Holiday gift ideas for children with special needs

Kids are more eager than ever to open presents this holiday season.

Parents may not always know what to buy for their kids, but a gift that is both fun and healthy is on everyone’s wish-list.

“Toys are a great opportunity for parents and caregivers to sneak in opportunities for kids to develop new skills and reach new milestones” Adrienne O’Hara, a toy expert for Toys R Us, told

Toys are a great way to teach small children how to share with others, solve problems and build muscle control. However, finding these “playful presents” can be especially challenging for children with special needs.

Jen Barnable’s 6-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, has cerebral palsy – so finding the right gift that keeps her interest is key.  Mackenzie is particularly fond of her Toys R Us shopping cart, which helps her with her motor skills in a fun-filled way.

“She gets her therapy and her play at the same time” said Mrs. Barnable “so she's learning her fine motor, she's learning her gross motor, she's learning speech and communication while playing with the toys.”

To help parents this holiday season, Toys R Us published the Toy Guide For Differently-Abled Kids.

Fijit Friends

Fijit friends is a robot-like toy that sings, dances and listens to your child. O’Hara weighed in: “This toy is great for building auditory skills.  Not only does it talk to a child, but it will inquire and have them speak back.”

Angry Birds

The newest rendition of Angry Birds transforms the wildly popular app into a board game. “You're building tactile skills, fine motor skills. It's all about the hands and building, but it's also about critical thinking” O’Hara explained.


If your kids love playing with your tablet or smartphone, but you’re not sure if they can take on the real thing, try getting them the newest tablet created just for kids: Tabeo. Tabeo comes pre-loaded with 50 apps for learning and entertaining.


Released in 1996, Bop It! has been getting kids to twist and shout ever since. “This is a great item when you are building those fine motor skills,” O’Hara said. “This will encourage kids to listen along so you are building those language and auditory skills.”

To find more toys on your child’s wish-list check out Toys R