Given my time over, our kids would have much smaller Santa sacks or stockings. It must be quite the strain for Santa to come up with so many gifts to fill their bags each year. I thought I’d share a few things our kids have received over the years and some I’ve seen while shopping this year. I think lots of these would make great stocking fillers for children or teens with special needs.
Christmas is just around the corner but most of these items are in stock year round at supermarkets and chain stores.
AJ has always enjoyed bath bombs, one of her favourites was a pack of donuts she received for her birthday. These can be found at Big W, Target, Priceline and major stores. For our overseas friends I’d imagine you’d find them in similar stores or online here. When BJ was younger he loved a bubble bath and it often comes in movie themed packaging for kids. These are also great because they don’t take up space. They disappear eventually.
A light-up rubber duck can make bath time lots of fun. Add some bubble bath mix and suddenly you have a hide and seek game at bath time. This little rubber duck was bought years ago at a gift store and still lights up. Gift stores often have these around the front counter. For our overseas friends you can buy a set of four online here.
These balloons claim to be easy to use but we are yet to test them out. The idea of filling 100 water balloons in 60 seconds is very appealing. What better way to spend Christmas day (in Australia) than with a water fight on a hot Aussie summer’s day. These balloons are regularly $14 a packet but I’ve just spied them going on special Wednesday 23 December at Aldi for $8.99. BJ would definitely love a packet of these. Our overseas friends may like to wait until summer to give these a go but you can buy them online here.
Finger lights proved a recent winner with our little cousins. Turn the lights out, strap these on with the elastic provided, turn them on and enjoy watching the room light up every time you move. These are around $2.50 for a packet of 4 lights at dollar stores, $3 at Target (Australia) and for our overseas friends I’ve found them online here.
INEXPENSIVE STOCKING FILLERS
Glow bracelets, wands and necklaces are inexpensive and lots of fun any time. Why leave them only for parties? These can be purchased at supermarkets and dollar stores. I am sure they can be purchased in similar places overseas and online here.
Bubble wands – I saw these today in Big W for $3. Bubbles still make me happy and BJ used to be a big fan. Our overseas friends can no doubt find these in similar chain stores and there are some online here.
Glow in the dark fun. I found these frogs in the art and craft section of Big W today. Anything glow in the dark seems popular with many kids. Charge them up and then go on a hunt around the house. I couldn’t find glow in the dark frogs online for our overseas friends but I did find “critters” here.
BALL AND ROCKET BALLOONS
High bounce ball, light up glitter ball or character ball. This size ball is the perfect size to fit in a child’s hand and ball games are always popular in our house. These come with many Disney characters on them including Sofia the First, Cars, Star Wars and more. We found them at Woolworths, Target and Big W stores.
Rocket balloons seem popular with all ages and when BJ was given a box of them it got young and old involved. BJ was in peels of laughter as they raced around the room. These are available in toy stores, Australian Geographic and some chain stores. For our overseas friends can buy these online here.
DigiBirds are cheaper than a real life pet and apparently will sing 20 songs and tweets. Parents you may like to buy a set of ear muffs if buying this gift for your child. I’m thinking those 20 songs become tiresome when on loop!
I found these in Big W today for $12 (I just got the Big W catalogue and they are on sale come 26 December of course). Our overseas friends can no doubt find them in chain stores like Target and Kmart or online here.
The Simpson talking figures are on sale at Kmart for $5. A bargain. The push button is very small on this but for children who have good fine motor or are working towards a new goal this may prove motivating. $5 is a total bargain but I said that before. I can’t seem to find the same one online.
Snap – An oldie but always a goodie. Snap may be an old game but it is constantly reinvented to embrace the latest movie or characters. At around $5 this is a good game to introduce to kids. BJ can’t hold his own cards but with assistance he can play a mean game of snap. Big W, Kmart, Target and even Woolworths usually stock these cards. There are a range of Snap games online here .
A magnifier makes a great stocking filler particularly if you add some items for a child to look at closely. This is something which would work well on a wheelchair tray. I found this one at Toys and Tales toy store but stores like Target, Kmart and Big W may stock something similar. For our overseas friends I’ve found one here.
We have had lots of different versions of these hatching eggs. You immerse them in water and after a period of time a figure appears. There are dinosaurs, chickens, Santa, a crocodile and more. These make good stocking fillers. I found these at Toys and Tales but they can be found at many stores. A variety can be found online here for our overseas friends.
When I shared this crayon holder on our facebook page it was very popular and families had so many questions I have drawn a template of the one pictured above including the measurements
BJ has never been a fan of drawing. The only success we ever had was with these crayons and a little hand grip made by our Occupational Therapist. I recently made one for a friend’s child and thought I’d share it with everyone else.The crayons in the photo have an easier to hold knob on top, the little hand strap is made of Neoprene material (wet suit material), has a small slit to slip the crayon into and velcro to fasten. Although a child may not be able to maintain consistent grasp the crayon stays put allowing them to grasp again when ready.
I found these crayons at Toys and Tales but I have seen them in some of the chain stores too. Just check the quality because some take quite a bit of pressure to get working and that just makes it more difficult.
