Archives for November 27, 2012

Great Gifts for Special Needs Kids

So when you’re a blogger, you sometimes get invited to fun things and other times you hear about fun things and then call everyone you know to see if you can get an invite. When I heard about a holiday party that would feature a bunch of up-and-coming new toys, I wanted to go SO BADLY. I pretty much never write about products on here, but I know that Christmas shopping for a kid with special needs can be really tough, so I wanted to check out all the goods and see if I could find some good buys for special needs kids. Now I know that I don’t know it all, but I found some toys that I thought would work for kids with various kinds of disabilities. I’m also going to share some of the toys that my family loves that aren’t new–they’re just fun.

Infantino Light and Sound Music Ball. This light ball is perfect for a kid with very limited use of their arms. I live in a raised house and you could set it off by walking across the floor. It would definitely work great on a tray. It makes tons of goofy noises and enough lights for a Mardi Gras float. It’s not perfect, though. First of all, it’s a little obnoxious. This is perfect for a kid who needs a lot of light and noise to be motivated, but it can be tough on mom and dad. The other drawback is that it uses those tiny watch batteries instead of traditional ones. Still, if your child doesn’t have a lot of movement, this is a great toy because just getting close is often enough.

Zsu Zsu Pet. Somebody gave us a Zsu Zsu Pet as a gift and at first I was completely stumped–what was the big deal? Then I let my twins see it. I have two words for you: Giggle. Overload. But how does it work for a special needs kid? Well, I suspect pretty well. We can put it on the tray of a Rifton chair and it scoots this way and that for a very long time before you need to reactivate it. It’s so cute and it will run all over a tray with a lip without going over. We like ours so much I’m giving the boys a second one for Christmas.

Tiny Love Follow Me Activity Toy. A similar toy is one that I saw at the Holiday Helper event I attended–it’s a dog that walks! This little dog was just adorable. A child bats at it and it starts moving. You can even twist it a little so it walks in a circle instead of a straight line. At the Helper event the display dog was pink, but I ordered the more boy-friendly version for my fellas. I think this one is going to be a big hit with all of my boys. I think this would work well for special needs kids because it doesn’t appear to need a real specific touch to get moving. That way, you can encourage your child to bat at it even if they don’t have great aim because of spasticity. The reviewers do mention that the puppy doesn’t walk on carpet–just something to be aware of! He’ll be fine on my plastic wood floors.

Lite Brix Space Trooper. Another great new toy that I spotted at the Holiday Helper event was a robot that lights up. Now, I have no doubt that Charlie would not be able to build this robot on his own. What I like, however, is how bright it is. Since he’s a kid with vision issues, it’s often hard to get him to interact with toys that stimulate the imagination. I have a feeling this one will be bright enough to capture his attention for a while. It does have a battery pack that hangs off of it, which won’t be a problem for us, but might be depending on your child’s activity levels.


Step2 Walker Wagon. The final toy I saw at the Holiday Helper event that sparked my interest was the Step2 Walker Wagon. This is one of those classic push toys, but what I like about it is you can add things to it to make it sturdier. We have a couple of push toys in my house that just go, go, go and with August’s balance issues, this was not a good fit. I wish I could find the video I took of him careening wildly across the kitchen barely holding on. With this little Step2 wagon, you can add blocks or other items to make things a little sturdier.

These are, of course, just suggestions based on my personal experiences–you should always do your own evaluation. At my house we are also big fans of gift cards to the iTunes store. Best of luck with your shopping and Happy Holidays!

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