Updated: Apr 6
Even if you love shopping, gift-giving can be a difficult task. If shopping isn’t a favorite pastime, birthdays and gifting holidays are especially challenging.
If you’re adding to the list a need to buy gifts for a special needs child with a cognitive challenge or neurological disorder, the difficulty level of gifting just increased substantially. To help ease some of that stress, we’ve compiled a list of items that can make great gifts for special needs children.
CALMING & SENSORY GIFTS
There are several kinds of sensory light items that make great gifts for special needs kids. Calming, rhythmic light displays can help children with Asperger’s, autism, anxiety, and more, and can be placed almost anywhere. Interactive toys that light up when touched or stepped on allowing the child to practice spatial awareness.
Sensory Moon Night Light with customizable colors
Who doesn’t love a ball pit? They are easy to make with a set of bright colored pool balls and an inflatable kiddie pool, or you can purchase an entire ball pit ready to go!
PRESSURE AND WEIGHTED GIFTS
Deep pressure neurological sensory input offers tactile and proprioceptive input and can help calm children, encourage them to focus, and improve their mood. Weighted blankets and lap pads can make a great gift for children with special needs, from autism and anxiety to mood disorders and ADHD.
Compression clothing, like weighted blankets, can help with many conditions. But, instead of only being used when resting or sitting, compression clothing is like a firm hug all of the time.
A great gift for special needs kids with ADHD, autism, and sensory processing disorders, weighted toys help regulate a child’s sensory system. An especially great idea for young children, preschoolers, and toddlers.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING GIFTS
Puzzles make a great gift for working on executive functioning skills. They require children to practice sorting, use their working memory, pay attention, and engage their problem-solving skills. For the gift giver, they can be a great solution - puzzles can be found that are appropriate for almost any age or ability level. Plus, puzzles aren’t a one-and-done gift. If the special needs child you’re gifting likes puzzles, there are hundreds for you to choose from, and you can give more than one.
Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle, ages 12 months and up
Wooden Expressions Matching Block Puzzles, ages 3 and up
Mudpuppy Amazing Frogs and Lizards, 100 Pieces, ages 5 and up
Imagination requires that children come up with creative new uses for items around them and pretending to be someone else or play a role helps to build empathy.
Construction Worker Costume, ages 3 and up
Melissa & Doug Pet Vet Play Set, ages 3 to 6
Camping Play Tent and Gear, ages 3 and up
Board games can help special needs children to understand and follow rules, use their working memory, and practice impulse control.
Feed the Woozle (ages 3 and up): Feed the Woozle by the Peaceable Kingdom uses dexterity, fine motor skills, and counting as part of the game, and includes 3 levels so that it gets more complex as your child grows.
Matching Games: Matching games can be found for children of a variety of ages and interests. These are just a few examples.
Wonder Forge Marvel Matching Game, ages 3 to 5
Match it! Memory - Alphabet, ages 3 and up
Spot it, ages 7 - 11
When choosing a gift for any child, always take into account the child’s abilities, needs, goals, and the item’s safety. We’ve created this list to help you with ideas, however, you should always closely consider what will work best for the child. Kozie Clothes doesn’t endorse the items on this list, other than our own products.