By: Kim Nye – Mom to four great kids, ages 6 to 15.
The holidays are here! It can feel difficult to shop for a child with developmental delays. My friends and family are always asking for gift ideas, especially for Tessa (15) and Colton (6) who have SLC13A5 Deficiency. To make it a little easier for your friends and families, I thought I would share some links to toys and products that work well for our family.
I am always tempted to buy educational toys to help Tessa and Colton “catch up,” but I try to remember that they are kids first and developmentally delayed second. The goal should be to have fun! If you have favorite toys that are not listed here, I would love for you to share them in the comments or in the replies!
American Girl Dolls are expensive, no question, but I love that the company makes everything for their dolls, from braces to wheelchairs to diabetes kits to service dogs. Kids can have a doll that is just like them. Tessa has had a Bitty Baby American Girl Doll, named Alison, since she was a little baby herself. She loved to dress her, feed her, and put her to bed. Added bonus: When Tessa has an EEG or a blood test, we bring Alison along so that she can get an EEG or blood test as well. Sometimes, we just need a buddy to go through it with us.
Our family is sticker obsessed, so it’s great when Pipsticks sends cute stickers straight to our house each month. My middle-schooler decorates her school notebooks with stickers, Colton likes stickers as rewards, and Tessa sticks them indiscriminately on everything (😂). When I’m really knocking it out of the park (which is rare), I decorate little notes with stickers, and then slip the notes into my kids’ lunchboxes.
Colton cannot write his name yet, so he likes to use a self-inking “Colton” name stamp. He is so proud when he sees his name on paper!
Kids love to receive mail! Highlights makes magazines for different ages and levels of understanding. Tessa likes Highlights’ High Five magazine. She also likes People Magazine, but I feel like more of a responsible parent by suggesting Highlights (hah!).
5. Play-Doh, Putty, Slime, and More
Sensory toys are a big hit with my kids. (Warning: sensory toys are often messy toys!) Homemade slime was all the rage about a year ago, so you should be able to enlist your local elementary or middle school kids to help create this present. For Play-Doh, I would recommend checking out their fun kits.
Kinetic sand is so fun to touch and squish! Even I find myself playing with it when the kids bring it out.
Kiwi Co Crates are another subscription that arrives in the mail. Kiwi Co makes different craft kits for different interests and ability levels. Colton really enjoys the Panda Crate and the Koala Crate. In the picture below, Colton’s sisters helped him make a dino visor from the Koala Crate.
7. Magna Tiles
Magna Tiles are blocks that stick together with the help of magnets. There were a few years when my girls were all obsessed with Magna Tiles. I used to find Magna Tile houses and towers in their rooms all the time.
Stomp Rockets are fun for kids of all ages. Even when Colton was too young to stomp, he loved watching the rockets fly through the air.
Colton had trouble keeping his head up in a bucket swing, so we bought him one with a high back and plenty of support. With this, he could feel the joy of swinging without having to work so hard.
This musical cube was one of Colton’s favorite toys when he was learning to sit upright.
Tessa loves to color. The Boogie Board is a good option for when you don’t want the mess. It comes with a stylus, and the entire board erases with the single push of a button.
My girls are avid bookworms; Colton, not so much. However, books that have real pictures and story-lines about real life topics are the easiest for him to grasp. We like this series about Lola the Dog:
Colton also likes books by Mo Willems because his sister Maggie reads them to him, and she does all the voices 🙂
P.S. This is not a sponsored post, just a list of some of our family’s favorites.
P.P.S. If you are ordering through Amazon, we encourage you to go to smile.amazon.com and choose TESS Research Foundation as your charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% of every purchase to TESS, at no additional cost to you.