Not this year.
This year I began researching things that were worth spending money on, things that would benefit my kid in multiple ways (sensory, social, small motor skill) and that my kids would like. You will see some of these things you have already thought of, but hopefully you will think of it it a new light, and some of these things will be new.I am using this list to do my shopping and I sincerely hope it will at least provide you with inspiration for your holiday shopping.
1. Spin toothbrush -- we love these disposable things, and chew through them quick!
2. Animal flossers -- good for your teeth, and great to keep little hands (and mouths!) busy.
3. Flavored toothpaste (vanilla from Tanner's Tasty Paste) -- this stuff tastes like REAL ice cream; if your kid hates to brush, this may be the answer (they have chocolate, creamsicle and fluoride free too!).
4. Peek-a-Boo Bags -- this is a great sensory activity for little ones with tactile defensiveness. A easy way for mom to do some sensory work at home, since these adorable little bags full of soft pellets make "therapy" fun!
5. Webkinz -- it is always nice to ease anxiety by having a "friend" with you.
6. Snacks -- something not candy, so that when they open their stocking, they can eat what they get--even for breakfast. The link goest to my favorite new meals (Gabe takes them every day for lunch) which are prepackaged--but not crap. They even include a dessert in each box. Mmmmm.
7. GFCF Candy -- this is an extra special treat for kids on the diet. The link is a list of options, so you can pick what your kid would love best.
8. Fidget Toy -- we have this great, metal, small (a little bigger than a quarter) fidget toy that is just as fun for me as it is for Gabe. Originally designed for kids with ADHD. Use discount code save15 when ordering--the company has offered my readers a discount. WOOO HOOO!
9. Chew Stixx -- this is a great, scented, safe to chew, pocket sized object for kids to carry with them. We have 4 of them. :) Use discount code save15 when ordering--the company has offered my readers a discount. WOOO HOOO!
10. Pencil toppers -- lots of options out there, but toppers you can chew are terrific.
11. Pencil grips -- good for children that are struggling with handwriting (like mine!)--ask your OT for good direction on which grip will work best with your child.
12. Rubix cube -- something to keep your child's mind and hands busy--a requirement at our house.
13. Numbers slide puzzle -- old school but still fun. My boys love ours, and truthfully, so do I.
14. Personalized puzzle (Snapfish) -- take a photo of your kid, and make it into a puzzle you can do on the go. Obviously you can just buy a puzzle too. LOL
15. “Happy Thoughts Book” (Snapfish) -- a small flip book full of the most fun memories your child has--visit from Grandma, birthdays, family vacations--pull it out when you need to "snap" him out of a bad mood (do you think that is where "Snap"fish got its name? hmmmm). The smaller books are also AMAZING to buy in bulk and give out to family and friends for any occassion (especially wiht multiple book discounts!), they can be seen here.
16. Paint Brushes -- give your little artist a new set of brushes; these are specifically good for young kids or kids with lower small motor ability.
17. Smencils--Scented colored pencils -- scented pencils give an incentive to practice coloring and writing.
18. Sensory videos (Bear in the Big Blue House) -- although this only covers 5 of the SEVEN senses, it is a pretty cute show. I tried to get them to make it all seven senses, but they won't take my calls (something about a restraining order? Kidding--LOL).
19. Water Flutes-- noisey, but great fun in the bath.
20. Water bottle with straw -- great for in class, in the car, or just hanging out at home--these are especially cool because you can get it with your child's name on it.
21. Bath Squirters -- keep bathtime fun and add in some pinscher grasp work.
22. Bath paints/Crayons -- have a hard time getting them in the shower? Let them color the walls and practice handwriting--at the same time.
23. Glee Gum -- all natural, gluten free and allergen free. I am ordering some for Gabriel today--they also have "make your own gum" packs as well as "make your own gummy candy" packs. And if you click on the Glee Gum pic on the navigation bar (top left of this page) OR YOU CAN CLICK HERE you will be taken straight to a Buy One Get One Free coupon that Glee Gum created esepcially for HLW3B readers! I LOVE THIS COMPANY!!
24. Slipper socks with grippy feet -- cold feet are no fun, but slipper socks with grippy feet are terrific at any age. These are from Lands End, a fave of mine.
25. Scented lip balm -- 'tis the season for chapped lips. Stop the cracking with some festive holiday scented lip balm. Careful they don't eat it.
26. Gloves/mittens -- keep hands warm with soft cotton gloves or mittens. While you are on Old Navy's site (which has flat shipping), check out the matching hats and scarves!
