As a child, I loved unpacking my stocking. I could always count on my stocking stuffers to include candy, an orange, nuts and a book or fun little toy. It kept me occupied while waiting for my turn to unwrap presents. There is something magical about a (non-stinky) sock, filled with yet to be discovered treasures.
But as a mom sometimes I have a hard time deciding what should go into the stocking that won’t get broken immediately, or has 1,000,000 pieces that I will curse later (I’m talking to you make your own bracelet kit) or that I will regret after 4 hours of noise (harmonicas and slide whistle).
I also would like the items to be useful, i.e. not something I consider trash 2 days later when I step on it for the tenth time. And it would be great to find toys or items that would help my children with sensory issues or motor skills.
So I went on a hunt. And here are my top stocking stuffers for special needs children this year:
Fine Motor Skill Stocking Stuffers
Metal Puzzles These puzzles are a big favorite in my family. My kids can work them better than I can. They also help kiddos practice fine motor skills.
Wood Puzzles These are pretty enough to display on the coffee table and help keep hands busy. I find if I can interest my child in a puzzle, it can be a calming activity.
Wood Animal Puzzles On my trip to Prague (years ago before children), BJ and I picked up a darling wood animal puzzle. It is my children’s favorite puzzle. I recently saw these small puzzles just like it and they are so adorable!
Rubik’s Cube Game Again with the puzzles! But they keep fingers and minds busy while improving motor coordination.
Hinge Puzzles Ditto! And this one doesn’t have any small pieces to lose. Unless the dog chews it up, and then you have a different problem.
Sensory-Based Stocking Stuffers
Super Soft Socks Umm, I want these. Okay, I mean they could be for my kids, too. They are super soft but have non-skid soles so you won’t go down on your tushie. Bonus.
Shower Sponge Have you seen these!! I haven’t used it, but I so want one. My daughter who has an aversion to showers (think sensory) would love this for the bath. I have to beg sometimes for her to use soap. This might make soap fun! And so much softer than the mesh sponges.
Silly Putty Silly putty and I have a love-hate relationship. I loved it as a kid. I mean it stretches, it copies comics, it can be thrown at my sister. Um . . . sorry, Mom! But as a mom, I live in fear of it being left on the carpet. If you have to ask why you haven’t experienced the joy of hours of cleaning silly putty from carpet fibers. Let’s move on, I’m having flashbacks.
Sensory Play Silks What a brilliant idea. Definitely more expensive than making them yourself, but “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” So check these ready made ones out.
Scalp Massager My children are sensory seekers so this gift would be great for them. If you have a child that avoids touch, you may want to find something less stimulating. And of course, this is a two pack. One for them and one, ahem, for me!
Back Vibrating Massager We have owned a dozen of these handheld massagers. My kids love them.
Fidget Toy Stocking Stuffers
Pencil Topper Fidget Toys While on the topic of pencil toppers, check these out. They look quiet, not like fidget spinners that can make a lot of noise. And they attach to the pencil so they look like an eraser. Brilliant!
Key Chain Fidget Toy This is an excellent idea for teens to attach to their keys. Or for backpacks. We fidget with our keys anyway so this can easily blend in. And it is pretty adorable. I mean, pea pods with faces, so cute.
Reversible Glitter Clutch These little purses are so darling. I’ve heard them called mermaid glitter too because the sequins change color when you rub them the opposite direction. It is soft and can be used to draw pictures and patterns. What a great item to carry money and small toys, but it can double as a toy.
Fort Clips My kids like small, dark, protected spaces when they are feeling stressed. I had one kiddo do schoolwork under his desk. The teacher didn’t mind and he got more done! So building forts at home is a great way to give your kids that small, quiet place as well as stretch their imaginations. And these clips are as cute as they are useful.
Book Marks What is sensory about a bookmark? Check these out. They are made of silicone and are stretchy. Kind of like the stretchy pants I’m wearing for Thanksgiving dinner.
Sleep Based Stocking Stuffers
Night Light Projector This is a little more expensive of a stocking stuffer than I normally buy, but if it gets used every night, it would be totally worth it! This is a visual light show that can be bright or dimmed and can move or stay static. I think it is a great idea.
White Noise Machine Speaking of stuff to use at night, this is my favorite white noise machine. It has a timer or can play until you turn it off. I used it for years for my daughters and bought a second one when we finally killed it. It lasted years. Love this.
Book Clip Night Light As my kids have gotten older, they like to read in bed. So having a small light instead of a bright overhead light helps them wind down better. Who are we kidding, I hope to find one in my stocking.
I hope this list of stocking stuffers for special needs children helps you fill your stockings this Christmas morning. What are you planning on filling your stockings with?
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