12 Christmas toys for children with special educational needs and disabilities

November 15, 2016 Published by

 

Buying a toy for a child with SEND can be tricky – it’s important not just to get something that’s accessible, but which is also fun and engaging.

To help inspire you, we’ve selected some products from the Good Toy Guide, where toys are tested with real kids and independently accredited by our experts. All of the toys on this list have achieved the highest Good Toy Guide award (recommended), so you can be confident that they are great quality products.

 


 

 Nutty Putty

Nutty Putty by Alphabet Pie

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 7 - 9 yrs

Price: £1.99 - £18.99

 

Nutty Putty is made from non-toxic, hygienic (anti-bacterial agent added) silicone (Fda and RoHS approved). It’s a lovely sensory material and great for encouraging creativity. Children can squidge and mould the putty as much as they like, and if they’d like to keep their creation, it can be popped in the oven to harden. 

 


 

 wildlife-collection-by-schelich

Wildlife Collection by Schleich

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 3 - 5 yrs

Price: from £2.99 rrp

 

These high quality, soft plastic animals are hugely versatile, so they’re perfect for encouraging sensory play. Environments can be created from sandpits, water troughs or anywhere in the garden. The variety of animals and detailed features means the Schleich collection will appeal to older children too.

 


 

 

 roll-and-play-by-coiledspring-games

Roll and Play by Coiledspring Games

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 2 - 6 yrs

Price: £15.00 rrp

 

This is a nice easy game where children roll the big plush cube, then follow the direction on the matching colour card (e.g. ‘ROAR like a lion’ or ‘Find something RED’). It’s a great way to get children trying all sorts of activities and can be played alone, or with other children to encourage social interaction.

 


 

Dancing-eggs

 

Dancing Eggs by HABA

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 5 - 8 yrs

Price: £15.99

 

This is a hilarious game for children to play together, which is great for encouraging social interaction, and is simple enough that it can be easily adapted to suit individual needs. Players race to complete a challenge, such as crowing like a cockerel, which wins them a rubber egg, that they then need hold onto (anywhere from under their chin to inside their armpit!) as the game continues.

 


 

 tomy-aquadoodle-super-colour-deluxe

Aquadoodle Super Colour Deluxe by Aquadoodle

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 18 mths - 2 yrs

Price: £18.99

 

The Aquadoodle Super Colour Deluxe is brilliant for mess-free creative play. The pens and stamps use ordinary tap water to create brightly coloured pictures on the magic mat so there is no mess, no stains and no worry. Children can also use the mat to practice their writing.

 


 

irish-fair-door 

Irish Fairy Door by Ackerman

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 4 - 6 yrs

Price:  £19.99 rrp

 

This little door is a gateway to a fantastical fairy world! Pop the door in place (e.g. against a tree trunk in the garden) then leave the key for the fairy to move in. Through the magical fairy bottle, children can send drawings and letters to their resident fairy (which parents can then collect), and this is such as lovely way for children to communicate worries they find difficult to talk about and feel like they have a secret friend to look out for them.

 


 

Good-Toy-Guide-petilou-sensory-shapes

Petilou Sensory Shapes by Le Toy Van

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 1 - 2 yrs

Price: £24.95 rrp

 

Each Petilou block has a different sensation to explore, from a jingling bell, to fluffy fabric. This is great for encouraging multisensory play and helps to engage children with SEND. Children can work on slotting the shapes into place, or stack them up and knock them over again and again.

 


 

Good-Toy-Guide-Sands-Alive-Castle-Set-John-Adams

Sands Alive by John Adams

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 4 - 6 yrs

Price: £29.99

 

This super soft modelling sand is an ideal sensory material, and can be squished and moulded over and over again (no water needed). Children will love the feel of the sand and can get creative making patterns in the sand or building all sorts of shapes. Sands Alive is mess-free, non-toxic, and doesn’t stain or dry up.

 


 

rainbow-piano-mat

Giant Piano Mat by Rainbow Colours

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 4 - 6 yrs

Price: £29.99

 

The Rainbow Colours Piano Mat has 24 large touch sensitive keys, which can be touched or stepped on to create all sorts of sounds and tunes. This cause and effect is great for engaging children with SEND. The piano mat is perfect for children with poor fine motor control, and encourages musical self-expression and creativity.

 


 

smartMax

Mega Ball Run by SmartMax

Recommended by Good Toy Guide

Age: 3 - 5 yrs

Price: £79.99

 

These large magnetic pieces are easy to handle, put together and take apart. They also hold together well so can’t be easily knocked over, which can be frustrating for children with poor motor control. This set includes tubes and slides so children can create working ball tracks, which are great fun to interact with.


 

special-needs-strider

 

Strider Balance Bike by Strider

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 6 - 9 yrs

Price: £165

 

The Strider Sport balance bike has no pedals, so it’s perfect for children who have difficulty with coordination. It can build children’s confidence in riding a bike and is great exercise too. We love that the Strider bike looks grown up, so children can feel just like ‘any other child’. It’s available in 12” (for pre-schoolers), 16” (six to nine years) and 20” for teens and adults.

 


 

 

 Playmobil 123 Take along ship Recommended by Good Toy guide Playmobil Forklift 123 recommended by good toy guide 

Playmobil 123 Large African Safari set Recommended by Good Toy Guide 

 

The Playmobil 1.2.3 Range

Recommended by the Good Toy Guide

Age: 18 mths - 3 yrs

Price: from £8.99

 

This range is a brilliant alternative to classic Playmobil – still durable and ideal for open-ended imaginative play, but without the small pieces. Designed for young children, these sets are easier to use for children with limited hand control. There are lots of play sets to choose from, including My Take Along Ship, the Forklift, and an African Safari set.


 

This list is intended as a guide but remember that every child is unique, so it is important to think about the likes and dislikes of the child you are buying for. For more great gift ideas, visit the Good Toy Guide.

 

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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