Gift Guide

When choosing gifts, it is important to consider a person’s interests, developmental ability and age. Keep in mind that often developmental level may be different than their age, and that products should be developmentally oriented.

You may want to consider products, toys, and games that provide only one type of sensory stimulation,  such as Theraputty (something to touch), a musical item (something to listen to), or a light up item (something to look at.) If you are seeking to stimulate multiple senses, in order to avoid overwhelm, consider using a variety of single-sense oriented products rather than trying to capture many senses simultaneously with one toy.

Calming gifts for the win! People with sensory processing issues often find daily experience very tiring, especially because their sensory threshold may be lower than the general population. For that reason, gifts with slow, repetitive motion such as vibrating items, spiral timers, and rhythmic moving motion lamps can be both visually engaging and calming. Swings, weighted blankets, or cocoon type beanbag chairs all provide soothing input to the body that can help individuals unwind, and are also great gifts.

Visually interesting gifts are always a big hit. Items that spin, light up or flash are often very well received; however, keep in mind that sometimes less can be more with sensory items. A toy with too much stimulation can cause over-stimulation and stress. As we mentioned above, consider the interests/preferences and developmental level of the person to whom you are giving the gift.

Cause and effect toys can help with social interaction. These products help teach that we have the ability to influence our environment, such as by squeezing a toy to get a sound, or pressing a button to make a light illuminate. This immediate positive feedback, coupled with the toys’ simple repetitive actions, encourage not only enjoyable engaged play, but also education and growth. These toys also can create opportunities for a fun, shared family experience. By taking turns with triggering the responsive action (squeaking the ball or lighting up the light), these toys encourage interaction and joint attention – both of which are very important for social development.

Fidget toys and stress balls – who doesn’t need them?! These toys are very popular with both sensory challenged and neurotypical persons because they can work wonders in helping to manage stress and anxiety. Fidget toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are all designed to serve the same purpose – to help the user release anxiety and excess energy and to achieve a calmer state that will help them to focus. Many of these toys are portable and quite, which makes them perfect to bring along to the classroom, in a car, or at a restaurant. You may want two of these though – one for you, and one for the gift you were seeking!

Building school skills with fine motor toys! Our fine motor skills – that is, anything involving the muscles of the hand and fingers – help us to accomplish all kinds of activities, from getting dressed in the morning to opening doorknobs or holding pencils and silverware. Fine motor toys such as Play-doh or Theraputty (great for building hand strength and sensory integration), blocks, and toys that work on patterns, sequencing, or sorting help to prepare preschoolers for a great school start.

Gifts that help social skills. While many people with sensory processing issues and in particular those on the spectrum may experience delayed or impaired social skills, people of all ages can learn essential social skills with practice. Games or toys that are designed to improve social skills frequently involve communication, learning to recognize emotions and empathizing with others. Look for toys, books, and games that explore feelings, also products that involve sharing or turn taking. All of these things will encourage collaborative interaction, and the more you play with your child, the more their social skills will improve. This can have far-reaching impact on their confidence, self-esteem, social interactions, and interpersonal relationships with family, friends, and classmates.

There are so many gifts to choose from. These few categories are designed to give you some idea of your options and to provide an overview of what the toys, games, and products are intended to help accomplish. If you’re still having trouble choosing, feel free to reach out to us at and we’ll be happy to make more individualized recommendations.