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Gift Suggestions for Kids with Special Needs

I mentioned in my previous post how difficult I have found it buying our son BJ gifts over the years.  We have found that his poor hand function (though that is improving by the day at the moment) holds him back from using many toys or games.  As he has got older it has become even more difficult to find age appropriate gifts.  Every child is different in their level of ability but I thought it may be worth sharing some of the things I have found while shopping.

Once again I have been scouring stores to find some novel items for him and while I’ve been out I have taken note of things I thought may be of use to others who follow our blog.  Here are some items that either BJ had when he was younger, or new things that grabbed my eye this year.

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Toys that hover over your hand seem to be very big this year.  I found these Air Hogs when shopping but I have seen fairy versions of this advertised on tv too.  Your hand controls the aircraft’s flight.  You simply hold out your hand and the aircraft hovers above.  This would be really fun for someone that has good control over their hands.  The great thing about this toy is that it doesn’t require good fine motor skills.  Check out the you tube to see a demonstration of how it operates – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYifm6ulieI

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I spied Sticky Wicky when I visited the Return to Sports Expo recently. I thought it looked fantastic. It is Australian made but it is also available in the US. This is how the game is described:

“STICKY WICKY is the world’s first sticky cricket game. It’s a backstop with sticky stumps and sticky balls. There’s no arguing.  There’s no doubt. There’s one rule – if it sticks, you’re out!” 

This game can be purchased in Australia at Rebel stores and I love that it is just a regular game.  I do like that it does have advantages for kids with disabilities.  You can’t get more Australian than a game of cricket in the backyard or the local park.  Sticky Wicky baseball is also coming soon.

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I remember this pop-up toy fondly from many sessions with our Occupational Therapist when BJ was younger.  There are springs under the little wooden people pegs.  Isolating a finger is the aim and when you push down on the pop-up toy it springs out of the container.  Lots of giggles and fun can be had with this one when successful. Specialty toy stores stock these and our overseas readers can buy it here.  I absolutely love the fire truck version which I have only seen online.

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This sound block rewards children when they correctly match the two parts of the animal.  It also comes in a vehicles sound block.  The blocks and pictures are large making them easy to use.  BJ had the vehicle one and loved it. I have seen this at Toys and Tales and there are a many versions available online.  It does require batteries.

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I’ve mention many times that I am a big fan of Melissa and Doug toys. This is a new take on the old matching puzzles we all grew up with. It makes the sound of the vehicle or animal when correctly placed in the puzzle. Toys and Tales stock it in Australia and our overseas readers can buy it here.
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I love these tracking puzzles. The knobs on this one make it easier to handle and building a caterpillar by moving the pieces would be a challenge but also fun. There a large variety of themes available in these sorts of puzzles.

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BJ was never fond of drawing. We did use these crayons though as they were easy grip. In the very early days his Occupational Therapist made him a little Lycra holder. The holder had a slit in it which the crayon slipped into and then it wrapped around his hand with Velcro to attach . Our little Houdini found it a great challenge to get the Velcro off and to this day is a quick escape artist when it comes to Velcro. These crayons are available at Kmart, specialty toy stores and for our overseas friends you can buy it online here.

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We haven’t used the chubby markers but they look easier to grip than the regular thin markers for someone with poor hand function.  They grabbed my attention when I was in the toy shop recently. A similar product is available online here.

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BJ finds pump action toys work well for him. He can’t manage the trigger ones but something like this water gun would be a great alternative and has good size handles for gripping. There are a million water guns on the market but it is hard to find the pump action ones.  Kmart, Big W and Myer stock a variety and for our overseas friends you can find them here.

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Shhh, don’t tell BJ but he is getting this one for Christmas. I was a bit unsure about buying it and it is yet to be tested in our house but I thought he would like the new take on an old game. This is built for indoor play because the hover disc can glide on most surfaces and has bumpers so it doesn’t damage walls. It looks small to store so that is a bonus for us too. (we have rather a lot of games) BJ finds using his feet works well for him so I think he may be more accurate kicking the hovercraft than he is with his hands. The hovercraft also comes in a soccer version for indoor play.

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Giant Log Toss has me intrigued. I don’t know how BJ will go with it but it is another throwing game and is score based. Once again, shhhhh, he’s getting this for a gift thus details are sketchy until we play it.
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Pull string toys have been fantastic for BJ. He has had a variety of them over the years. This UFO toy is fantastic to take on picnics.  BJ has no problem pulling the string and it is an impressive flyer.  It is a good ice breaker with other kids too.  I purchased this at Toys and Tales (a specialty toy store) but I have found similar online here.

magnifier

I recently read an article and it said every child should have a magnifying glass. I thought this was a great one that would make the perfect stocking filler. Good handle for grip and the ability to stand on it’s own.

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Pound a ball. We have had several pound a ball toys over the years. Although BJ hasn’t managed the hammers with these games he has had success with placing the ball in the holes and then putting pressure down on it with his palm. Anything that gets his hands working is a hit with me. I thought this was a great version of pound a ball because it could be placed between a child’s legs for stability making it easier to use.  I found this at a specialty toy store but these can also be found online for our overseas friends.

rocket

BJ has good strength in his feet so with assistance can manage these pop up rockets. It is a great reward for managing to stomp your foot. It requires him to look, focus and then target the pump with his foot.

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Bug in a jar with magnifier.   I can imagine lots of little people enjoying the bug world magnified.  Personally I like my bugs outside but little people seem fascinated by bugs.

basketball hoop

One of our lovely facebook friends sent us this photo of her son.  He received this height adjustable basketball hoop which can attach to a door.  As you can see it makes access from a wheelchair nice and easy.  (Thanks Megan) These tend to be brought into stores around Christmas time and can be purchased online.

I hope this proves helpful to parents out there still searching for that additional gift for their child.  This is not a sponsored post but I would like to thank Toys and Tales who were very patient with me wandering around their store taking photos randomly.  I shop there regularly so at least they know I’m a good customer.

Although I shop at all the main chain stores/supermarkets I do find that if I want something different it is good to go to an educational or independent store.  Stores like Toys and Tales know their products, are often helpful at recommending toys based on a child’s ability and generally have a good knowledge of children’s development.  Keep searching because it is so rewarding as a parent to find that game or toy that is a hit.

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This post is not a sponsored post. I’ve mentioned the store names so anyone wanting to purchase items knows where to find them. There are some affiliate links, which means if you purchase an item using these links I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. This helps with the costs associated with running this website.

 




1 thought on “Gift Suggestions for Kids with Special Needs”

  1. hey
    you don’t have a giant soccer ball. or a giant game of connect four. my son loves connect four especially in giant version. he does need a lot of help but he needs a lot of help with everything so.. i’m trying to find him a giant soccer ball for his birthday because his siblings are worried he will pop the ball with his power chair..

    Reply

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