One of my children has different sensory needs. She rocks, bounces, and generally can’t sit still. She has strong reactions to odors, certain sounds, and certain textures. She has opened my eyes to the world of children who seek and/or avoid various types of sensory input. Along the way, I’ve found things that work for her, and things that definitely don’t. With that in mind, I thought I’d share some gift ideas for kids with sensory needs.
Gift Ideas for Kids with Sensory Needs
When shopping for gifts for children with sensory needs, special consideration should be given to their specific needs. A child with oral sensory seeking needs will need products designed for oral seekers, while a child with tactile sensory seeking needs will need products designed for tactile seekers. With that in mind, this list of gift ideas for kids with sensory needs is divided by sensory need category.
Gift Ideas for Kids with Kinetic Sensory Needs
Children with kinetic sensory needs need to move, move, move. They may crave sensory stimulation via physical contact, pressure, and movement. They may even seek proprioceptive input to help regulate their emotional and behavioral responses to other sensory stimulation.
The Grade for Kids
The Grade™ is for active kids who need to keep moving when they’re doing their homework, gaming, reading, eating, and more.
A wiggle seat, or wobble cushion, can be a game changer for the child that needs to rock and/or bounce to remain focused. They can receive the sensory input they need without disturbing everyone around them!
Controlled bouncing can help your child get the wiggles out before having to sit for a bit.
Satisfy the proprioceptors with this swing chair. It can be used indoors or outdoors and comes with everything you need.
Balance balls are fantastic for kids who need to move to be happy. They can lay over them to read, sit and bounce while doing homework, or just sit while watching tv.
Rope Ladder for Kids
Help them build their strength and use their energy in a positive way with a rope ladder. It can be used indoors or outdoors. Be sure to install it securely!
It’s like an exercise ball with a handle. Let the hop all over the lawn or the house with this one.
Whether your kiddo is two or ten, a pogo jumper will meet their need to bounce!
Some needs to jump and land hard. A crash pad can keep them from hurting themselves while they do it.
Folding Gym Mat
We use a folding gym mat. It’s easily stored, can come out when she needs to bounce around a little more forcefully than usual, and she likes it. In fact, all of my kids like it.
Similar to the wiggle seat, a ball chair can provide the movement your child needs to focus while working. As an added bonus, it is designed with an anti-burst exercise ball, so it’s less likely to pop with deep movements.
Kids with different sensory needs may have trouble sleeping. Stimuli keeps their little minds going, and it’s hard to settle down. Weighted blankets provide warmth and can naturally reduce stress while promoting relaxation. Most OT’s recommend that a weighted blanket should be 7-12% of the user’s body weight. It should be be heavy enough to be effective but light enough for the user to remove the blanket at will. It should be cut smaller than the typical blanket and should NOT hang over the sides of the bed. Weighted blankets should be purchased to fit the body of the child, not the size of the bed, as a too-heavy blanket could be potentially dangerous.
Weighted Sensory Lap Pads – from 3 to 12 lbs & More than 10 Designs (5 lbs, The Super Hero)WEIGHTED BLANKETS PLUS LLC – ADULT LARGE WEIGHTED BLANKET – FOX – COTTON/FLANNEL (72Huggaroo Weighted Blanket, 6.5 lbs, 36 x 48 inches: natural aid for anxiety, insomnia (difficulty falling or staying asleep), ADHD, Autism, OCD, and Sensory Processing DisorderChild Small Weightd Blanket By Sensory Goods 5lb Medium Pressure – Herringbone-Blue II Pattern with Navy – Fleece/Flannel (30” x 48”)5 Foot Twin Weighted Blanket by Lifetime Sensory Solutions, Weighted Sensory Blanket for Kids (08 lb for 70 lb child, Saturn)5 Foot Twin Weighted Blanket by Lifetime Sensory Solutions, Custom Made Weighted Sensory Blanket for Kids (10 lb for 90 lb child, Pink Cats)
Gift Ideas for Kids with Visual Sensory Needs
Lava Lamp or Bubble Tube
Watching the constant motion of a lava lamp or bubble tube can be soothing.
Stop repeating yourself and give your child a visual timer that will help them use their time wisely!
Time Timer Original 8 inch; 60 Minute Visual Analog Timer; Optional (On/Off) Alert; Silent Operation (No Ticking); Time Management Tool for Kids, Students, Special Needs, and AdultsLearning Resources Time Tracker Visual Timer & Clock, BlueLearning Resources Time Tracker Mini Visual TimerThe Miracle Cube Timer, 5 Piece Set, For Time Management, Kitchen Timer, Kids Timer, Workout Timer, Preset Countdown
Watching the balls swinging and hitting and swinging back again can be mesmerizing.
