This is a great alternative to play dough because it is free of toxins and is food-grade (still avoid eating it, please). This company uses coconut oil and orange oil to help induce creativity while keeping kids safe from all the junk in the other stuff.
PLUS! The inventor is a member of our “Honestly ADHD Parent Support Group!” I can personally attest that this stuff is amazing!
2. Break Bag
This is an all-in-one gift for the kid who likes their quiet time. The stretchy “body wrap” lets kids stretch, push and pull against the fabric, and the other toys in the set help calm kids while they relax with the body wrap. On the pricier side, this is a great gift for families who are trying to find “on-the-go” tools and toys.
3. Bedtime Tent
If the child you’re finding gifts for has difficulty sleeping, a popup sleep tent is a great way to shut out extra light, noise, etc. Kids love the “tent feel” and they can still use it with their regular twin mattress and bedding.
Weighted blankets, vest, or even arm wraps are great ways to calm an anxious, agitated child. These cool weighted blankets have “fidget” features so kids can keep their hands busy while reading, during quiet time, etc.
This small mesh sleeve has a marble inside it. Kids can twist, push, roll, squish, bend and pretty much fidget however they want. Since it’s in a mesh sleeve, it doesn’t crinkle so it can be used at home or in the classroom to keep the hands busy.
These fun putty tins come with a variety of figurines and faces to help kids focus, channel energy, and just get their hands “dirty” (without the dirt part). This is a great activity for kids when they need to calm down, or can be a great sensory stress reliever when you remove the small toys.
High Energy Toys:
1. Fitness Trackers with Activities
There are a ton of fitness trackers for kids out there, including ones that have games/activities and daily reminders and alarms. Kids can track steps, have fun tracking their “workouts,” and even set timers or stopwatches while they play. If you want a smart watch-style tracker, The Kids Smart Tracker lets kids send texts and has GPS functions through a T-Mobile SIM card. If you want something that works with Verizon, the GizmoGadget by LG is great.
2. Virtual Reality Goggles
While most VR headsets are built for adults – and so are the games – there are a few fun ones that your kids may enjoy. The Google Cardboard VR Kit, for example, is just made of cardboard and uses an app on a smartphone to display virtual reality scenes and games. Bonus – it’s only $10! There are also a ton of virtual reality headsets out there, including:
Keep in mind that virtual reality sets like Playstation and Samsung are geared for ages 13+.
3. Video Games and Consoles
Don’t freak out on me yet – I mean games and consoles that involve the whole body. These are fun, family-friendly options that get everyone off the couch:
4. Hopper balls
These handle hoppers can be a huge lifesaver on days where you can’t get your kiddos outside to burn off some energy.
5. Bouncy House
If you’ve got the space for a bouncy house or castle, put one up in your basement. Your kiddo(s) will freak out and you’ll have a great place to send your kid when he has energy to burn. The one pictured above is one of the tallest options so you can accommodate most kids under 10. There are other, smaller options out there!
6. Teeter Popper (if they – or you – can stand the noise)
This is a little like a boogey board that kids can use inside on hard surfaces. They can sit, kneel, stand, and balance on the board that has little suction cups on the bottom. Not only do kids get to burn off some energy and focus on balance, but they can also be entertained by the noise. Some kids don’t like the noise (and some parents hate the noise), so keep that in mind.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with this term, you’re probably familiar with how your child always seems to need something to mess with. Whether it’s nervous energy or hands that just won’t sit still, “fidgets” help kids focus on something non-destructive that they can carry with them wherever they go. These make for great stocking stuffers.
This is great for kids to take to school or use at the dining table at home. It helps them move their legs without making distracting tapping or thumping noises.
5. Fidget Cubes
Of course, fidget spinners are all the rage this year but odds are your kid has a ton already. This fidget cube is a unique spin (ha) on this toy and offers a variety of “functions.” Small enough for most hands and pockets, this is a great handheld item that kids can keep in the car, in their backpacks, etc.
Who doesn’t love getting arts and craft stuff for the holidays? While you want to make sure that the products are high-quality, non-toxic, and hopefully non-staining, this is one area you can’t really go wrong.
1. Art supplies
- Mandala mosaic sets – help with fine motor skills and can be very relaxing
- Craft sets – kids can play with different textures and create without restrictions. I like anything by Kid Made Modern
- Non-toxic, washable finger paints – a fun way for kids of any age to make a (safe) mess with their hands. Eco-Kids makes a lot of great products
Add a roll of butcher paper, buy a ton of dry erase markers and chalk, and you’re set. This Melissa & Doug Easel adjusts as your kiddos age and grow taller. There are tons of great options that have a chalkboard on one side and a dry erase board on the other.
