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Sensory Gift Ideas

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The holidays are coming upon us quickly and many of you might be in need of the perfect gift idea for the sensory kid in your life.

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) affects people differently. Some seek out more input, others avoid it, while others can fall somewhere and everywhere in between. If you need more information about sensory ‘seekers’ and sensory ‘avoiders’ read up more on SPD here

Sensory seekers tend to want more input, this could be more touch, movement, pressure, sound, taste, or visual input. The perfect gift for a sensory seeker may be one that helps them meet their sensory needs. 

Sensory gift ideas for seekers

Tactile (touch)

  • Rice bin or other sensory bin supply
  • Fidgets
  • Vibrating pillow or stuffed animal
  • Slimes, putties, kinetic sand
  • Building toys such as Logos 

Vestibular (movement)

  • Small trampoline
  • Indoor swings
  • Peanut ball
  • Rocking horse
  • Sit and spin

Visual (sight)

  • Lava lamp
  • Light-up toys such as glow sticks
  • Light bright
  • Marble maze
  • Pinwheel 

Proprioceptive (body awareness/pressure) 

  • Weighted blanket or compression clothing
  • Body sock 
  • Peanut ball or yoga ball
  • Stress balls
  • Rollers or massagers such as these rolling back massagers

Oral motor/gustation (taste)

  • Hard candies
  • Chewy foods
  • Silly straws (provide great input to the mouth)
  • Vibrating toothbrush
  • Chewables 

Auditory (sound) 

  • Headphones for music
  • Radio or sound machine 
  • Toy musical instruments
  • Listening games such as ‘Bop It
  • Pop tubes 

Other kids though may get overwhelmed by input, and benefit from more calming toys or activities. 

Sensory gift ideas for avoiders

  • Cozy blankets
  • Books 
  • Noise-canceling headphones
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses
  • Play tent or bed tent 

You may find that some of the toys listed above for seekers are also great for your sensory avoider. For example, playing with a sensory bin or using a body sock may be a calming experience for a child more sensitive to sensory input. 

Every child is different in how they process sensory input. Watch your child and see what they prefer. What do they like to do to calm down? Once you have an idea about their sensory preferences, then look for toys that meet those needs.

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