As parents we know that the act of playing is an important part of the growth and development of our children. For kids with special needs, this is even more valuable in developing motor, social and cognitive skills. So why not give suggestions that can combine great fun with great reward?
Here are a few ideas to share!
From old beloved classics like Candyland or Boggle, to exciting education games such as Race to Space and Mystery Garden (from online store Ravensburger), board games are a marvelous treat for the whole family, as well as teaching skills such as taking turns, counting and strategy as well as understanding non-verbal cue and social situations.
Expand on the idea of board games to choices like Twister, carpet square hopscotch and bowling games for the lawn (lightweight models can be used indoors for a great winter activity).
2. Playing House
A play kitchen, workbench, cleaning tools are wonderful for children with motor delay, encouraging mobility while also incorporating fine motor practice. Sturdy push toys like strollers, shopping carts and ride-one cars are all excellent choices.
3. Construction Sets
The wide range of age and skill appropriate blocks, Tinker Toys and Legos mean more possibility for creative expression. Construction sets also serve to improve following visual and verbal directions while also allowing the freedom of creation. Repetition of movement assists with developing fine and gross motor skills.
4. Musical Instruments
Suggestions for these rely on your own instincts about your child. Maybe the interest is there and a guitar or keyboard is appropriate to suggest for a gift. Or the gift-giver may consider a variety of instruments to introduce music to them. Try a kit from a retailer like Melissa and Doug, which provides a variety in one neat package – a band in a box. You can also recommend retailers such as Specialneedstoys.com, which offers modified maracas and bells. Drums – from kits to bongos – can be a fantastic way to encourage movement.
5. Train sets
As many children with autism respond enthusiastically to trains, this is another great choice with a range of age-appropriate kits. A train set can be expanded over time – making it a go-to for gift buying in the future! Suggestion an expansion on the initial gift with membership to a local train or transportation museum.