I saw a meme that reminded me Christmas is only 44 days away. I’d been casually looking online for ideas. But what to get a kid who plays with shoelaces and eats pepperoni pizza? It’s tough to figure out. If your kid is like mine, you know that as autism parents we put in a lot of effort to buy something our kids will love. But with limited interests it’s hard. Really hard.
I found a few things, and hopefully this will help you too whether you are shopping for Hanukkah or Christmas. Check out our list of ten unique holiday ideas:
- The Mermaid Pillow
The color changes once you brush your hand across the pillow. It would make a great sensory item. To see how it works watch this YouTube video:
You can find these pillows at Bed Bath and Beyond.
2. Theraputty. Children strengthen hand muscles & fine motor skills as they stretch & shape this colorful putty. Each color has a different resistance level, ranging from extra-soft to medium, so children of all abilities can improve grip strength and finger dexterity. The squeezing can also aid with anxiety.
Speaking of Lakeshore Learning, they have an special needs guide that has a lot of fun gift ideas.
Some kids seek sensory input by chewing. You might find your child chewing on their shirt collar or backpack straps. Ark Therapeutic came up with a solution by creating non-toxic items to chew on. They have a whole line of chewelry and other chews. We like Ark because the items are made in the U.S.A. and conform to safety standards.
We bought my oldest the saber tooth necklace. It had a coolness factor that appealed to him. Unfortunately within a week he lost it. When I mentioned it to the company they gave me a discount to buy a replacement. Now that’s awesome customer service!
Trampolines are great for kids with sensory issues, read this short article to learn how it can help autistic kids. We have the JumpSport from Costco, it’s great not only for the kids but parents too! It makes a great family gift and provides indoor entertainment and exercise during the winter months. When I’m too lazy or tired to go out for a jog, this is my go-to. There are a lot of YouTube videos that provide a variety of workouts so you don’t get bored.
5. Pottery Cool Studio.
Another fun toy for sensory seekers. I wish the box was more neutral and had a photo of a boy and girl. I’d love to give this to my oldest son but he’s going to perceive it as a “girl toy”. Especially with the pink and purple theme. But I think it’s great for all kids. You can buy this at Toys R Us.
6. Make your own puzzles
I spotted this one at Go Bananas, a local toy store. It caught my eye because as you all know, the puzzle piece is the symbol for autism awareness. With this kit you can take photos or artwork and turn them into puzzles! Attach your image to the kit’s adhesive foam boards, then slide them through the puzzle-making machine to safely create the puzzle pieces. Send your finished puzzles to family and friends for a great way to share memories. The kit includes ten 4×6″ adhesive sheets and mailing envelopes with sticker seals.
7. Barbie Smart House
If you are looking for a gift with a Wow Factor, check out the Barbie Smart House. The 2016 version is voice-controlled, and you can add your own custom sound effects to the home using a mobile app. It also has an elevator that’s voice-controlled and moves automatically. My autistic son is obsessed with elevators and loves toy houses of all kinds, so I’m thinking this might be his gift. He doesn’t care if it’s pink or purple. Of course with the $299 price tag I’m going to have to ask the grandparents to pitch in.
I’m not sure if this will be one of those hot toys that sell out quickly. But you can buy it at stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy.
8. Boze Soundlink Speakers
My mom gave these Boze Speakers to my husband for Christmas, the sound is really amazing. My autistic son in particular was drawn to it, he loves to hold it and chill to music on the sofa.
I would guess if you child loves music they will enjoy these speakers! They are available at Best Buy.
Books make a wonderful gift for the holidays. I could probably write a whole separate blog post about it. There is something for just about every interest a child has. There are sensory books with texture, pop up books, you name it. My sons are visual and love the colorful Usborne books. I see them at specialty toy stores and special needs events. But you can also buy them online.
Our pillow covers feature a pattern of gingerbread puzzle cookie men and women. The material is a soft polyester and can be thrown in the wash for easy cleaning. The hoodie is available as a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve or sweatshirt. Adult sizes available too!
How about you? Have you started shopping and do you have any gift ideas to share? Comment below and let us know!