Friday, November 26, 2021

Great gifts for kids and teens with disabilities: A little list of toys and cool stuff

This year brings you a super-curated list of gifts that are great for children and teens with disabilities, recommended by kids, teens, therapists, Max and yours truly. Enjoy!

Sensory Pops

I mean, can you ever have enough pop-its? Nope. This one's quality-made, super-cute and oh-so-poppy.

Buddha Board: portable water painting with a brush

Awesome for children and adults of all ages. You just fill the brush cap with water then doodle on the 10" x 10" board; the drawings fade as the water dries.  


Whomp the ball against the net and it'll bounce satisfyingly high. It's meant for outdoors but we've used ours indoors. 

Playzone-Fit Balance Stepping Stones

Kids can practice gross-motor skills and coordination, with an adult lending a hand. They can walk from step to step, jump or just walk around them.  There's also an obstacle trail version

National Geographic Glowing Marble Run

Marble runs are always cool, but this one's glow in the dark. Kids with fine-motor skill challenges may need a hand putting pieces together and shining the included UV light on the marbles to get them to light up. Hack for dropping marbles down the tubes: Insert a little plastic funnel at the opening, so children who tend to grab a bunch of marbles at once can drop them in. 

Aromatherapy play dough by Land of Dough

I'm a big fan of this new play dough—it's all naturally made of natural colors, organic essential oils and eco-friendly glitter. It air dries for sculpting. 

Amazon gift card in a pop-up box

Max is getting a $50 gift card for the holidays, so he can choose his own darn present. He's also getting a gift card to his favorite restaurant.

SpinAgain Stacking Toy

A set of six discs that spin down a 16.5-inch-tall pole—inspiring for practicing fine-motor skills. It's sturdy and BPA-free.

Echo Dot Kids 

Encourages kids to use their words and make Alexa requests. For teens, there's always the sleek 4th generation Echo Dot.

Sensory Box subscription

Created for teens and adults, this subscription service delivers a monthly box of sensory items selected by an occupational therapist. Starting at $70 for a quarterly plan: four boxes a year, one per season.

Palm-grip crayons

Cuties like these are easier to grasp than standard skinny crayons. 

Large-grip magnifier and tweezers

Encourage exploring and pincer-grasping.

Personalized bathrobe

Grab a bathrobe—a solid soft kind for boys or for girls and for little kids, a unicorn one (my all-time fave!) or a dinosaur one. Pick up a patch that reflects your child's interests, then iron or sew it on. I got Max a Fire Department of Los Angeles patch, given his determination to move to L.A.

Mojelo 12-Pack Stretch String Fidgets

They stretch. They're rainbow colors. They're portable, so great for restaurants. Win, win, win!

Balance Balls from Mama May I 

Balance them, line them up, or just knock them down: these graspable balls are well made and engaging, from a company that hand-makes toys for play through sensory experiences. 

Deluxe Slime Kit Mix & Mash by Compound Kings

The slime trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, so if you can't beat 'em.... This kit comes with a nice variety of mix-ins.  

Design & Build Water Blocks by Lakeshore Learning

I love stuff from this company—it's consistently well made and engaging. These blocks stick to each other when wet, so it's easy for kids to build on them and practice fine-motor skills in the tub. I am also a fan of Blockaroo Magnetic Foam Building Blocks, which can also be used in the tub...and tossed into the dishwasher to clean! The Rocket Set, Speed Boat and Helicopter Set are more reasonably priced.

Sanuk Unisex Lil Puffer Mule

Adorbs slip-ons with rubber soles that can enable kids to independently slip them on. Available in Little Kid size (4 to 8 years old) and Big Kid size (8 to 12 years old).

And if you'd like to check out previous Love That Max gift guides...


  1. Ellen….
    I love, love, LOVE that Pop-Its made this year’s list!! I currently have two—and counting—a red-colored hexagon, {I paid one dollar for it}, and a tie-die circle!! I am wondering if I should get one in every possible shape? Hee, hee, hee…. ;-D
    Peace and Love, Mary Lou
    P.S. Have you ever played with a Pop-it while your eyes are closed? Well…. I have!! Something inclusive about Pop-Its is that blind people, {if that is an offensive word to use, I wholeheartedly apologize}, can play with Pop-Its, too!! How cool is that?! :)

  2. These are all great ideas and suggestions. We got the Sensory Pop recently and it’s a stuffing stocker waiting to get opened in a few weeks. :-) The marble run looks epic!


Thanks for sharing!

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