This season, give presents that calm and soothe—while providing endless hours of fun.
It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 6 children in America may experience sensory processing issues—meaning they are either oversensitive or under-sensitive to the noises, textures, and other stimuli in the world around them (in some cases, kids may even exhibit signs of both oversensitivity and under-sensitivity in different areas). If your child constantly has meltdowns in crowded restaurants or stores, or can’t seem to get enough of roller coasters, hanging upside down or swinging, he or she may have a form of sensory processing disorder (SPD). There are many methods to help your child learn to cope with these issues in school and at home, but finding the right toy for this child can be tricky! Here are some gift ideas any kid would love—but kids with SPD will find especially appealing.
An Indoor Trampoline
Sensory-seeking kids like to run, jump and play—and that can be difficult in the colder winter months, when everyone is stuck indoors. With a child-size trampoline (this one from GYMENIST folds up for easy storage), you can let your child jump to his or her heart’s content even when it’s freezing outside. Just be sure to always keep an eye on your bouncing child, and never let more than one kid bounce at a time.
To buy: $70; amazon.com.
Kids who crave touching different textures will love playing with moldable sand (this gift pack from Kinetic Sand includes four bright neon colors). The material sticks to itself, which means that unlike sand you find at the beach, you can squeeze it into many different shapes and build castles and 3D sculptures, no water required. (Hint: Splurge for the extra tray to avoid huge messes.)
To buy: $27; amazon.com.
Some kids with sensory issues feel much calmer when they’re swinging, which stimulates the sense of movement and balance located within the inner ear. Setting up a small swing inside the house can give them the freedom to swing away when it’s raining out or you can’t get to the park. We love this one from DreamGYM which has the snuggly feeling of a cocoon.
To buy: $68; amazon.com.
Music can be very therapeutic for kids with sensory processing disorders. Unfortunately, traditional bulky headphones can be extremely irritating to those who are sensitive to touch. The remedy? These soft, fleecy headband headphones made by CozyPhones offer a cushiony feel while your kid listens to tunes. They’re even soft enough to sleep in! Long car trips just became a lot more tolerable.
To buy: $20; amazon.com.
Sometimes the world can seem overwhelming for a child with sensory issues. A small tent like this colorful one from Kiddey offers a space where your sensory kid can curl up with a book or a favorite stuffed toy and calm down. The tent can also serve as a great play space to socialize with other kids. Toss in a few throw pillows and flashlights for extra fun.
To buy: $27; amazon.com.