Unwrap the Holiday Fun


Jarrold Wester of Tucson, Ariz., gets a head start on holiday shopping. Our annual gift guide offers some ideas for recreational treats: from golfing to gardening to video games. Photo by Rick Peterson/2005
by Kathy Wechsler on November 1, 2005 - 9:24am

QUEST Vol. 12, No. 6

From power soccer balls and bowling ramps to video games and crocheting hoops, Quest offers accessible holiday gift ideas that are certain to make your reindeer games merry and filled with holiday cheer.

These products for sports and hobbies should come in handy, whether you’re filling in for Santa or adding to your holiday list.

Thera Collar
Thera Collar
Sports and Spokes magazine cover
Sports 'n Spokes
Accessible Golf book cover

Just keep in mind that prices quoted here are manufacturers’ recommendations. They don’t account for differences among local distributors or retailers, or reflect sales, discounts or other alternatives you may find with some smart shopping.


Give the gift of summer enjoyment with the Wheelchair Cooling Back or Cushion ($35) or the Thera Collar ($25). Keep your family and friends cool while playing or watching their favorite outdoor sports or activities with a huge line of Body Cooler and Body Warmer products ($9-$120). Body Cooler by Akemi, (800) 209-2665.

A subscription to Sports ‘n Spokes magazine makes a great gift for your beloved sports lover who uses a wheelchair. From fishing to snow skiing, each issue is packed full of information about sports and disabilities. 1-year subscription (6 issues) $21; 2-year subscription (12 issues) $38. PVA Publications, (888) 888-2201, ext. 19.


As golf becomes more popular, all of us want to get in the game. And now we can, even if our grips are weak. Thanks to the Powerglove, a golf glove with a powerstrap to lock the club into position while swinging to ensure a tight grip, we can now hit the links. Junior sizes ($10); men’s or women’s sizes ($17). Powerglove Associates, (800) 836-3760.

Accessible Golf  ($25) describes how to make the sport accessible, taking into account your specific needs. Developed by the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), this comprehensive book offers information about adapting equipment and designing your own accessible golf program. Published by Human Kinetics, (800) 747-4457.


Bowling ramp
Standard Bowling Ball Ramp

The Standard Bowling Ball Ramp ($138) is a freestanding ramp that’s placed in front of the lane. You give a slight push to roll the ball down toward the pins. Access to Recreation, (800) 634-4351.

Approved by the American Bowling Congress, the IKAN Bowler ($1,495) attaches to a wheelchair, allowing users to compete on the same playing field as able-bodied bowlers. Users will enjoy complete control of the ball’s speed, direction and release by maneuvering their wheelchairs. IKAN Sports Foundation, (866) 756-IKAN.

Fishing and hunting

Fishing apparatus
Fishing Pole Holder
Wrist support
Strong Arm

The Fishing Pole Holder ($30) clamps onto a wheelchair or lawn chair and is perfect for one-handed operation. Maddak, (973) 628-7600.

Made for people with limited grip, the Strong Arm ($36) is a versatile fishing rod holder that can be worn over or under most clothing. One size fits all. Elec-Tra-Mate Reels ($289) get rid of the hard work of cranking without compromising the fun, strategy and skill of catching the big one. Access to Recreation, (800) 634-4351.

Quickie cyclone
Quickie Cyclone

The Trigger Activator ($40) lets you fire a pistol or rifle by pulling the handle. It’s a simple crank that mounts inside the trigger guard. Access to Recreation.


Turn your wheelchair into a hand cycle with the Quickie Cyclone ($1,650). It attaches to and detaches from most chairs easily, making the Cyclone a smart gift for anyone with arm strength and a thirst for speed. Quickie Designs (Sunrise Medical), (800) 333-4000.

For children ages 3-6 who need some extra help with balance and stability, the Skoooch Hornet, a scooter/bicycle ($120), is buzzing with excitement and lets them keep up with the other busy bees. Marky Sparky Toys, (800) 781-8110.


Whether you’re shopping for a child or an adult, the PS-Force Power Soccer Ball ($100) is durable enough to be used by a team of power soccer athletes, yet affordable enough to kick around with friends in the backyard. The Soccer Guard with Hardware Kit ($130) protects footrests and offers control of the ball. Get a guard and a ball with the PS-Force Starter Kit ($200). Power Soccer Shop, (813) 842-1176.

