It’s that time of year when we are all looking for the perfect gift for our family and friends. But what if your family or friends have difficult to figure out children or your child doesn’t seem to focus long enough to use the cool game or look at the fun book you want them to enjoy. What if your child is always on the go and can seem to sit still… ever. What are the perfect presents for these kiddos? Well I have a list of 10 presents for kids that will help them to focus and calm their bodies in order for them to complete other projects with you. So here we go in no order of importance, just the way I put them on the list! 🙂
1 Sensory Bins
These are easy to put together and fun for you to switch out different sensory items. You just need an empty plastic container with a lid. Make sure they are big enough for your child to play in and to keep the materials you put inside in the container. You can add oatmeal, beans, cornmeal, flour, water, soft pom poms, water, paper pieces or just about any item you think your child will want to explore in the container. Add some measuring cups or spoons, a funnel, and if you want to get fancy some plastic toys such as animals and/or dinosaurs and you have a fantastic gift. When they are playing with this you can put plastic underneath so when they are done you can put a lid on the container and throw the plastic away. If you are giving this as a gift to someone else you can give them bags of different materials to put in the container. This activity help children who tend to put everything into their mouths build their tactile skills instead of focusing so much on their oral motor skills. It also gives their body sensory input to increase their ability to use their sensory skills to learn about their environment in a safe way and not in ways that may destroy your house!
2. Weighted blanket or stuffed animal
This is an easy way to help your child be able to calm themselves for bedtime or even to sit down to listen to a story. If you are good at sewing, which I am not, you can take the seams out of their favorite stuffed animal on the bottom and put in bean bag filler or poly pellets that give the animal more weight when they place it in their lap then sew it back up. Poly pellets can be found at your local hobby store under doll fillers, You can also look into purchasing a heavy blanket or quilt that they can take with them to bed in order for them to calm down and fall asleep on their own. Which in my opinion is one of the best gifts you can give a parent or yourself… Sleep!
3. Exercise ball
Yes, a small size exercise ball is perfect for a kiddo that wants to run and jump and fly around the house. They can bounce on it, roll on it, and push it into a wall. This is a fantastic way to get sensory input into a child who is looking for input in lots of ways such as hitting others, running into furniture and walls on purpose, crashing into others and hitting themselves. It can also be a calming exercise before you are trying to get a child to sit at the dinner table, or complete a puzzle with you. Try bouncing, holding themselves up with their arms on the floor and their feet on the ball, or just rolling on their stomach or back!
This is a popular activity for kids of all ages, but keep in mind that if the child is still eating items they shouldn’t, you should try to create slime that is made out of edibles or safe to ingest items. You can find so many recipes online to make different types of slime. Some of the recipes that I thought looked good are pudding slime chocolate slime and gummy bear slime. This is a great stocking stuffer! It is also a great way to increase your child’s tactile sense which gives them more input to their system for doing other fine motor activities such as writing and buttoning their clothes.
A mini trampoline or a regular sized one are great ideas for kids with boundless energy and it helps develop their proprioceptive system, which is a fancy term for knowing where your body parts are when you are moving around. It develops core muscles, balance and works your child’s muscle groups to help your child calm themselves for focused activities such as coloring, following directions and learning how to use a shape sorter.
6. Blanket Fort
A friend of mine gave my kids a blanket fort kit for a birthday one year. It was a wonderful way for my girls to use their own creativity to make their own special hiding place as well as giving them a space to hide and be calm when there were lots of other people around. This is a great idea for kids who feel overwhelmed with too much noise or people around. Your child can create a safe and quiet place to take a break when they need it. To create a Fort Kit you put together a couple sheets, clothes pins, rope and a few clamps, put them inside a bag or carrier that is easy for your child to carry and voila! If you feel like being fancy you could even get their initials put onto the bag to make it more special.
7. Noise cancelling headphones
This is a great idea for children who are sensitive to loud noises in their environment or when they go to specific places. They don’t need to wear them everywhere, but they get to control when they need a noise break. They are also great for going to races, truck rallies or other loud environments that might not be a typical option for kids that are more sensitive to noise.
8. Smelly markers
This is a fun idea for kids who like to get into everything and explore. Markers are a great way to encourage fine motor skills as well as increasing sensory input in a safe way that can help a child learn about their environment. Sometimes scented markers can help clear unpleasant smells a child might not like if they are a picky eater and smells can turn them off to foods. Having them smell a preferred marker smell before they take a bite of a new food can sometimes encourage them to try more foods. The markers can also cleanse a nose pallet of a negative smell that is making them upset during meal times.
Having a favorite character or color backpack is a great idea for younger kids who need to have some heavy work put into their day. Put a few books, or some heavier items that your child wants to carry around the house, can help meet this need. This places pressure on your child’s body that helps then to self soothe throughout their day. It can also feel fun for your child to pick out different items of his choosing to put in the backpack. If he/she is in charge of their backpack and carrying it around they can feel like a big kid!
10. Soft Cozy Blanket
Never underestimate the power of a blanket. This blanket can have several different sensory purposes! You can have your child sit or lay down on the blanket and swing them while you are holding onto the edges. You can roll them up like a burrito and then unroll them on the floor. You can also have them hide like a ghost playing a peek a boo game! You can have their name put on the blanket or just use a favorite color or character as well. If it is weighted that is a bonus, just make sure you are able to swing them in it too!
I hope these ideas helped you find a perfect gift for the amazing and energetic child in your life! If you would like more ideas and tips follow me on Face Book @childexpressions.