Buying gifts can be tricky. It gets even trickier when you are buying for a kiddo that has special needs. As a parent, or even a family member, you want to buy the child age appropriate gifts, but what if they are behind their peers developmentally or they just don’t like the toys that other kids their age enjoy? This is something we have battled for years and today I am going to share some toys that my sensory seeking son has gotten and LOVED of the years.
I just want to start off by saying that most off the toys I will be suggesting require batteries. If you plan to purchase any of these things you may want to make sure you also buy a few extra batteries so you don’t run in to any meltdowns when the toy stops working.
The exact model my son used to play with is no longer available. You can still get the toy but instead of having hard plastic pieces, it is now soft and squishy and can even be hung on your babies car seat. When my son was younger, he didn’t have much muscle control and was not able to do much. One thing he was able to do was grasp the stems on these flowers and then push the flowers to listen to music and watch them light up. He would take this thing EVERYWHERE with him. If we left our house and could only take one thing, this was the toy to grab. He would even take it to bed with him. We would think he was sleeping but when we would peek in on him, he was holding this thing right up to his face and was mesmerized by the flashing lights set to the sound of the music. I can hear the chiming music just thinking about this toy.
This is one of those toys that my son got and I really didn’t know if he would like it or not. Well, to this day he LOVES it and even after years of use and abuse it still works. The different alphabet keys light up as he plays with it and not only has he gotten to know the alphabet, but he has also learned about the letters sounds, animals, time telling, and it even plays music.
Did I mention my son loves, I mean LOVES music?!? As you can see everything I have listed so far plays music. Well this next one is not going to disappoint in the music department
This crazy little music station gave our family hours of fun. Not only can you make different types of music with the keyboard, you can record yourself and then play it back with the Mp3 player that comes with the studio. For the kids seeking visual stimulation they will be able to watch the keys light up as they play and listen to their musical creations.
This is one of those toys we were not seeking out but fell into our laps at a therapy session. We were at a new location for an evaluation so there were toys we had never seen before. When this was presented to my son, he played with it non stop so we knew it was one we had to find. It does have a bigger price tag but I can say it was well worth it. These little blocks fit on a base and the music plays depending on which side of the blocks you have facing up. These blocks are all different colors and introduce your little ones to great music, fine motor skills and different shapes.
Yay…batteries not needed!!!! There are many sites that offer weighted blankets and you can get them in many sizes and colors. Instead of paying the high price that these can run, I chose to make one for my son. I scoured pinterest and looked at multiple ways to make one and this is the tutorial I followed to make my sons blanket. I will admit he doesn’t use it all the time but it definitely comes in handy when he is needing a little extra body pressure. Making a weighted blanket was a bit time consuming; not hard, just took a lot of time.
If your child is searching for vestibular input, you can simply use and office chair and slowly spin them in circles to get that sensory input they are needing or you purchase a therapeutic swing. This swing could either be mounted into a beam running in the ceiling of your house or you can spend the extra money and purchase a frame or stand that would be portable allowing you to move it to any room of your house or even outside when the weather allows. We mounted a swing in my son’s bedroom allowing him the ability to escape the noise of the rest of the house whenever he feels like he needs to. We also have a hook mounted on a beam in our basement. This allows both of our boys the ability to play and swing together.
These are just a few of the many, many toys we have. Some of them may work for your kid and some may not. There is an amazing Facebook group called A Very SPECIAL NEEDS Christmas. This group provides AMAZING Christmas ideas for special needs children as well as ideas of non toy items to benefit your child. You can look through the posts about toys suggested, ask questions regarding your child’s specific needs and even give your own ideas and opinions about a specific item to help out other families.
We all want what’s best for our children and we want them to have something they enjoy, especially at Christmas time. I hope some of the items I have suggested may be just what you and your child have been looking for. Remember, just because it isn’t geared for your child’s age doesn’t mean it won’t be something they love. ALL kids develop at different rates.
Do you have any toy suggestions for sensory seeking kids?