The holidays are a wonderful time for making memories and spending time with your children. If you’re the parent or friend or relative of a child with special needs, you know the struggle of finding the right gift…something that has purpose for your child whether educational, therapeutic, or even social.
Before shopping for a tangible toy let’s look at purposeful experiences that can be a gift that lasts throughout the year!
- Swim pass to a local indoor pool over winter.
- Skating at Greenheck Field House (skating aides are available for beginners & young skaters) Visit https://www.dce.k12.wi.us/domain/184 for cost and more information.
- Tubing down Sylvan hill.
- Snowshoeing or cross country skiing at Nine Mile Forest. Visit https://www.co.marathon.wi.us//Departments/ParksRecreationForestry/Recreation/CrossCountrySkiingSnowshoeing.aspx for more information on passes and available trails.
- Attend a movie at a local theatre.
- Build a snowman!
These purposeful experiences will provide some great motor skills, developmental, and social opportunities and of course a fun family night out! Still want to get a little something for your loved one, check out our list of purposeful items…
Poke-a-Dot books encourage language development, counting, and fine motor skills. These books are great for learning colors and counting objects in the story.
Interactive books help engage and capture a child’s interest. There are many types of interactive books such as moving parts, pull tabs, die-cut pages and lift the flap board book. Besides sensory development when a child is asked to look for the hidden image under the flap, they then learn the story structure which helps improve their narration skills.
Dimple toys encourages fine motor skills, sensory exploration, spatial reasoning, and cause-effect learning. Some models can come textured making them more satisfying to the touch while other models are designed to help a child learn to count in different languages or learn colors/shapes.
Kinetic sand promotes development of fine motor skills (squeeze it, squish it, or smash it) and sensory processing skills. In addition, development of social and emotional aspects in children are seen through the calming and relaxing sensory effects.
Stacking can help boost fine and gross motor skills and help your child develop better eye-hand coordination. They also help with learning about spatial relationships (like under and on), and shapes.
1. Count & Sort Stacking Tower: Encourages fine motor skills, visual-spatial skills, number learning, counting, memorization skills. https://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/fat_brain_toys/count_and_sort_stacking_tower.cfm
2. Spin Again: Encourages hand-eye coordination and early engineering skills. https://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/fat_brain_toy_co/spinagain.cfm
3. Peg Boards: Encourages color sorting, color matching, adding, subtracting, and fine motor skills.
Fine Motor/Matching Toys
Provide additional learning opportunities such as color and shape recognition. They are attractive and often hold attention for a good period of time.
Active Play Toys
1. Chasing Fireflies: Game of hiding and finding light-up fireflies that encourages active play, outdoor play, and cooperative play. https://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/toysmith/chasing_fireflies.cfm
2. Rock Painting Kit: Engages you child to use their creative side and the active side comes in with hiding the rocks around their community. https://tinyurl.com/y6a4yxcb
3. Sno Stompers: A imaginative way to work on gross motor while leaving a trail in the snow! https://www.fatbraintoys.com/toy_companies/everest/sno_stompers_sand_stompers.cfm
We hope the following gift examples can help you find the perfect purposeful toy to wrap up this year!