Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide 2012 - Gifts for "sensory kids"

Has your child been called a "sensory kid?" Is your child always on the go? Constantly climbing, jumping, spinning, running? Or is your child overly sensitive to sensory stimulation, covering his ears in loud places or preferring to only wear soft clothes? Today I'm going to provide some gift suggestions for Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders. Remember, you know your child's preferences best ant it is not uncommon for children to demonstrate behaviors of both sensory seeking and sensory avoiding.

Sensory Seekers:

Sensory Seekers are those kids that are always on the go. They may be climbing on furniture, jumping off of furniture, or touching everything they see. Sensory Seekers crave sensory information and need additional sensory input to regulate their bodies.

Original Toy Company Fold and Go Trampoline

- For the sensory seeker who is always jumping and on the go. A small trampoline, used with supervision, can provide the sensory input your child is seeking.

- A Rody Horse is fun to bounce around on, providing lots of movement, as well as vestibular input.

- Pillow Racers are a soft ride-on toy that are easy to maneuver in all directions, including spinning in a circle. Sensory seekers may enjoy the vestibular input provided by this toy.

- For little ones who love to swing, the Little Tykes Snug 'n Secure Swing is a great option.

- Edushape balls provide a great tactile experience for sensory seekers.

- A classic pounding bench develops hand eye coordination AND it provides proprioceptive feedback to the hands and arms, for those who seek additional input.

- I haven't actually seen Gelli Baff in action, but it looks like an interesting concept. It turns water into "goo" and back. Could be a good tactile activity for sensory seekers. Has anyone else tried this? [Update: This might not be the best for your plumbing. Please see the reader comments below]

- Does your child need a fidget to keep his or her hands busy? Zibbies are stuffed animals with koosh ball-like hair. 

Sensory Avoiders:

Sensory Avoiders are those kids who avoid sensations or become easily overwhelmed with too much sensory input. Too much sensory input may cause these children to tantrum or shut down.

- Sound blocking head phones can be just what the sensory avoider needs to get through certain situations, such as a noisy car ride or a wait in the reception area of the doctor's office. These also come in pink or blue.

- Seamless socks can work wonders for children who are bothered by tags and seems in their clothing. Also look for tagless clothes, which luckily is not hard to find these days, since most children's clothing has now gone tagless.

- For children who do not like to get their hands messy, Crayola's Mess Free Markers are a good option. The only downside is, you will also need the appropriate paper to go with these markers.

- An indoor child-size tent can create the perfect getaway or quiet spot for the sensory avoider. Throw some soft pillows and blankets inside to create a safe sensory spot for your child.

Gifts for the Sensory Seeker or Sensory Avoider:

Some toys can be appropriate for both Sensory Seekers and Sensory Avoiders. Here are a few examples.

That's Not My Puppy (Usborne Touchy-Feely Board Books)

- For sensory avoiders of tactile input, Touch and Feel books are a safe way to slowly experience a variety of textures. For sensory seekers, the tactile input provided by Touch and Feel books can be more engaging than a typical board book.

- For older children who like to swing, this hammock swing from IKEA provides vestibular input. Sensory avoiders may enjoy the cozy getaway that a hammock swing provides.

Sensory Books:

There are now several books that help explain sensory "issues" to children. Similar to a social story, these books allow the child to relate to a character who is experiencing the same sensory sensitivities as him/herself.
- Sensitive Sam shares a typical day in Sam's life, in which his over sensitivity causes distress in his life. Sam's teacher recommends that he go to an occupational therapist, and OT is also described in a non-threatening, kid-friendly way.
- Arnie and His School Tools tells the story of Arnie, who is an active boy who had trouble paying attention in school until he was given the sensory tools he needed to meet his sensory needs.

- Squirmy Wormy tells the story of Tyler, who has autism and sensory processing disorder. Tyler learns about sensory processing disorder and what he can do to help himself feel better.

- Why Does Izzy Cover Her Ears? shows how Izzy learns to cope with sensory overload in her new school. This is the only sensory book that I have come across that features a girl as the main character.

Please add to the list! What are must-haves for the sensory seekers or sensory avoiders in your life?

Looking for even more ideas? Be sure to check out my Amazon Store!

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  1. From what I've seen about the gelli baff thing, it's not great for the septic system and doesn't dissolve nicely, so I'd be wary. Play doh is my #1 for my little sensory seeker.

    1. Thank you for sharing this info! I'm going to update the blog post to make sure others know this.


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