Best Holiday Gifts for Kids (and Adults) with Sensory Needs

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Are you looking for some holiday gifts for kids and adults with sensory needs? Today I have some suggestions for you from Fun and Function, a company providing tons of therapy and sensory-related items for kids and adults.

Best holiday gifts for kids (and adults) with sensory needs.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Fun and Function.


To help maximize the therapeutic and play value, consider texture, durability, long-term use, and benefits. Our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide includes top picks for the upcoming holiday season and you can always check out our Therapist Picks for great recommendations to fit any child and any need.

Ages Birth to 3 Years Old

Babies and Toddlers are learning to understand their environment, move and explore. Toys should focus not only on safety but also on exploration. For those with limited abilities, toys should encourage movement within a secure space.

Our top picks for this age:

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Bangles Chewy Bracelet Set. Safe for mouthing and a colorful delight for young sensory explorers. If you have a mouther, teether or biter, this is the perfect gift for mom and babe. Ages 6 mos – adult.

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Explorer's Vest. Your youngest (and oldest) kids will absolutely love exploring and stuffing items into the pockets of this weighted vest. Perfect for any explorer, chewer or gadget lover. (Weights can be removed.) Ages 2-12.

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Furry Spots. Stuff these with our wiggle cushion or your own soft material. Want them to be more sensory? Stuff with bubble wrap or crinkly paper. Soft texture encourages exploration and movement. Age 2+.

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Gel Tiles. Stomp, jump, crawl or just press down on these mesmerizing floor tiles that encourage exploration and motor control. Magical appeal for babes to adults. Use them at home, school, or the gym. Ages 10 mos+.

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Gymbox. Let the little ones climb, tumble, roll and play with this all-inclusive soft play gym. Encourages milestone progression and physical development. A holiday favorite for home, school, or clinics. Birth – 4.

Ages 4-9

So now your kids are on the go. And they need to go with confidence. This age needs sensory-motor challenges that encourage eye-hand coordination, balance reactions, and age-appropriate sensory solutions. Let’s take a look.

Our top picks for this age:

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ABC Look and Feel Bag. It’s colorful, slightly weighted, and educational! Kids love to find the letters that they are learning and toss this bean bag-like bag around. Hide it, find it and toss it around. Age 3+.

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Air-lite™ Barrel Roll. Your kids will love this barrel! It’s soft, flexible, and portable. Crawl through, around, or sit down inside. Turn on the side and fill with ball pit balls or push across the room. Roll a partner or yourself for a great vestibular workout. Inflates with a hand or electric pump. This is a rainy day lifesaver and a sensory delight! Age 4+.

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Textured Foam Roller. Get a core workout by rolling the pin across the floor or massage a partner’s back for a great sensory integration session. Push and pull to use both sides of the body. Use it on a wall, floor, or desktop for a sensory break! Ages 4 – adult.

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Plush Pickle. This cute weighted plush friend goes perfectly with our In a Pickle Game or alone as a fun play companion. Take him on a car ride, to read a book, or to snuggle with at night. Kids of all ages and adults love Mr. Pickle! Age 4+.

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Raindrop Swing. Climb in, walk or jump around, and swing in circles as the soft stretch material provides the perfect air-ride and workout. It’s a sensory-motor delight and wake-up call for sleepy muscles. And once you get in, you can chill out as the Raindrop Swing calms and relaxes you. Age 4+.

Ages 10-12

Independence is what this age is all about. Be different but don’t stick out. Learn to advocate for your own needs and respect the different needs of others. For this phase, we chose items that are simple yet subtly fun and therapeutic.

Our top picks for this age:

Tie Dye Hug Tees

Tie-Dye Hug Tee. This favorite hug tee says, “Hey I’ve got color!” But if you prefer blending in, go for the solid white or black hug tees. We happen to love this short sleeve tie-dye tee, which can be worn over a long-sleeve hug tee or any long sleeve shirt. After all, every day should be filled with hugs. Ages 6-15.

Fidget Balls-3 Pack

Fidget Balls. Toss em, juggle em, or squish them in your hands. Each one has its own texture and different tactile sensations. Everyone loves these Fidget Balls. Colorful, engaging, and a perfect stand-alone gift or stocking stuffer. Age 3+.

