Hey Mommies! Parents often ask me about some gift ideas for their children with sensory processing needs. Below you will find 13 different gift ideas for children with sensory processing needs.
While these gifts can be great for helping children with sensory processing concerns, they are also great ideas for any child. These items listed below can help supply various sensory input and stimulation as well as develop strength and coordination
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1- An Indoor Swing– There are many types of indoor swings that you can get for your own home to provide vestibular input for your child. Swings can be very calming or alerting depending on how they are used. Here are a couple options from Amazon and Ikea.
2- Trampoline– A trampoline provides vestibular stimulation with the up and down movement as well as deep pressure to the body and joints during jumping. Trampolines help with body awareness, knowing where one’s body is in space, and coordination. Trampolines are also a great way to burn energy. You can get trampolines in various sizes depending on yours needs. A mini tramp, is good for indoor areas and smaller children, a medium sized trampoline is good for kids who need more movement and typically, can also fit indoors, and large full-size trampolines are good for outdoor activity. Here are a couple options from Target and Walmart.
3- Bounce House– A bounce house, provides similar input and stimulation as a trampoline but offers much more soft surface area for crashing and bouncing. Many bounce houses also incorporate some type of crawling, climbing, and sliding which is provides a lot of sensory input. Here are some examples from Walmart and Target.
4- Tunnel– A tunnel is great for proprioceptive and deep pressure input with crawling. You can use a tunnel to play games or set up obstacle courses. Some kids just like to lay and relax in tunnels too because they are a small, dark, and sometimes calming place. Here’s a cute one from Walmart.
5- Tent– Some kids can get overstimulated and may need a quiet, safe place to retreat. A tent is great for this. You can fill a tent with pillows, blankets, books, and/or puzzles, and provide a place for your child to calm. These can also be found at Target, Walmart, Toys R Us, or many other places online.
6- Weight Blanket– Weighted blankets provide a deep pressure that can be very calming to a child. When ordering a weighted blanket be sure to get one that is the correct weight for your child. The general rule is 10% of your child’s body weight, plus 1-2 pounds. Etsy has a great variety of options for weighted blankets.
7- Playdough/ Kinetic Sand/ Moon Dough etc– All of these provide tactile input and some deep pressure with squeezing, rolling, and digging. These also work on building hand strength and coordination for fine motor activities. Check out 11 Simple Playdough Activities to Build Strength and Find Motor Skills. Playdough and kinetic sand are pretty easy to find. Moon dough is a little harder to come by now.
8- Bean Bag– Bean bags are great for jumping and crashing. They can also be used as a calm place to sit. Kids sink into them and get extra body pressure which can be calming.
9- Water Beads– Water beads are quite a unique tactile experience. Some kiddos love them and others hate them. They are firm yet squishy, wet and slippery, yet don’t really leave your hands wet feeling. If you have a kiddo that really enjoys tactile input, these would be great to try! These can sometimes be hard to find. Walmart.com has some in stock, or you can sometimes find them in stores. Amazon also carries them.
10- Balance beam– Balance beams provide vestibular input as well as work on physical motor control and coordination. Balance beams can be used outdoors or indoors for the days that kiddos need physical activity and the weather won’t allow for outdoor play. Here’s a couple examples from Walmart and Amazon.
11- Scooter Board– Scooter boards are great fun and provide a variety of sensory input along with building strength. Have kiddos lay on their tummy and propel the scooter board with their hands only to build upper body strength and give proprioceptive input. Kids can also sit on them and push with their feet to build leg and core strength. The movement on scooter boards also stimulates the vestibular system and like balance beams, scooter boards can easily be used indoors.
12- Ball pit– Ball pits provide proprioceptive input and can challenge balance and coordination on an unstable surface. Small, home sized ball pits also provide a small, designated, enclosed area to play that some kids can find calming or some kids need to help realize boundaries. You could also fill a tent, small bounce, or inflatable pool with some ball pit balls to be resourceful and cut back on all the large equipment.
13- Fidgets– Fidgets are great for the kids that can’t stop touching things. Giving a child a fidget gives them a designated object to play with. Fidgets can be small toys that move or bend. They can get tactile balls, squishy balls,small magnetic toys, or really anything small that a child can hold and play with in their hands. Fidgets can be found all over- Walmart, Target, Walgreens, Amazon, etc. Here are some examples of different types of fidgets.
By: Emily Bettis, MOT/L
Emily Bettis, MOT/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and mother. She has been working with children birth-5 since 2008 and has been a mother since 2013. Emily is the founder and author HeyMommies.com