It’s the holiday season and that means shopping. What are some great gifts for that person in your life who has special needs? Are you finding toys that are appropriate and stimulating? Shopping can be a tough experience when there are sensory issues or limited functions involved.
Babies are always easy. Do it make noise? Check. Is it brightly colored? Check. Is it drool proof? Check. Feel free to chew away baby. Does it provide textile texture stimulation? Check. Finally, is it safe for the baby to smack themselves in the face with? Check, but they will probably cry either way. No one likes being smacked in the face by a toy, especially when it’s self inflicted.
Toddlers aka tiny monsters of greed love anything they can get into their hands. Especially when that object is a no no or doesn’t belong to them. There are a wide variety of options from wooden toys and keepsakes, books, play sets, dolls, sensory tables, music, and every other toy imaginable on the market these days. If there is a specific need for stimulation it can be met. It is also possible to provide quiet gentle play time.
Young children love to play. One of the best products I have seen are the pretend houses, either the pop up tent versions or the cardboard cut outs that can be colored. Imagination play is an important part of childhood. Puppets can make these activities twice as fun. Most children have too many toys and not enough playmates. This year we are trying to focus on presents that stimulate the mind and encourage creativity.
Preteens and young teens are tough every day of the year, and they are even harder to shop for on special occasions. Every list will include video games, electronics, and at least two things they don’t really want but everyone else has so they NEED it. Video games and electronics are great in limited quantities. Children need social interaction and physical activity at the same time. We are going to focus on art supplies for our oldest daughter, possible a few new apps, and books she has requested. These kids have enough toys to start up their own store and I would like to limit the flow of new things entering the house. Fat chance of that happening with two huge families buying for them.
What do you get the wheelchair user in your life? You can always get something based on their interests. You can also go the practical route and buy an adaptive product. Do they need a new cushion of headrest? Do they need a new bag for their supplies? It can be something small such as a medication organizer or a new calendar book for helping them to get more organized. Do they own pets? A self cleaning litter box or an adaptive dog walking device might be a nice treat. You don’t need to shy away from buying presents that make our lives easier. I personally enjoy when my family tries to think of my physical needs and take that into consideration when shopping for me.
With so many directions and choices holiday shopping can be frustrating. That’s before you have to even deal with the crowded malls full of unhappy people shoving and fighting over the last item. If you get motivated to shop early you can find great prices on amazon and take advantage of their free shipping too! I like to avoid crowds so we either go before Black Friday or we shop online with our lists. Shopping doesn’t need to be a harrowing experience. Plan ahead and plan wisely. Happy holidays everyone!