Children with special needs can benefit greatly from toys geared towards their unique needs. If there's a child on your shopping list who has different abilities, there is an abundance of options available for fun and functional gifts this holiday season. We picked some of our favorite gifts for children with special needs to help you narrow it down.
Yoga Deck for Kids on the Ball
Yoga is known to be a great activity to help with attention span, posture, motor skills, balance, and flexibility. It may also help children increase their focus and decrease aggression. This 44-card pack features the character Herbert demonstrating different yoga poses that can be used with or without a yoga ball. The Yoga Deck was developed by a physical therapist in collaboration with occupational and speech-language therapists.
Grimaces Memory Game
The Grimaces Memory Game is perfect for children struggling to understand facial expressions. The 72-card game will have your child quickly recreating facial expressions along with you while engaging silly, easy, social interaction.
Puff-N-Play 25 Key Melodica
Both woodwind and key instrument, the Puff-n-Play helps children with auditory processing and attention, as well as memory and recall, fine motor skills, and eye-hand coordination. It can also be used to help develop coordination skills, as well as to help with exhalation skills for children with respiratory conditions.
This doll company makes an accessory kit of a wheelchair and crutches that works with any of its Journey Girls dolls or any doll of similar size. It's perfect for any child, those who use a wheelchair, or those with a friend or sibling who does. It helps promote disability awareness and improve self-esteem.
American Girl Dolls
American Girl now makes dolls without hair! If your daughter or a girl you know is going through cancer treatment, or has alopecia, this doll will help her adjust and build her self-esteem. Hearing aids are available for any American Girl doll to help build awareness for children with hearing impairments. If you already own an American Girl doll, you can have her hair removed or add a hearing aid.
For children with sensory disorders, processing stimuli from all of the senses is overwhelming; they often withdraw to avoid over stimulation or self-sooth with repetitive behaviors. One of the best ways to self-sooth is through therapy swings. The swaying motion is calming, and restores balance to the vestibular system, helping the children to feel more balanced themselves. There are a variety of swings to choose from to find the one that is the right gift for your child.
The Infinite Loop is a hand-held game, which helps with motor skills, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and concentration. It also encourages eye tracking and is great for children with visual challenges. Two different balls are available for children with varying skill levels.
For sensory exploration, tactile discs can provide children with the ability to explore, touch, feel, and walk on a variety of textures. Made of rubber, the discs come in five different tactile structures and children can hold them while playing a blindfold game that involves describing and recalling the different textures. There are both small and large discs in the pack.
A great game for children with respiratory conditions, the spirometer kit helps them to exercise both inhaling and exhaling and improve their respiratory capacity as they try to raise the ball to the top and hold it there. The kit is adjustable for different levels of effort.
LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer
This popular tablet comes with 4 apps but can be loaded with many more cartridge games, books, and flash cards to help children develop their visual, auditory and thinking skills. Game levels are automatically adjusted to meet each child's pace and the Explorer will even remember your child's progress from game to game and book to book.