I’ve found a variety online for our overseas friends and you can check them out here.
SOME OF AJ’S FAVES
These games would not suit many children with special needs but I wanted to add them in as skills vary and siblings need gifts too.
OPTICAL ILLUSION CARDS – AJ bought these on our recent trip and they kept her entertained for the flight. I was a little skeptical but was totally drawn in trying to work out the answers and interested in the explanation of how the illusion worked. We bought these at the toy store at Sydney Airport but I imagine toy stores and possibly Dymocks would stock them. Our overseas friends can buy something similar here.
TENZI – is my new favourite game. AJ was given this game for her birthday and I couldn’t see how a container full of coloured dice could produce a game I’d enjoy. Turns out I was wrong. It is a simple concept and I guess that is one of its selling points. Tenzi can be played many different ways with each person receiving ten coloured dice. It is a race against your fellow players to be the first to complete a challenge. Our overseas friends can buy Tenzi online here.
BJ has always loved his books and he can turn pages and flick through them with great ease. Whenever he takes himself off to his room we can guarantee to find him looking through his books. No matter the age or ability of your child it is wonderful to encourage a love of books. Even if they will never read bu themselves it can be a good source of entertainment. BJ likes all kinds of books and has also moved on to enjoy comics like the Simpsons and some chapter books. It makes gift giving easy too.
For younger readers
We’ve always had a soft spot for Paddington Bear. I read the chapter books as a child while travelling in the UK with my parents. Most good book stores carry these books and I have seen them at those pop-up book stalls that are often found in shopping centres. Our overseas friends can find a range of Paddington books online here.
As you can see, we’ve kept our favourite books. They are worse for wear but I love that they have been so loved by BJ. The Big Red Bus was an all time favourite with him because of its quirky storyline and rhythmic text. I loved Mama Zooms as it was the only book I could find when BJ was younger which portrayed a wheelchair as a fun and powerful mode of transport. And Kangaroo Played his Didgeridoo is just a good Aussie yarn.
A Proper Little Lady was a book I gave my niece many moons ago. She was a toddler and fancied herself as a bit of a lady. I read it to her hundreds of times and it became a family favourite. The child in the story shares our surname so that made it popular with AJ too. This is still available in Australian bookstores and our overseas friends can find some copies here.
Nobody could be fancier than Fancy Nancy and AJ just loved her for a period of time. Fancy Nancy wasn’t available in Australia for a long time but I notice she has made her ways to our shores and can be found in book stores. I am sure many of our overseas friends will already be familiar with her and I know Barnes and Noble in the US stock her and she can be bought online here.
The Secret Fairy Party was a real favourite with AJ because of its enchanting drawings, pop-ups and flaps. A really special book which would make a good gift. It appears to still be available online but I haven’t had a chance to check in store.
We love the traditional book, The Night Before Christmas but we also embraced some of the Aussie versions which represent our weather and Christmas in Australia. The Aussie Night Before Christmas and Santa’s Aussie Holiday are both filled with good Aussie humour and don’t have any snow in them. Santa’s Aussie Holiday and An Aussie Night Before Christmas can usually be found in Big W, Target and book stores. I particularly like the illustrations in the pictured version of The Night Before Christmas and it can be found in book stores and our overseas friends can buy it online here.
Chapter book favourites have been all of the Tree House Storey books by Andy Griffiths (our overseas friends can find the first of the series here)
AJ has always been a fan of audio books preferring to listen to something as she nods off to sleep. I would think these would make a great gift for any child but especially for many children who have special needs and cannot read a book by themselves.
There are so many wonderful titles to choose from and stores like Dymocks and Booktopia stock a variety. I will share a few that AJ liked when she was younger. I bought these online through Amazon and they are US based stories. Our US friends may still be able to get these prior to Christmas (hint – I signed up to the free trial of Amazon Prime for expedited delivery) –
Junie B Jones – available here
Ramona and Beezus – available here
Amelia Bedelia – available here.
Audio books cover all age brackets including older people. Unfortunately in Australia they are pricey so tend to be more present than stocking filler but thought I’d mention it just in case it was helpful to someone.
TEEN OR ADULT
Wamplers Ascent – I bought this dvd for Hubby a couple of years ago and it is a must-watch dvd in my opinion. The best description of the movie comes from the Wampler Foundation page – “Wamplers Ascent documents Steve Wampler as he attempts to become the first person with a disability to climb the biggest rock face in the world, El Captain in Yosemite National Park. 20,000 pull-ups, 5 nights and 6 days on the sheer face of a mountain with only the use of one limb, this is a story of a man’s commitment to bringing international attention to the funding of a camp for kids with severe disabilities. Wampler’s Ascent started out as an adventure movie to bring awareness and funding to a summer camp for kids with disabilities. While that mission was fulfilled, the finished documentary actually takes the viewer deep into a remarkable love story that awakens the potential in all of us.”
You can watch the trailer and learn how to buy a digital or hard copy of the movie here.
I could keep going and going with this list but Christmas is only a few days away and I think I best share what I have while it is still relevant. If you still have to buy main presents don’t forget to check out my gift guide here.
I’d love to hear any ideas you have to add to this list.
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