Discovery Putty- Animal Rescue

Discovery Putty. Pick, pull, stretch and find the pieces hidden in our Discovery Putty. Each tin has a different theme, from sweets to safaris, and gives a fresh twist to sensory integration, visual motor, and fine motor delights. Age 4+.

Air-Lite™ Tire Swing

Air-lite™ Tire Swing. Up, up and away with this amazing fun ride! Use it alone or with 2-3 kids at once. Spin around and round or back and forth. Suspend from a single point or from 2 points and ride it like a horse. If you can give only one gift, this is it! Age 5+.

LimeLite™ LED Chair

Limelite™ LED Chair. Daytime or nightlight experience! Light up a dark room or provide a sensory corner to sit and relax. It’s so special everyone will want one. Check out the Limelite™ LED Ball, Stool, and Spool too. Age 5+.

Teens

Social activity is at the heart of being a teen though they still want a sensory space that is just purely theirs and theirs alone. Aim for items that are truly sensory and yet highly engaging.

Our top picks for this age:

Air-Lite Ball Pit

Air-lite™ Ball Pit. This is no toddler ball pit. It’s the pit where a teen can solo or hang out with friends. Read, chill out or have one of those long-awaited talks. Holds 500 balls. Age 3+.

Teen Chewy Bracelet

Teen Chewy Bracelet. Teens need to chew and de-stress too. This is our chunkiest and boldest chew bracelet. Roll it around like a hockey puck or slap it on a wrist for when a good chew is necessary to organize and calm. Teen-adult.

Busy Fingers ™ Marble Maze Kit

Busy Fingers Tangram Puzzle. You can take these apart, but can you put them back together? This gel-like, squishy puzzle is a sensory delight and a brain teaser. Included are several designs to follow. A great stocking stuffer. Age 6 – adult.

Fiber Optic Flex Lights. Drape them across your lap as you engage with these mesmerizing fiber optic strands. Perfect for sensory rooms, closets, or dark bedrooms. They encourage interaction, discussion, and engagement, and maybe all the color you need this holiday season. All ages.

Teen Break Box

Teen Break Box. Not sure what you need for a sensory break? The Teen Break Box is full of solutions for your teen. A great go-to box for at home or high school. Ages 9 -18.

Adults

Some things we just don’t outgrow. Our need for a sensory break, eye-hand coordination, exercise, and overall fitness and well-being is a part of our lives from young adult to senior years. If you know an adult with sensory sensitivities, Autism, Alzheimer's, or ADD, look no further.

Our top picks for this age:

Denim Pocket Lap Pad

Denim Pocket Lap Pad. It’s subtle enough yet engaging. The Denim Pocket Lap Pad features places to put your hands and fidgets to pull on and play with. This is a favorite for senior therapy but loved by all. Age 5+.

Cozy Canoe™

Cozy Canoe. Get inside alone, with a friend, or with your kids to read, relax or play. The Cozy Canoe provides a secure hug as well as a gentle rock and bounce. Inflates easily with a power inflator. Choose from 2 sizes. Ages 3 – adult.

Black Bead Chew Necklace

Black Bead Chew Necklace. Sometimes a piece of gum just won’t do it. The Black Chew Necklace is soft enough to mouth and yet sophisticated enough to wear to dinner. Ages 6 mos – adult.

Weighted Blanket-Full Size

Full-Size Weighted Blanket. Lay the weighted blanket right on top of your current comforter or under it. Or, use it alone. Big enough to fit your full-size bed or use as a throw. Evenly distributed weight is soothing. Ages 3+.

Mesh Therapy Swing

Mesh Therapy Swing. It’s our go-to swing as you can sit and pump or lay back and chill. This swing feels like a breath of fresh air for all ages. Don’t be surprised if you find mom asleep in the swing. Age 3+.

You May Also Like:

Gift guide for kids who need to fidget.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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3 Comments

  1. Kristi Pingleton says:

    These are great gift ideas! Thank you! I saw some of those gel tiles at a local indoor play place a year ago and fell in love with them! I will have to save so I can get some for my classroom and home.

  2. what I just wanted for my special children to have and wondering how and you have them all . the Ball pit its so amazing

  3. Karen Le Blanc says:

    So many great ideas here! I would use the $25 gift card toward the foam roller. I think it would benefit the entire family!

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
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