The holidays are speeding towards us and we are on a tight budget. Like many families with kids that have special needs, we have added financial demands such as orthotics, endless co-pays, therapies, and special formulas. I want Charlie to have a great Christmas but need to budget when the opportunity presents itself.
By scouring the web, I’ve discovered that I can save money on stocking stuffers while giving Charlie things she will enjoy playing with. These are the ideas that I’m using for Charlie’s stocking stuffers.
NOTE: Please keep in mind that item size is an important consideration in order to prevent choking hazards. Always supervise children appropriately.
1) Pipe Cleaners These are great because they serve many purposes. The odd texture can be used in sensory play. To work on fine motor skills, she can bend the pipe cleaners to create shapes or put them in a container.
2) Giant Buttons Due to Charlie’s petite size, her hands are often too small for “typical” toys. She enjoys playing with things that fit her tiny hands. She can place the buttons in containers, dump them out, sort them, or whatever ideas she comes up with.
3) Cups I plan on browsing the shelves of the local dollar store for cheap plastic cups. Charlie likes to bang cups together, fill and dump them, nest them, stack them, and use them in water play. It is an added bonus if I can find cups with removable lids. Cut holes in the lids create more of a challenge for Charlie when she puts things in the cups.
4) Craft Pom Poms This is another idea that is great for sensory play. Again, the possibilities for play are endless.
5) Squeaky Animals and Ninja Ducks Charlie loves her small rubber squeaky toys and ninja ducks. She will be receiving more of these.
6) Bag of Feathers These provide more sensory play and exploration opportunities.
7) Magnetic Alphabet Letters Charlie plays with the refrigerator magnets almost obsessively. This is an extension of that idea. In addition, Charlie’s dad has a magnetic write on/wipe off board in his office that will compliment this gift nicely.
8) Shakers Charlie loves the maracas at music therapy. This idea was drawn from that.
9) Pieces of Textured Fabric I’ve raided the scraps bin at the local fabric store. I’ve cut the scraps into equal size squares. I’m sewing together the corduroy, felt, taffeta, calico, velvet, fleece, etc to make a “book” of fabrics. Despite her tactile defensiveness, she is curious about different textures. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to spay the pieces to add scent.
10) Giant Beads Like most things on this list, these have many uses. She can work on fine motor skills by threading pipe cleaner through the beads. She can sort, learn to count (eventually), or make a shaker with the beads.