Movies and music

Remote Control
Accenda remote
CD Player
Adapted CD player

With Netflix Online Rental Service, you can choose from over 50,000 film titles and have them mailed directly to your door. When you’re finished, just send the DVDs back — no late fees or due dates. Shipping is free both ways. Netflix offers four rental plans, the most popular being three movies at a time with unlimited monthly rentals ($18/month) and a two-week free trial. Netflix, (800) 585-8131.

The Accenda Voice-Activated Universal TV Remote Control ($75) allows you to control the TV, VCR, DVD, cable and satellite without having to press buttons — it responds to your voice commands. You can program the remote to turn the TV on or off, change channels or control volume. You can even program it to scan your favorite stations. Dynamic Living, (888) 940-0605.

You can operate the fully programmable Adapted CD Player ($90) with your own switch (not included). Just press “Play” to turn on and your switch will do the rest. Manufactured by Sensation Products and available through Abilitations, (800) 850-8603.

Arts and crafts

Little Art Roller Box

The Little Art Roller Box ($875) and the Chalk Walk and Roll Art Box ($710) include gear to attach to almost any wheelchair or walker. A push handle lets you roll out paint or draw with chalk on mural paper. Use the roller with any water-based, nontoxic, tempera-type paint. You can also buy items individually. Zot Artz For All, (877) 851-2103.

Make art accessible with the Magnetic Tabletop Easel, ($54) which has a chalkboard on one side and a magnetic dry-erase board on the other. The preassembled multicolored easel comes with four nonspill paint cups, four brushes, two easel clips and magnetic letters. Great for children 3 and older. Alex, (800) 666-ALEX.

Battery-operated scissors
Adapted Clay Maker

Now you can crochet or embroider with one hand using the Crocheting and Embroidering Holder ($84). It clamps onto a tabletop or your wheelchair frame. Maddak, (973) 628-7600.

Get rid of the hand pain that comes with art projects. Battery-Operated Scissors ($10) will cut paper with a slight squeeze of the handle. These scissors have a sharp vibrating blade that zips right through paper without tears. Dynamic Living, (888) 940-0605.

There are no limits with the Adapted Clay Maker ($48), the pottery wheel that works with your own capability switch (not included). You’ll get two pounds of clay, paint, paintbrush, sculpting tool and instructions. Manufactured by Sensation Products and available through Abilitations, (800) 850-8603.

Reading and writing

Touch Turner
Touch Turner

Give the gift of reading. The battery-operated Model C Touch Turner ($924) turns book and magazine pages, and can use a variety of switches. Touch Turner, (888) 811-1962.

The Adapt-a-Lap ($55) adjusts to the user. The portable book holder isn’t just for readers. Use it to hold your laptop computer, hobbies, paperwork or sheet music. Adapt-A-Lap, (800) 419-2354.


Watch the world go by with 20-80 x 25 Zoom Binoculars ($130). These lightweight binoculars have adjustable magnification and sharp resolution for outside activities. They include a neck strap and a protective leather travel pouch. Brookstone, (800) 846-3000.

Another way to hold binoculars is with the Wheelchair Mount ($175), which can be modified to fit any wheelchair. The unit includes a table that attaches to the chair, holding the mount to the side of the chair. You can also use this mount to hold your camera or telescope. T&T Binocular Mounts, (203) 469-2845.

Games and toys

Card shuffler
4-Deck Card Shuffler

Fan-Shaped Card Holders ($9) are perfect for those who have trouble holding individual cards. Also for the card shark, the battery-operated 4-Deck Card Shuffler ($25) shuffles up to four decks. What list is complete without the Revolving Card Tray ($2.49) to hold the decks in place? The Card Lovers Set ($30) includes two card holders, a four-deck shuffler and a card tray. Dynamic Living, (888) 940-0605.

Give them unlimited video game rentals for a flat subscription rate, and they can choose from over 3,000 titles of PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Game Boy Advance or Nintendo games. They can rent two games at a time, and no due dates or late fees apply with the standard 2-Game Plan ($37 for the first two months, $22/month thereafter). The games arrive at your door, and when you’re finished, send them back for two more, with free shipping. GameFly, (888) 986-6400.

