Christmas Gift Ideas
For Kids

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These Christmas gift ideas for kids will help you choose gifts that can help build your child's skills!

I have rounded up a bunch of gift ideas to help kids who need some motivation to work on the underlying foundations for school skills. The idea is to get them having so much fun with you and the gift, that they won't even realise you are helping them work on their skills!

Where possible, I have added details to explain why each gift is helpful, and also linked to pages on my site where you can get more information about that skill.

For your convenience, I have linked to the suggested Christmas gift ideas on Amazon or PFOT. These are my affiliate links, which means I get paid a small commission if you purchase something through my links. However, you are under no obligation to purchase anything.

Please read product reviews and keep your child's age and abilities in mind before making any purchases - my links are merely suggestions to inspire you, based on products I have personally used.

If you decide to purchase through Pocket Full of Therapy (PFOT), you can use the coupon code OTmom to get 15% off your order of $35 or more.


Fine Motor Christmas Gift Ideas For Kids

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Playdough

Whip up a batch of homemade playdough - it is easier than you think and lasts for ages! It also gives a nice big ball of dough that can be shared between a family of kids.

Homemade playdough makes a great gift! View my recipe here...

Kids will be working on fine motor skills and coordination skills while having fun with the playdough. Read more about the benefits of playdough here.

If you want to motivate them a bit more, try getting one of these playdough sets to use as well.


Modarri Cars

If you have car-mad kids age 6 and up, then Modarri cars can actually be a great way to get some fine motor practice into their lives!

I have written a whole page about the benefits of Modarri cars over here, but in summary, your kids' hands get lots of fine motor practice taking the screws on and off in order to change the look of the car. My own kids can spend hours fiddling with their set of Modarri cars!

Innovative finger steering means you can use the car on a track and work on visual-motor skills as well!


Wipe Clean Tracing Books

If your child needs to work on visual-motor integration skills as a precursor for handwriting, then these wipe-clean books may be a great Christmas gift idea..

Suitable for younger kids who need practice with patterns and shapes, this is one of my favorites for the odd occasion when I do a desk top VMI activity. (I prefer working on visual-motor skills using larger activities, as I describe on this page)

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Gross Motor And Coordination Skills Gift Ideas

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Zoom Ball

My own kids loved playing with a zoom ball - it is a great toy for bilateral coordination skills. It also helps to strengthen the upper body, particularly arm and shoulder muscles.

Some kids don't enjoy the thud of the ball hitting the handles - in that case, consider PFOT's zoom ball, which has a soft sponge attached - or attach your own!

Once your kids have mastered opening and closing the handles horizontally, you can challenge them to open and close their handles vertically, like a crocodile.


Swing Ball

On my site, I suggest making a ball in a net, which can be a great homemade gift for a child who struggles with coordination skills.

But if you want a more durable resource, then consider investing in a Swing Ball. Your child will be working on hand-eye coordination in order to connect the bat with the ball. And best of all, the ball does not roll away!

A younger child with poorer skills can practice hitting the ball on their own, whereas an older child can play with a friendly adult, to increase the challenge with a faster ball.


Mini Trampoline

Ok, this is a big ticket item, but if you manage to get one second hand, then you can get a lot of benefits for a small payout.

Jumping on a trampoline gives kids a lot of sensory input through the vestibular system in their inner ears as well as the proprioceptive system of their muscles and joints.

All this sensory input can be extremely helpful to calm a hyped up child or help a sluggish child to get going. It also makes a terrific break from desk top activities to help kids get focused again, which makes it a must for homeschool moms!

I also use trampolines a lot to work on core strength and stability - I cover these exercises in my Core Exercises e-book.


Gross Motor Gift Ideas from PFOT

Pocket Full of Therapy have products that make great Christmas gift ideas for kids gross motor development.

They kindly let me compile a few on a special page of their site. Pop on over and view them now!

Use the coupon code OTmom to get 15% off your order of $35 or more .

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Gifts To Help Visual and Spatial Perception Skills

Do check out the gift ideas under the next section as well, as some of the planning and organising Christmas gift ideas for kids can also help visual perception and spatial perception skills!

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Kaleidograph

If you are looking for a gift for an older child (say age 8 and older) who needs some help with visual perception, visual discrimination and planning skills, then consider Kaleidograph!

This is an activity for a child to use on his/her own. Pick a design on the challenge sheet and then replicate it using the Kaleidograph cards.

I review Kaleidograph on my site, and also offer some ideas to help make it easier for kids who may struggle with it. So please do check out my tips!

As an aside, my kids often picked this activity to use on road trips and vacations, it is a lovely, relaxing activity for kids!


Seek and Find Books

Seek and Find books can help your child develop figure-ground perception, visual scanning and visual discrimination skills.

They may also help your child learn to focus on a task at hand.

When looking for a suitable Seek and Find book, younger kids who are not literate may prefer a book that has a visual representation of what they need to look for (so they can use the book on their own).

The Seek and Find type books which simply list the objects to be found are better suited to older children who can read on their own, or for an adult to do with a younger child. (Eg the I Spy range)

Have fun, these books are a great challenge for all ages, and the pictures are usually very entertaining!


Spot It!

Spot It! is a fast paced, fun (and somewhat noisy!) game that uses visual discrimination and figure-ground perception skills.

Like the Seek and Find books, they help a child learn how to pay attention to small details,  which may help kids who are learning to read.

For younger children, or those with poor visual perception skills, use the Spot It cards during some one-on-one time, taking the time to name the objects and identify the matching object on each card.

Older children or those who are more confident with visual perception skills, enjoy the more fast paced game options.

