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SPECIAL NEEDS CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE – 2016

One of the most popular posts I write each year is my annual gift guide. It seems I am not the only person to struggle with what to buy for someone with special needs. My previous gift guides are still worth a read, many of the best gifts BJ has received over the years are contained in those guides and I’ll link to them at the end of this guide. As with previous years, I’ve added items that I hope will be fun but might help motivate those working towards particular therapy goals. Here’s what I found and a short explanation of why they made the list.

special needs christmas gift guide
BJ loves opening up his gifts

FRICTION VEHICLE

Anything that doesn’t need batteries will be popular with parents but this Wow friction vehicle range only requires the smallest of pushes to move a good distance which will make it fantastic for kids with restricted hand movement. There are several choices of vehicle including a garbage truck, ambulance pictured below with wheelchair and more.

Special needs Christmas guide
Wow friction vehicle

I found this at Toys and Tales.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

WOODEN BLOCKS

BJ didn’t have much luck with building blocks when he was younger. His extra movement meant that the blocks toppled almost immediately. That’s why I was so excited to see these blocks. They lock into place like Lego blocks. This would have given BJ so much more success with building and probably avoided his obsession with knocking down anything anyone tried to build. So frustrating!

Special needs Christmas gift guide
Wooden building blocks that lock like Lego

These come in various sized packs. I found them at Toys and Tales.

Our overseas friends can find them here.

RNIB LARGE PRINT SCRABBLE

scrabble

My friend Sue spied this game at Toys and Tales. The game has been produced in Association with the RNIB. The game features a specially designed large print board and tiles that are better suited for people who are visually impaired. Compared to the standard Scrabble® games, this large print version has larger tiles, larger racks, and the board provides greater contrast between squares and a specially designed TILELOCK™ system, which ensures tiles are held securely in place during the game. The game also comes with a large print guide.

Sue found this in Toys and Tales and I’ve seen it online in Australia too.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

SHARK ATTACK GAME

BJ’s buddy used to have this game and the boys used to laugh so hard with anticipation of the Shark’s jaw closing on them when it was their turn. It was a great way of trying to teach them to isolate their pointer finger. Players take turns pushing down a tooth while hoping the shark won’t bite. When the shark bites you’re out.

Special needs gift guide
Great for isolating a pointer.

This is a small game and around $15. I found it at Australian Geographic.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

TARGET

A friend bought this for BJ’s 21st birthday party to add to the games on the day. The Velcro target was extremely popular.

special needs christmas guide
Velcro target game

For a child who cannot throw, there is the option of dropping the items onto the board. This could be played from a wheelchair with the board set at an appropriate height or on the floor beside the wheelchair.

This can be found at Ikea.

LIGHT IT UP

I know many children are attracted by games that light up. I love these light up blocks which I found at Australian Geographic. They are quite large making them easier to build for children with fine motor difficulties and could be good for a person with a vision impairment.

Special needs gift guide
Light up games

The plasma lightening ball was a favourite with BJ when he received one as a gift years ago. Although I found the plasma ball at Australian Geographic I’ve seen them much cheaper in Kmart and other discount stores. The plasma ball is great to encourage kids to isolate a pointer and have the lightening follow their finger.

I found all of these at Australian Geographic.

Our overseas friends can find the Tetris light up blocks here and plasma ball here.

SIP N SOUND STRAW

This may seem like a novelty item and there’s no doubt they are aimed at fun but I see potential for other goals. The straws come with a range of toys attached including farm animals and a range of vehicles. When a person sips on the straw the toy makes a sound. When they stop the sound stops. This makes it a great therapy tool for kids learning to suck on a straw. I also think it could be good post surgery when kids are reluctant to drink but it’s crucial they do so. I know a few little people who have recently had tonsil surgery and keeping up fluids, despite throat pain was important.

Special Needs Gift Guide
Sip n Sound Straws

I found these in Big W for $9.

JUNIOR JUMPER

For so many children learning to walk, or requiring a walking frame to get around, jumping is hard, if not impossible. Having a bar to hang on to is a great way of experimenting with the unstable surface of a trampoline. BJ never managed this but we had one of these and one of his friends with mobility restrictions had a great time using ours.

Special needs gift guide
Mini trampoline with hand bar

I found this at Big W and it was just under $70.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

LIGHT & SOUND CARS

I love this range of light and sound cars. The buttons that make it go are on top of the vehicles and are easy to push. BJ can make these go and once pushed the car travels a long way, makes a sound and has a great light display. This is great to motivate fine motor skills and movement to chase the car. There’s a large variety of vehicles and colours to choose from.