Pool and beach

Beach Wheelchair
Turtle kite

The Body Float ($129) is a terrific gift for people who need extra support in the water. Horizontal supports keep much of the body submerged and help build the confidence of swimmers with disabilities. TFH Products, (800) 467-6222.

With CADKAT kits ($499), any wheelchair can be turned into a beach chair with quick-release or bolt-on balloon tires that have no problems with saltwater. An ideal gift for the beachcomber. Playaboule, (888) 225-2865.

Watch the Diamond Turtle kite ($21) or any of dozens of other imaginative designs brighten the sky with their bold geometric patterns and stained glass appearance. Fun for all age groups. Let’s Fly A Kite, (866) 949-4909.

Yoga and dance

Third in the Yoga for the Young at Heart Basic Series with Susan Winter Ward, "Every Day Yoga for Every Body" ($20 for DVD or VHS) offers a user-friendly and unintimidating accessible program that’s adaptable to any level of ability. Yoga for the Young at Heart, (800) 558-YOGA.

Learn the art of social dancing from a wheelchair with "Introduction to Wheelchair Dancing." For the more advanced wheelchair dancer, try "Two Step" and "Waltz" ($39 for VHS). Adaptive Dancing, (720) 870-3065.

House and garden

Flour sifter
Garden tools
Garden scooter
Butterfly Garden

With the Pot and Pan Holder ($12), your pots and pans will stay in place so you can stir with only one hand. The widespread suction-cup base creates greater stability. Maddak, (973) 628-7600.

Bake dozens of homemade cookies the easy way with the Villaware Cordless Power Cookie Press ($50). This rechargeable cookie press has a strong yet quiet motor and doesn’t require the hand strength of a traditional hand-crank cookie gun. The Stir Chef ($24) is a hands-free saucepan stirrer that includes three interchangeable stirring paddles. And sifting is simple with the lightweight Battery-Operated Sifter ($15). Dynamic Living, (888) 940-0605.

Ergonomically designed to prevent hand strain, the Easi-Grip Garden Tools ($28) have heavy-duty plastic grips that make gardening fun and easy for all. Fork and trowel are sold separately. The Long Reach Fist-Grip Tools ($70) are specifically designed for gardeners who sit. Available in cultivator, fork, hoe or trowel (sold separately). The Easi-Grip Arm Support ($21) attaches to any of these tools for added support. Parsons ADL, (800) 263-1281.

If you find it difficult to maneuver around your garden, the Wheeled Garden Scooter ($23) helps you stay comfortable. The plastic wheels allow you to roll through dirt, mud and even clay. Dynamic Living, (888) 940-0605.

The Butterfly Garden with Certificate ($24) is a fun learning kit for all ages. The kit includes a colorful pop-up habitat and a prepaid certificate for three to five butterfly larvae with feeding kit and instructions. Watch them turn into painted lady butterflies while you learn about metamorphosis, then release them into your backyard. The Garden Spider Web Frame ($12) attracts spiders to eat bugs that destroy your garden, and they’ll spin intricate webs for you to enjoy. Insect Lore, (800) 548-3284.


Chance here! After a long day at the office, my favorite way to unwind is to chew on my Rubber Kong ($4-$11). If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend putting it on your holiday list. The weird shape gives it an unpredictable bounce that’s fun to chase, and, if you really kiss up, your service person will load it full of peanut butter and Milk-Bones.

I also suggest the Nyla-bone Snack Bone Edibles (79 cents-$3.29). It’s the closest thing to snagging something yummy from the dinner table, and you won’t even get thrown outside. I love the lamb and rice, but you can choose from a variety of flavors. Add ‘em to your list. PETsMART, (888) 839-9638. (Oh, yeah, they have cat stuff, too.)

The Pet Cooling Mat ($32) is at the top of my holiday list. It’ll keep me cool in those hot Tucson summers. I’m begging for the 20-inch-by-30-inch size, but it comes in other sizes. You can’t eat it, but sleeping is right up there with eating. Body Cooler by Akemi, (800) 209-2665.

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