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4 Last-Minute Holiday Gifts That Get the Pediatric PT Seal of Approval

Dec 24, 2023

Child playing with mom.

When it comes to Christmas gifts, we’re down to the wire. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to find the perfect gift for the children in your life. If you’re looking for a gift for a child with special needs, there are a few considerations you should take into account. In this post, we’ll walk through things you should look for when buying a toy for kids with physical limitations. Then, we’ll list four toys you can grab on Amazon before the holidays are here.

6 Steps to Choosing the Right Gift for Kids with Physical Limitations

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers a list of tips to help you choose a toy for a child with physical limitations. When choosing a gift, keep these considerations in mind:

  1. Development: The age suggestions on toys are just that—suggestions. A child’s development may not have reached all the benchmarks of their age group. To avoid injury, keep the unique capabilities of the child in mind and ask yourself whether or not the toy matches where they are in their physical development.
  2. Choking Hazards: Not only are small parts difficult to manipulate; they can become choking hazards, as well. This is particularly true for children with swallowing disorders. Avoid toys with marbles or balloons, as well.
  3. Parent Involvement: When parents are involved in play, they can monitor their child’s progress in their physical development, and where they are still struggling. Toys that get parents involved give parents the opportunity to interact and bond with their child in a creative and fun way.
  4. Flexibility: Look for toys that can be adjusted to fit the child’s needs. Can you swap small parts for bigger ones, or add foam to soften sharp corners, for example?
  5. Avoid Screens: It’s easy to get a child a video game or a tablet, but by doing so, you’re limiting their opportunity to move their bodies and expand their minds through creative play.
  6. Try Books: Reading helps foster learning and creativity. The AAP recommends reading to children every day.

And don’t forget that a pediatric physical therapist can be a good resource for toy ideas. They could even make recommendations that meet your child’s unique needs.

4 Toys Approved by Our Pediatric Physical Therapists

No time to ask a physical therapist? Not to worry. We asked our pediatric PTs for you, and came up with four toys that are great for building strength, agility, and flexibility, but are still safe for kids with physical limitations.

1. Covelico Exercise Dice for Kids

Current Amazon Rating: 4.6 Stars

This set of three, soft, 12-sided dice are a great way to get kids moving. Children can roll the dice to get an animal to mimic, an activity to perform, and the number of times they should perform it.

The dice come with a cloth sack for easy travel and storage. Use them on a rainy day or take them with you when you’re on the go.

Activities on the dice, such as running, marching, and walking like a duck, encourage movement and help children practice motor skills.

2. Homotte Wooden Yoga Dice Set for Kids

Current Amazon Rating: 4 stars

Similar to the exercise dice, this set allows kids to create unique yoga routines. Yoga helps children improve their strength and flexibility, and it can even help them manage anxiety and stress.

This set of five posture dice and one time die lets kids create their own unique yoga routines. It also includes an instruction card and 12 yoga cards.

The wooden dice are large and easy to handle, and come in a wooden carrying case for easy storage and transport.

3. Shape28 Stepping Stones for Kids

Current Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

This 11-piece set includes  one extra large, two large, four medium, and four small stones made of durable plastic. The “stones” vary in height and steepness, allowing children to work on balance, leg strength, depth perception, and agility.

Move the steps around in any pattern to create an obstacle course, or simply build out paths for kids to follow. The steps can also be incorporated into games such as Follow the Leader or The Floor is Lava.

4. Yes4All Hedgehog Balance Pods

Current Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars

These inflatable pods help children develop balance, coordination, and leg strength. Set them on the floor like stepping stones or use them for at-home PT exercises.

The set includes six PVC inflatable pods in varying colors and textures, as well as a small air pump.

You know your child better than anyone. You know how they like to play, where they excel, where they struggle, and what motivates them. Look for gifts that will bring out the best in your child, and help them build their confidence. Have questions? Our Physical Therapy team is available to meet with you and your child to recommend specific activities that will build strength and support development.