Recommendations from occupational therapist Junjing Fan with support from special education program leader Katie Philcox.

Finding gifts for children with additional needs can be difficult. Sensory toys focus on developing the senses while encouraging motor and language skills. They also have the added benefit of being really fun for children and adults! Remember, all children love to play and have fun, so this gift list is appropriate for children with and without identified difficulties or sensory issues.

Please note, ELG does not endorse any particular vendors, cannot guarantee the authenticity or quality of items linked, and does not receive any money in exchange for linking the below items. Our professionals purchase items from a variety of sources around the world; therefore, we have attempted to find local and international vendors for reference.

USD prices are estimates based on Amazon US. RMB prices are estimates based on Taobao.

VESTIBULAR: Receptors in our inner ear that detect and respond to movement of the head and body in space

Move & Groove Game Set (18 months+; 19.99 USD, 138 RMB)

Taobao (bilingual cards) | Amazon US (English only)

Ideal gift for the itty bitties – the movement seekers. This game set is perfect for family play and movement while encouraging young children to use and coordinate their body parts. It allows stress free learning and helps to promote strength, balance, and motor planning. Plus, it is super-duper fun for your kids to see you boogie/dance with them.

Gonge Top (Age 3+; 70 USD, 439 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

My nephew loves reading and lying inside it with blanket on or covered in bean bags. He also uses it for spins, balance or being upside down when he craves for intense vestibular input. Children can use this independently or have someone help spin and rock them.

Hanging Seat Hammock (Age 3+; 40 USD, 358 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

This is a must have! Hands down the most recommended swing to have for building a sensory room or adding to their fun-zone. Top recommended from the therapist team. For rest or swinging, your child (or you!) can enjoy feeling like you’re in rocking in a cocoon.

PROPRIOCEPTIVE: How we know where our body is in relationship to space (receptors in muscles and joints)

SANHO Dynamic Movement Sensory Sox (Age 3+; 30 USD, 273 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

This is a sensory paradise. It promotes self-soothing, enhances body and spatial awareness, and provides the proprioceptive feedback your child craves for. This works not only for the movers but also who lacks the deep touch pressure.

Crash Pad – Jumbo Foam Mat (Age 3+; 179 USD,1648 RMB)

Taobao  | Amazon US 

Perfect for a quiet corner or a soft spot for jumping and crash into! A crash pad, just like the sensory sox, provides a well-wrapped sensation that calms the parasympathetic nervous system. I see it as a great recharging station for everyone.

VISUAL

Find It (Age 3+; 19.95 USD, 48 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

‘Find It’ is one example of discovery bottles that should be your prime choice for visual development. There are a whole range of different themed bottles, or you can even create your own!

I SPY Bingo (Age 4+; 17.99 USD, 58 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

If you want to take visual processing to the next level, ‘I SPY Bingo’ is the ultimate visual, verbal, fine motor skills all in one game.

TACTILE

Tactile activities help with hand and finger awareness, attention, and fine motor planning.

Kinetic sand (Age 3+; 10 USD, 12.80 RMB)

Taobao | Amazon US

Kinetic sand keeps mess to a minimum while providing sensory input and a creative outlet! Get a big bin and start playing.

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