27. Whistle -- great for proprioceptive input -- and pretending you're a cop.
28. Kazoo -- hum along to all of your favorite songs.
29. Harmonica -- teach them to play for real, or just let them pretend.
30. Wii Sports -- I recently learned how this game was being used to help kids "cross the midline"-- what a smart idea! This is the only thing on my list that is expensive--so don't let it throw you off!
31. Diji games -- kind of like DS, only educational. Great incentive to work on spelling and math.
32. Spy scope -- give them a secret mission -- spy out the windows or search the house.
33. Small note pad -- encourage writing smaller with their very own little note pad to write down clues.
34. Magnifying glass -- got to have something to find the clues!
35. Small car -- great option for traveling; a must for any adventure and a new one only sweetens the pot.
36. Action figures -- just like having a car, a Star Wars guy, Transformer, or whatever girls carry with them (wow, clueless on that), is a good way to increase dramatic play.
37. Key chain for backpack -- my boys love to have things on their back pack -- plus it gives them something to play with on the bus or while waiting in line at school.
38. Sand Blocks -- these are going in our stockings this year! Also check out the water and glass bead versions--great visual!
39. Watch -- great for kids that are learning to tell time, or just those who are concerned about what time it is -- all the time.
40. Bubbles -- blowing bubbles is a great proprioceptive activity--don't let it be just for summer!
41. Pokemon cards -- or whatever other kind of collecting cards your child is into--encourages reading and gives something for them to focus their organzing energy on--mine's a little OCD :).
42. Handy Manny tools -- these have been great for my 4 year old--he can "fix" things all over the house.
43. Music cds -- get your child's favorite music, whether they like classical or "Kidz Bop" like Nick, you are sure to have a hit.
44. Noise Quieting Headphones -- keep ears covered and muffle the sounds of unwanted noise--and look cool doing it.
45. Fruit -- OK, my mom-santa gave me fruit when I was a kid, and I hated it; now I love giving it to my kids (Gabe really loves to find an orange in his stocking) because it takes up so much room. I don't give them Harry and David, but I sure wish Santa would give some to me. LOL
46. Card game (Uno, Go Fish) -- Uno (they have themed decks, like this Christmas Charlie Brown one) is a great game that the whole family can play!
47. Flash cards -- give them the first 100 site words, math facts or other educational cards. Having their "hands on" the lesson makes learning more fun.
48. Legos -- small Lego sets can easily be built and then taken apart to do again. I also found this great Lego Advent Calendar which is a terrific way to show visually how many days until Christmas--great for reducing anxiety.
49. Bionicles -- a small motor skill building activity is vauable any time--and a good play date toy to engage new friends in.
50. Bakugan -- I know nothing about these, but do know that lots of kids are into them which gives our kids an opportunity for social play that NT kids might relate to (and they fit in the stocking nicely!).
51. Peek-a-Blocks -- great for toddlers, and they have a few different sensory sets, including this one which is "sounds".
52. Little People -- great for little hands, especially with the little vehicles for both girls and boys.
53. Ta Doodles -- bring out the artist in your little one without worrying about small motor skills--these fit easily in little hands and are adorable!
54. Playdoh/clay -- great to have any time.
55. Playdoh accessories -- there are so many, including Star Wars stampers, confetti makers and this adorable Hungry Hungry Hippos set.
56. Stamp w/ink set -- this is a great activity, the pressing and transfering is great for our kiddos.
57. Taggie Blanket -- no matter how old you are, a nice soft blanket with a satin edge can be calming, especially on the go.
58. Santa Buddies-- a new movie is always a hit for us on holidays! It gives structure to the day and allows for a "cool down" period (especially under a heavy blanket).
59. Books (Junie B. Jones or Magic Tree House) -- find a good kid's holiday themed book to encourage your child to read, and give them something to hold onto the holiday spirit.
60. Tickets to movies -- with the AMC Sensory-Friendly films showing all over the country every month, tickets to the movies couldn't be a more sensational gift.
61. Microwave popcorn -- makes everything better.
62. Fidget balls -- these are great for sensory input when your child needs to sit for long periods of time or just seems to need something to do with his hands.
63. Flash Light -- we can get enough of these--but don't forget the batteries--in bulk.
64. Ornament -- this one is adorable (I love the song I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas), but any special ornament with their name or year is a special treat.
65. Scarf -- your kid might not like this, but I assure you it will keep them warm (and seriously, how dang cute is this scarf for only $5 at Old Navy?)!
