Kids with disabilities may just need some modifications to their toys and games to suit their specific needs. Every child is unique, and there’s a perfect gift out there for kids of all ages and abilities.
Disabilities can present in any number of ways –a child may experience a physical, mental, or developmental impairments caused by genetic or environmental factors. If you’re looking for a gift for the child with disabilities in your life, here are some excellent ideas for kids of all ages, abilities, and special needs.
What makes a good toy for a child with disabilities?
All kids are different, and finding the best toy to suit a child with special needs can be difficult. A good place to start is to look for a toy or game that is:
Open-ended, flexible, and can be played with in a variety of different ways
Require low levels of attention, language, or physical coordination to use
Possesses inclusivity and representation
Depending on the child’s needs, you may have to make some modifications to the toy or game, so choose the most versatile gifts for your needs. Also remember that the suggested age range on a toy is just that – a suggestion. You may find that your child enjoys playing with toys that are suggested for a much younger child, and that’s okay! There’s no wrong way to play, especially if everyone is having fun. (source)
Gift Ideas for Children with Disabilities
Looking for specific gift ideas but you’re not sure where to start? Check out these fun and entertaining options.
Basic wooden building blocks are excellent toys for helping motor skills, developing coordination, and encouraging imagination for children of all ages. They’re safe, relatively inexpensive, and last a long time. They’re manageable for many children with various disabilities or special needs, and can be enjoyed by kids in every age range.
Other building toys that fit the bill are Legos or K’Nex, and there are plenty of different sets to choose from. If your child has trouble managing the smaller pieces, these toy companies also make sets with larger pieces as well.
What’s better than playing outside to get the afternoon wiggles out? Outdoor toys allow kids to express themselves freely through physical play, plus they can help provide that necessary kinetic stimulation or coordination practice. If your outdoor space can support it, consider a swing, slide, jungle gym, scooter, or balance beam to get your kids enjoying the outdoors in a fun, safe way.
Sensory play can help calm and entertain children of all ages and abilities. Splashing in a water table, squishing water beads, or running through a sprinkler can be a great way to beat the summer blues. If the weather isn’t great, take the fun inside and fill up the tub. Bath crayons, bath bombs, and bath toys are all fun to use – not to mention, cleanup is a breeze!
Art supplies can be a great choice for children with disabilities. Art allows people to express themselves in new ways, and can provide a unique sensory experience. Consider giving the gift of artistic expression – whether it’s basic finger paints, a new set of sidewalk chalk, or a complete young artists’ studio!
Some art suppliers offer adaptive tools to support unique needs. You can find brushes with large, easy-to-grip handles, and wheelchair-accessible easels and tables.
Sensory toys are specifically designed to give adults and children much-needed sensory input in a way that is safe and effective. Depending on your child’s needs, they may love a fidget spinner, squishy ball, or color mixing tube. You can make a lot of these items by upcycling household items, but there are tons of different options you can find online as well.
If you’re not sure which sensory toy your child may enjoy, you can find bundles that include several different kinds of toys that provide different experiences. Having a fidget toy handy during times of stress is helpful for kids and adults alike!
Dolls and Action Figures
Toy designers have finally started to understand the power of representation when it comes to making products for children. Kids want toys and dolls that look just like them, and that should extend to kids with disabilities too. Playing with dolls and action figures with disabilities is an excellent way to show kids that it’s okay to be different – and you can have fun no matter what your abilities may be!
You can find mainstream dolls with standard accessibility aids such as wheelchairs, crutches, or hearing aids. For instance Mia, Lottie Doll’s own wildlife photographer extraordinaire, wears a cochlear implant. For boys who love dolls too, Loyal Companion is inspired by Hayden, a real-life kid with autism and who loves science and outer space.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to play. If everyone is having fun and enjoying the gift, then you picked the right one!
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