Got a special someone on your list? A burning desire to play St. Nick? Looking to share some holiday spirit? Then take a peek at the following gift ideas meant to inspire fun.
Fun on wheels
Multidirectional Scooter Board drives like a power wheelchair, with four switches on a special joystick. The scooter features adjustable speed control and rechargeable battery, and has a weight-bearing capacity of up to 100 pounds. Accommodates most seating systems. $1,200. Enabling Devices.
Remote Control Racer lets kids operate a single large button to “drive” to places they might not otherwise be able to go. $18. Target.
Ride & Relax Wagon features three seating options: flat bed, seats with seatbelt and bench seat. Its large interior space includes a covered storage area that doubles as a cooler. $110. Little Tikes.
30th Anniversary Cozy Coupe offers a removable floorboard and cut-in parent guidance handle that enables children with mobility problems to ride. Other features include a safety latch for the door, high seatback and cup holders. $50. Little Tikes.
Games and sports
Hungry Hippo — who can argue with marble-munching hippos? This version of the classic kid favorite features two hippos adapted with paddles for easy activation. $110. Enabling Devices.
High Roller makes for easy rolling in games that use dice. Add the desired number of dice, then close the top using the hook-and-loop (Velcro) fastener. To “roll,” push on the outer edge of the roller or add a capability switch. Two sets of dice (one white, one black) are included. $53. Enabling Devices.
Rib-It-Ball is a lightweight ball, available in various sizes, that features ribs to help children grasp, throw and easily retrieve it. $21-$40. PlayAbility Toys.
Shapes and sorts
Giant Knob Shape Puzzle has easy-to-grab pieces in six shapes and colors. $35. Enabling Devices.
Busy Gear connects to your child’s capability switch so she can make her own patterns, play music and see a light show. Interchangeable gears let kids create their own designs. $54. Enabling Devices.
Seek-N-Find allows children to push a capability switch to activate a rotating cylinder and search for items such as stars and dice. Items can be added or removed through a cylinder door. $100. Enabling Devices.
Drop-in-a-Bucket’s low profile design makes it easier for kids to drop objects through the slots. Features include multicolored lights and interchangeable grids. $130. Enabling Devices.
Tool Activity Bench provides a sturdy surface and lightweight, child friendly tools for turning easy-to-connect boards into helicopters, motorcycles and tow trucks. $100. Sensational Beginnings.
Savannah Dollhouse features a Southern mansion with ample room to rearrange and decorate. Comes with 13 pieces of furniture. $160. Sensational Beginnings.
Leah Dollhouse boasts an open design with easy access to the interior. Fourteen pieces of furniture provide plenty of decorating material, and a working elevator transports dolls “with muscle weakness” between the first and second floors. $140. Sensational Beginnings.
Black Pearl Pirate Ship: Sailing the high seas has never been easier. The ship moves forward, back and sideways via a 5-inch controller; the red “cannon” switch generates cannon sounds. $117. Enabling Devices.
Color Bug: Children use a switch to make remote control “bug track” art. Comes with four markers. $90. Enabling Devices.
Etch A Sketch has modified its classic design with four built-in switches, allowing drawing in any direction. Shake to erase and begin again. Four external jacks are provided for capability switches. $189. Enabling Devices.
Sit & Doodle Turtle Desk lets kids sit and draw to their hearts’ content. The easel lies flat on the seat for transport or storage, and flips up when in use. Under the seat is a storage compartment for art supplies. $40. The Step2 Company.
For the young at heart
Wheelchair Light Kits not only trick out your ride, but enhance safety as well. Add different-colored light strips to armrests and frame. Try the multiple flash and fade function, “million-color” option, remote control, and rock out with music reactive settings. Prices start at $215 and vary depending on the package. WheelchairFX.
Shade Wagon simplifies picnicking or Saturday soccer games. This sturdy wagon holds up to 800 pounds. Features include pneumatic all-terrain tires, a heavy-duty vented beach umbrella, speakers for an MP3 player, center console with cup holders and a drop-down table surface. $549. Add a Beach Buggy Undercarriage and Wheels for $145. Shade Wagon.
Flagship Scooter offers canopy enclosure, removable locking doors, lighting system, full front and rear suspension, and windshield wiper washer system. Weight-bearing capacity is 350 pounds. Base price: $8,995. Shoprider.
Don’t forget ....
Button Click Switch requires minimal pressure to activate. $32. Pair up two or four Button Click Switches to form In-Line Switches for devices that require two or more. Prices start at $67. The adjustable pressure Saucer Switch works well for those with limited hand or wrist movement. $64. Enabling Devices.
Chill-Out Chair features memory foam for pressure relief, casters, liquid- and stain-resistant slip cover, liquid-resistant liner with heat-sealed seams and ottoman. Additional options are available for purchase, including assistive accessories, covers and positioning aids. Prices begin at $785. Freedom Concepts.
Happy (fun!) holidays from Quest and MDA!
For contact information for the manufacturers listed, see InfoQuest.
The nonprofit National Lekotek Center specializes in promoting play opportunities for children with special needs.
The AblePlay section on its Web site allows visitors to search for toys by categories such as disability, type of product, age range or manufacturer. To learn more, go to www.lekotek.org, or call the toy resource hotline, (800) 366–PLAY.
As always, be sure to check out the annual Toys“R”Us toy guide for a wide variety of toy options for kids with physical and cognitive disabilities. Your local MDA office has a 2009 Guide available; call (800) 572-1717. The Guide also is available online and in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores.
Call (800) TOYSRUS, or visit www.toysrus.com and click on the Differently Abled category.
Ooga! lets players hunt dinosaur and coconut tiles with suction-cup spears in order to provide food for their “tribes.” The player who collects the most menu cards becomes the Supreme Tribal Chief and wins the game. $27. SimplyFun.
Super Size Bowling Set Six sturdy, inflatable pins and an oversized cloth-covered bowling ball make it easy to roll, kick or throw the ball. $30. Or, for something requiring a little more finesse, try the Super Size Croquet Set. Design your own course, then kick or push the lightweight cloth-covered ball through the wickets and stakes. $30. Both from Sensational Beginnings.
Lil’ Movers Airplane and Lil’ Movers School Bus from Fisher-Price invite kids to put their imaginations in gear. Open-top designs make access easier, and lights, sounds, talking and a sing-along song add to the fun. $20 each. Toys“R”Us.
My Art Show gives young artists a place to showcase their work with six colorful, interchangeable picture frames that fasten with Velcro. $30. Sensational Beginnings.
Crayola Glow Station lets kids create artwork with light. Kids draw freehand or with stencils by touching the light wand to the glow canvas. Luminous images result, then slowly fade away to provide a fresh, blank slate. $30. Glow Station on the Go provides portability with a glow tablet and carry case. One light wand, one stencil sheet and one light texture sheet are included. $10. Toys“R”Us.
My Many Colored Days Kit includes the book by Dr. Seuss, a music CD and 10 colored scarves for kids to color their world. $30. arts education Ideas.
Glow-in-the-Dark Play Foam is a super-lightweight, easy-to-manipulate, reusable sculpting foam that never dries out or separates. $20. Creativity for Kids.