4. Music Sets (if you have a high patience level)
There are plenty of fun, tactile options for musical children. From a fun maraca set to an actual drum set, there are plenty of options. If you are buying for younger, highly sensory kids, the instrument set above is a great option.
5. “Build Your Own”
If you’ve got a kid who loves to build stuff, there are tons of Build Your Own options, from marble coasters, robotic arms, to Lego Architecture sets. These are great for school-aged kids period, but definitely encourage focus in kids with ADHD and can be used again and again.
Subscription boxes have become all the rage lately – and for good reason. There are so many great options on sites like CrateJoy for book lovers, science and architecture, coloring, scavenger hunts, and any type of craft you can imagine. Whether you buy a year upfront for your kiddo’s holiday gift or order a box every month as a reward, your kid will love receiving their box in the mail. A few boxes to look at:
1. Kiwi Crate
This company provides science and art projects monthly, with options for ages and preferences. This is a great way to engage curiosity and fine motor skills.
If you’ve got a science lover in the house, this is a great box to explore hypotheses and set up experiments in your house. This increases curiosity, focus, and helps cultivate self esteem.
Making sure the craft products kids play with are safe is super important. This company provides a new box of green crafts every month for very affordable prices.
Each month, this subscription company sends out an age/grade specific topic, along with reading materials and hands-on learning applications. Your kid can explore topics in depth while also being hands-on.
This is a great way to build up a ton of resources that help your child focus on calm throughout their day. While kids obviously want the bright, loud, and fun toys for the holidays, they will end up loving anything in this selection. Essentially, these gifts are ways to let your mind calm down through meditative activity
1. Mandala art
There are tons of intricate coloring activities like mandalas that can keep kids engaged for hours. The kit above is a mandala designer similar to spirographs.
2. Calming Bottles
“Calm Down Bottles” are bottles that you shake and watch the glitter settle. There are also sometimes small pieces to “hunt” for, which can be a great way to distract and calm a kid when they are having a rough minute or day. If you want, this could be a great DIY gift or a fun holiday craft to do with the kids. Here are a few links to tutorials: Ocean Wave Bottle, Nebula Jar, Calming Mason Jar.
3. Music players
Music is one of the fastest ways to change our moods, and giving kids the ability to put on great music when they need it is very powerful. There are tons of kid-friendly MP3 players out there (non iPod versions so you don’t have to worry about breaking them!). If you have younger kids (1-4 years old), there is the classic Fisher Price record player. You can also give your older child a subscription to Spotify or Pandora and download “Happy Playlists” to the family iPad or computer. Some of our favorites are:
Kid Friendly Dance Party
Tween Radio (8 years +)
Rockin’ Kids Radio (7 years +)
- Any music app:
Simply find music and “save” songs to your library. You can create your own playlists!
1. Hammock or swing
This could be a great place for your kid to take some time out to go calm down, as well as make a great place for quiet time or reading.
You could even get a bird-watching book or other animal scavenger hunt book to encourage outdoor place and exploration.
3. Scavenger hunt kits
You can build your own scavenger hunt kit or buy one like this GoFindIt kit. Not only does this help kids focus on the task at hand but it keeps them moving and enjoying the outdoors.
Reading is soothing for some ADHD kids and for others it’s not, so I’ve included a few audio options as well. These books are also assigned to general age groups, although each kid is different.
1. Amazon Kindle E-reader
The Kindle is great for young readers and even school-aged kids. Not only can they browse their books easily but there are really strong parent controls so you can make sure you know what your kids are downloading, viewing, etc. The Kindle Fire (with kid-proof case) is a great buy, and it also has games and video functions!
As a bonus, Amazon now offers Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Rapids. You can check out unlimited books on the KU list, and Rapids offers a highly interactive short story service, complete with tons of voices, characters and searchable indexes. You can choose story topics, length, reading level, etc.
6. The Magic Tree House series (ages 5+)
— These books get more difficult as the series goes on, start at the beginning if your child is younger —
This is a great year-round gift to give your child. You can buy “credits” so your kid can read 1, 2, or even 3 audiobooks a month and access them from a computer, their MP3 player, or a family device.
9. Cory Stories: A Kid’s Book About Living with ADHD (ages 8+)
Puzzles & Games
In this category, you’ll want to be mindful of your child’s age and ability to sit for long periods of time. Also keep in mind that some kids like a challenge while others are frustrated by complicated rules. All of the games recommended below increase hand-eye coordination, improve focus, and help kids think in complex ways.
1. Rubik’s Cubes (any age, but recommended 5+)
2. Bop-It (ages 8+)
(Fair warning, this one might annoy parents)
3. Find it Kids World Hidden Objects (ages 6+)
4. Perplexus 3D Maze (ages 5+)
What are your favorite holiday gifts? What do your kids like to see under the tree or in their stockings?