Special Needs Gift Guide
Hot Wheels Light & Sound cars

I’ve found these in Big W and Kmart. They are $20

Our overseas friends can find them here.

MUSICAL STATION

I like the look of this Melody Mix musical station because it’s perfect for a wheelchair tray or for table-top play. The instruments look sturdy and there’s a good variety of instruments.

Special Needs Christmas Gift Guide
Melody Mix musical instruments

I found this at Toys and Tales and it’s $99.                 .

OVERNIGHT BAG

For kids that regularly need to go to hospital or those going to respite, a fun overnight bag may make a good gift. I picked these because they were bright and colourful but for older teens you could buy a bag appropriate to their interests.

Special needs christmas gift guide
Overnight bag

I found these bags at Big W but there are a huge range at most discount stores.

Our overseas friends can find something similar here.

WIGGLY GIGGLY BALL

When this ball is shaken it wiggles and giggles as the name suggests, making it a good cause and effect toy for any child but it could be particularly good for a child with a visual impairment.

Special Needs Christmas Gift Guide
Wiggly Giggly Ball

I found this toy at Toys and Tales but I’d imagine it could be found in many good quality independent stores.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

TOY CAR

I found lots of things I liked in the Hape range this year. I particularly liked their vehicle collection because the person (the faceless knob on top!) in the vehicles provides kids with an easy way to hold the toy to push it.

special needs christmas gift guide
Hape toy car

They are more expensive than a regular toy car but they are fantastic quality and worth the investment for a child who has difficulty with fine motor skills.

I found these Hape vehicles at Toys and Tales.

Our overseas friends can find them here.

special needs christmas gift guide
Hape plane

The same design comes in a plane too.

MUSICAL POUND A BALL

BJ always liked pound a ball games but never had the strength to do it solo. This pound a ball is a great cause and effect game with the added benefit of a musical outcome. When the balls are hit by the hammer they land on the xylophone making music as they fall.

special needs christmas gift guide
Hape Pound and Tap Bench

Being part of the Hape range this is a lovely quality toy. I found it at Toys and Tales but if you don’t have one of their stores nearby, try a good quality independent toy seller.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

CAMPING CHAIR

Fold up picnic chairs come in a range of themed designs including Frozen, Star Wars and more. BJ enjoys getting out of his wheelchair at picnics and sitting with everyone else in a camp chair. He used to have a Toy Story one but now he has a plain coloured chair. These are great for anyone who is stable enough to sit upright unassisted. I noticed there are a variety of styles available and some may be better suited to children who cannot sit upright independently.

special needs christmas gift guide
Camping chair

I found a good variety in Big W.

Our overseas friends can find similar here.

DISNEY GIFT CARD

Now, there’s gift cards and there’s gift cards. I can’t imagine too many people who wouldn’t be thrilled to get a Disney Gift Card. My friend Christine from Adventure Baby was recently telling me exactly how flexible the cards are, allowing the recipient to use them at Disney theme parks, Disney stores and to purchase items worldwide. There is also the option of sending an e-gift card to friends far away.

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You can read more about the cards here.

SUPPORTIVE TRIKE WITH PARENT HANDLE

This Kiddi-o trike by Kettler caught my eye because it’s mainstream equipment but it has more support than the usual trikes and it has a parent handle. It comes with shade protection, height adjustable parent handle and foot rests for those times a child isn’t peddling themselves.

special needs christmas gift guide
Trike with parent handle

I found this in the window display (the things I do to get a photo!) at Toys and Tales. It’s priced just under $300.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

LITTLE TIKES TORCH

This torch has a large handle which when squeezed opens the animal’s mouth activating the torchlight and sound. It comes in a variety of animals.

special needs christmas gift guide
Little Tikes Glow ‘n’ Speak animal torch

I found this at Toys and Tales for $19.95.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

PULL STRING FLYERS

I’m so pleased to see that pull string toys haven’t totally gone from the shelves. Although BJ can’t grip the toy and pull the string at the same time, he can manage to pull the string. Over the years he’s had great success with pull string toys. This year I note there’s a whole new range that will appeal to the current generation. I found Ninja Turtles, DC Super Girls and Minions.

special needs Christmas gift guide
Pull string toys

I find all three of these pull string toys at Big W.