Fiber Optic Light
A fiber optic light can be a great night light for kids who need visual stimulation to soothe.
A projector lamp is a great way to calm your child at night.
Cloud b Twilight Constellation Night Light, TurtleCalming Autism Sensory LED Light Projector Toy Relax Blue Night Music ProjectionSega Homestar Original Black – Home Planetarium – Star ProjectorOhuhu Ocean Wave Night Light Projector and Music Player
As a homeschooling Mom, the Helio Night Light Projection System gets bonus points. It’s an award winning children’s educational night light projection
system; offers soothing night light features; creatively illuminated lesson plans projected on the ceiling. You can lay down and learn. It has a series of educational and entertaining disc. The base station comes with the Tropical Night, Solar System, Sleep Times, Marine Life & Speed Animals discs. Additional disc packs are available.
Helio Educational Base Station Helio Base Station BlueHelio Educational Base Station Helio Base Station PinkHelio Educational Base Station Helio Base Station GreenHelio Educational Base Station Helio Base Station OrangeHelio Educational Base Station Helio Base Station Frost Blue
Visual Games and Puzzles
Visual games and puzzles are great for kids who need visual input.
Find it Games – Kids Version – The Original Hidden Object Search AdventureSpot ItCuberSpeed Rainbow Ball Magic cube Fidget toy puzzle Magic Rainbow ball puzzle Fun fidgetPerplexus OriginalI SPY Find It Fast GameSimon Electronic Memory Game
Gift Ideas for Kids with Auditory Sensory Needs
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noises can be just too much for some kids to bare. Stick a pair of noise cancelling headphones in their stocking!
Diatonic Scale Set
For kids who seek auditory input, a diatonic scale set is ideal. These tuned tubes can be whacked for musical tones!
Melissa & Doug Band in a Box
The Melissa & Doug Band in a Box will allow your child to select which instrument they want to satisfy their auditory needs.
Rock and Rhythm Set
This fun rock and rhythm set will satisfy tactile and auditory input needs.
Gift Ideas for Kids with Tactile Sensory Needs
The Hoglet by HedgeHog Health is a must-have for our children with learning challenges such as autism and ADHD. This game-changing fidget gadget and computer mouse understands kids’ sensory needs while helping focus and productivity. Plus, it looks like a baby hedgehog that kids will want to use it. This wireless mouse allows kids to fidget while learning in front of the screen. The Hoglet provides rewarding multi-sensory experiences, intentionally invented to help with physical stimulation not found with traditional computer pointing devices (i.e., trackpads, keyboards, and traditional mice).
Kids who need to sift and squish will love this kinetic sand.
Play-Doh is iconic for a reason. Kids who need to knead and squeeze can spend hours with these.
Fidget devices are great for keeping their fingers busy while their minds focus.
Roller Chain Fidget Toy(Green) – Used For ADHD, ADD, Autism,and AnxietyFlippy Chain Fidget Toy Relieve Stress Reducer for Autism, ADD, ADHD, and Autism Boredom your Finger Tips (Blue)Occupational Therapy Toy Nuts & Bolt Set – Carpenter Screw Fidget ToyRatoop Fidget Cube Relieves Stress and Anxiety Attention Toy for Work/Class/Home, Black/Green
Sensory balls are a great way to get sensory input. Different textures provide calming stimuli.
Gift Ideas for Kids with Oral Sensory Needs
Chewy tubes are specially designed for biting and chewing.
The Chew Necklace may be a little less obvious than a Chewy Tube. When not needed as a sensory device, it is just a cool pendant.
Vibrating Oral Tools
For kids who seek oral sensory input, a Z Vibe Stimulator or Nuk Massaging Brush would make a great stocking stuffer!
As you can see, I broke it up into kinetic, visual, auditory, tactile, and oral needs. I realize that proprioception and vestibular seeking needs could be separate categories from kinetic, and may end up breaking this gift guide up later into individual categories because I could keep going with all of the great ideas I found!
If raising a child with sensory needs can be stressful, I can only imagine what BEING a child with sensory needs is like. These gift ideas for kids with sensory needs will help ensure that their holiday is as enjoyable as yours is.
***This list originally published in 2017 and updated periodically to include products that my sensory seeker loves and products I think your sensory seeker may love.***