66. Stress ball -- another great thing to squeeze in your hand.
67. Ear plugs -- funny as it may be, having these on hand reduces the sress in our house. Remember to use care when putting these in your child's ears, and PLEASE ask your doctor if you have any concerns about it--shocking to find out, but I am NOT a medical professional, nor do I play one on TV--I just write. : )
68. Hand warmers -- a good thing to have for snow play.
69. Goggles -- keep them for the bath or shower (or we use them in the hot tub).
70. Electronic Bubblewrap -- really, just genius.
71. Tootsie Roll Bank -- a tradition at our house.
72. Temporary Tattoos -- get holiday ones and give your kids something to do after they open presents.
73. Theraputty -- they have a great 2 oz version to fit right in their stocking, and then in your purse! Don't forget to ask your OT which color would work best for your kid.
74. Ceiling Stars -- bedtime struggles are made easier when they have glowing stars to look at each night.
75. Flat Friends -- this product is new and really cool. It is made of 100% pure Australian sheepskin which has been shown to have calming and therapeutic effects. I personally love the wolf. Thanks to Sherri at Sensory Assault Ops for telling me about this!
76. Ice pack (themed or shaped) -- some of my kids hate ice packs, but usually a good character version makes the "owie" get better quicker anyway (even if the "owie" is really just an overreaction).
77. Band Aids in favorite character -- their own box of bandaids--go crazy!
78. Stickers -- in their favorite character are always a hit.
79. Polly Pocket-- a very cool option for a little girl, great at home or on the go. I also found this Polly Pocket Advent Calendar as well as a My Little Pony Advent Calendar which would be a fantastic way for you to count down the days to Christmas.
80. Littlest Pet Shop -- great option to encourage imaginative play.
81. Cookie Monster Building Set -- we have built the Ernie over and over, but Cookie is my favorite.
82. Barrel of Monkeys -- a great game that will help with hand eye coordination, turn taking and encourage social skill building.
83. Bike Bell-- decorating your bike is always cool.
84. Yahtzee -- a great way to have fun with the whole family -- while practicing social rules like taking turns, being a good sport and losing graciously. And this "A Christmas Story" version would only be better if the container was shaped like a lamp...if you know what I mean. : )
85. Wind Chimes -- help the wind make a new sound-- music!
86. Jump rope -- good for inside (maybe...) and outside play; help your kids' engine run.
87. Frisbee or flying disc -- fun to throw, and a great activity for increasing coordination.
88. Foam Glider Plane-- we love these.
89. Paper Dolls -- simple, classic, and still fun.
90. Bean bags -- having a few of these on hand, homemade ones are great, give a fidget toy and an instant game at home or away. The set I have linked to, is the alphabet (and they have numbers too!); a GREAT GREAT way to have a multisensory experience with letters. Love it!
91. Mood ring -- they are coming back! Give your kid the ability to monitor their own mood (sort of...I at least like the idea that they are thinking about monitoring their mood, even if the ring is inacurate).
92. Interlocked metal mind puzzles -- these are more complex than the one we have, but my boys love them and do these forever.
93. Mad Libs (or Mad Libs Jr. or Star Wars or Christmas or Christmas Carols) -- fun for kids with a good sense of humor, and even better for encouraging writing. Do you remember how fun these were? Can't wait for Santa to deliver these to our door.
94. Chewlery Bracelet -- I have said this before, but I stick by it because it WORKED for us. They have new versions, so feel free to look around at other options.
95. Sling shot Monkey -- this is just hysterical. Let them have fun, it is Christmas and you've been stressed for over a month. ; )
96. Straw Glasses -- any kind of straw is a great way to get input for our kiddos--but this just makes it silly.
97. Tape Measure (real or pretend) -- my little builders love these. You can get them at the dollar store and then when they ruin them, o well.
98. Tangle DNA Puzzle -- this is just cool. It is textured and glows--can you say multi-sensory? need I say more?
99. Blob Ball -- this is gross, and my kids usually pop them, but they are fun sensory activity while they last.
100. Super Ball -- this is one of our favorites! Take them to the local public school playground and they can throw them against the building in the covered play area. GREAT outting even in the rain!
101. Slinky -- ending with a classic, not to mention it helps with problem solving and feels cool.
Good luck shopping and Happy Holidays,
Now for the disclaimer:
I am sure you know this, but I have to say it any way -- I am not getting paid by any of these companies to suggest their items, just as I cannot personally vouch for any of the suppliers (although wherever possible I tried to go with larger suppliers like Amazon); this is a place to get inspriation and buy whatever strikes your fancy. It's all on you.