Our overseas friends can find a selection here.

special needs christmas gift guide
Pull string DC Super Hero Girls
minions
Minion madness pull string toy

MAGNETIC PUZZLE

I’m a big fan of these magnetic puzzles but they are a challenge. Moving the tiny coloured balls into the right position with the magnetic ended stick will definitely need patience and a child with good fine motor skills. It’s a great game for a wheelchair tray or table top.

special needs gift guide
Hape magnetic butterfly puzzle

I found this Hape puzzle at Toys and Tales at $35.

Our overseas friends can find it here.

POP MOVIES FIGURINES

There’s a whole range of these figures including Minions, Toy Story, Cars and Star Wars. For fans of the movies this is another option and collectible. BJ loves his Minions.

special needs christmas gift guide
Minions Glow in the Dark figure

There is a large range available at the Myer Giftorium.

Our overseas friends can find similar here.

SAND & WATER PLAY

I like these sand toys because unlike a regular shovel I think the shape would be much easier to grip for a child. They are also light.

special needs christmas gift guide
Shovel, sieve and ball game

This is a combination shovel, sieve and ball toy. I found it at Toys and Tales.

MY BUBBLING ANIMALS

A trigger operated bubble gun may help kids who can’t use regular bubble sets.

Special needs Christmas gift guide
Bubbly animals

I found these at Big W for $10.

Our overseas friends can find them here.

GIGANTIC KEYBOARD

If  you’ve got a child that is motivated by music this gigantic keyboard may be a great way of having fun while working on some therapy goals. Side stepping, walking, crawling or even rolling over.

special needs christmas gift guide
Gigantic Keyboard

I found this at Australian Geographic. Currently on sale in store for $40.

Our overseas friends can find similar here.

PERSONALISED ITEMS

special needs christmas guide
Personalised soccer jersey

BJ received a personalised soccer jersey from his cousins for his 21st birthday. It came with his name and the number 21 on it and he loves it.

You can find out more about ordering one here

Myer’s Giftorium has may options for personalising gifts this year. Although our overseas friends won’t be able to buy these items, I hope it gives you ideas for things you may be able to get personalised through a local company.

Personalised tote bags and t-shirts.

My favourite of all the personalised items is the Mitch Dowd t-shirts and tote bags. I like the quality of the t-shirts and particularly like being able to have it done on the spot. You can upload a photo or use one of the designs available and add to it. I think it might be nice to take a photo of your child’s artwork and have it printed on one of the tote bags which are reasonable at $13.

Gift guide for people with additional needs
Personalised shirts and tote bags

PERSONALISE A PICTURE

Special needs gift guide
Personalise a picture.

For teens or adult an DC Comics personalised picture may be more appealing.

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For a little Disney magic this Christmas there are personalised Santa sacks, wrapping paper and advent calendars.

Special needs christmas gift guide
Personalised Disney Santa Sacks

The sacks come in a variety of designs including Star Wars, Frozen and Toy Story.

PERSONALISED THONGS/FLIP FLOPS

special needs christmas gift guide
Personalised thongs (flip-flops)

Choose your colour base, straps and then bedazzle away.

PERSONALISED JAR OF NUTELLA

special needs christmas gift guide
Personalised Nutella Jars

For a serious Nutella lover a personalised giant jar might be a winner.

PERSONALISED BUCKET OF M&M’S

special needs christmas gift guide
Personalised bucket of M&M’S

I was a bit disappointed when I realised this is just a personalised bucket (in the US you can actually get the individual M&M’S personalised.) but AJ assures me that it’s still very cool.  You need to have a photo to upload which is printed on the label of a bucket of M&M’S.

Not all Myer stores offer all the above options. We visited the city store which had everything. If you are interested in any of the personalised gifts I suggest you contact your local store.

So, that’s a wrap (pardon the pun). I’ve spent hours walking around stores, taking photos and deciding what to include in this year’s guide. I really hope it helps find that ideal present for your loved one. I love nothing more than seeing the joy on BJ’s face when I get him something that he loves.

I’ve written several blogs on gifts so if there’s nothing in this guide that appeals, check my other guides.

2013 Gift guide part one

2013 Gift guide part two

2014 Gift guide here

2015 Gift guide here

21 of the best gifts

Stocking filler ideas special needs.

Gift Buying – Age Appropriate or not.

If you’ve found something that you love please share it in comments below.

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.

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “SPECIAL NEEDS CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE – 2016”

  1. Great suggestions this year! I will definitely be using some of these. Just be careful with the SUPPORTIVE TRIKE WITH PARENT HANDLE I stopped a lady once so that I could have a good look at it for Evie. (The lady was very kind and accommodating) The rails around the child aren’t as supportive as they look, which is disappointing.

    Reply

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