Read my visual perception pages for more information on these skills!


Memory Games / Concentration

Memory Games are a classic gift idea for kids, and they are games that the whole family can enjoy. These games can help develop your child's visual memory skills, which can help with reading and spelling.

There are many different themes available, so it is easy to choose one that will interest your child! Kids often do surprisingly better than adults at these games, because we adults often have too many other things on our minds!

Make the game more challenging by using more cards. I usually start off with about 1/3 of the pack until I see how well the child does and then I increase the number of pairs from there.

For ideas on how to work on visual sequential memory with the same cards, check out this page of my site.


Galt Puzzle Sets

When my kids were learning to build puzzles, their absolute favorites were themed sets of 4 graded puzzles, very similar to these.

Galt make lovely puzzles, and these sets are just right for kids learning to do puzzles.

The farm and vehicle sets contain 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-piece puzzles.

The fairies and dinosaurs sets contain 12-, 16-, 20- and 24-piece puzzles.

For tips and ideas to help kids learn to do puzzles, check out these pages of my site:


Visual and Spatial Products at PFOT

Pocket Full of Therapy have a range of products that make great Christmas gift ideas for kids' spatial and visual perception skills.

They kindly let me compile a few on a special page of their site. Pop on over and view them now!

Use the coupon code OTmom to get 15% off your order of $35 or more .

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Gifts To Help Planning and Organization Skills

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Baking Kits

I extol the benefits of baking on my site, and I really believe that spending time in the kitchen can help your child in so many ways.

In addition to some fine motor and coordination skills, your child will be using planning and organisation skills to follow a recipe, measure ingredients and clean up.

A baking kit can be a great way to get a child started in the kitchen - but be sure to make time in your schedule to help him/her make use of it!


ThinkFun Toys

ThinkFun toys make awesome Christmas gift ideas for kids!

I absolutely love the STEM concepts behind ThinkFun and have bought my kids quite a few of their toys over the years.

Rush Hour and Gravity Maze are two of their favourites and have really helped build their planning, reasoning and spatial logic skills.

These toys are designed for the child to play individually (read - lots of quiet hours for the parents!) and the challenge cards range from easy to difficult. My hubby also enjoyed completing the challenges with my kids watching!

Each challenge card requires the child to solve the problem (get the car out of the traffic jam or the marble through the maze). The answers are provided on the back of each card.


Time Timer

Ok, so this is actually a gift for Mom! Our Time Timer has kept me sane as a homeschool mom of kids who have some special needs, and I highly recommend it!

Most kids benefit from being able to see exactly how much time is left to complete the task at hand - the Time Timer shows this in a great visual way.

But kids who have challenges with time management, staying on task, organising themselves and planning may especially benefit from having one of these around!

One of my kids really struggles to organise herself, her time and her space. In her younger years, the Time Timer helped her to see that "5 minutes until we leave" was a really short time, whereas a "45 minute lunch break" would be enough time to play as well as eat.

Now, during her formal schooling years, she sets the Time Timer herself to show the allocated time for tasks (eg 30 minutes for Math) and then sets it again to give herself a 5 minute exercise break.

I'm not kidding when I say I feel panicky when I can't find our Time Timer LOL! It has really made a huge difference to our day!


Board Games With Strategy

Kids who struggle with planning and organisation skills can really benefit from playing old fashioned board games that require strategic thinking and reasoning.

These games are particularly helpful as Christmas gift ideas for kids who are a bit older (age 10+ and teens).

Ticket to Ride and Catan were added to my family's game cupboard in recent years and have been thoroughly enjoyed by all my kids as well as adults! Nothing beats a family game - in my house, they even trump MInecraft (and that's saying something!).

However, if your child has trouble with planning and strategic thinking, there are some things to keep in mind:

1) Once your child has played the game a few times and has the hang of how it works, take time to explain how to think strategically.

 - In Ticket to Ride, that may mean showing how to choose the best route options that overlap each other, and building your most contested routes first.

- In Catan, this may mean showing how to choose the best place to build settlements, and how to maximise the trading cards you get.

2) Losing all the time isn't fun, so where possible, give opportunities for your "planning-challenged" child to play against younger kids (where they have some advantage) or against kind adults who will gracefully lose on occasion!

3) Have a word with your more competitive, strategically minded kids, to informally encourage their sibling and give tips during the game. It is great when our kids are "big enough" to help others on their way.


Uno - a classic Christmas gift idea for kids!

Uno has been around for years, and it is well worth getting a pack if you don't already have it!

While it is a great family game for all ages, you may be surprised to realise that it helps younger kids to develop some basic strategic thinking and reasoning skills.

Not only do they need to learn to identify numbers and colors as they play, but they also learn whether to match the color or the number, according to the cards they have available to play.

They also have to learn how and when to play the special action cards in order to maximise their chances of winning.


LEGO (and other construction toys)

LEGO sets are perennially popular Christmas gift ideas for kids, and I include them here because LEGO really does help develop kids' skills.

LEGO (and other construction toys) are great Christmas gift ideas for kids, because they help your child learn to follow instructions, work methodically, problem solve when things don't work/fit, and develop spatial reasoning skills. And kids can be creative with them, too!

So here's the thing - if your child is one who just likes to build by the rules, and only makes what is in the instruction manual, then take some time to create something "new" together, to unleash some creativity.

And if your child tends to randomly just play and make their own creations, they may be doing so because they struggle to follow instructions and work methodically. So take some time to help them build the model according to the instructions.

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It isn't always easy to come up with Christmas gift ideas for kids, but I hope this compilation of gift ideas with a purpose has helped a bit!

Thanks for visiting!


› Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

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