Boy smiling banner

Gift Guide

Ideas and suggestions

At Easterseals, we are frequently asked to provide gift ideas for a child or young adult, so we have created this list of suggestions.

Tips for those struggling to select a gift
Many times, people are more alike than different. We may communicate differently and learn differently, but inside we all have likes, dislikes, and wishes. So whatever is hot and trendy is likely to be a hit. If your gift recipient is someone you spend a lot of time with, observe their preferences and take them into consideration when selecting a gift. For someone you spend less time with, consider the following:

  • What is their favorite color?
  • Does s/he have a favorite TV or movie character? A favorite book?
  • Does s/he like to color inside the lines or spread paint across the paper?
  • Does s/he like soft and squishy or smooth and glossy?

According to one mom, “When my sister asked what she should get my son for his birthday, I started thinking this might be a chore for her. I had to consider how much she might want to spend and where she shops. It was awkward and stressful for both of us. But when she said, ‘tell me what TV shows he likes, his favorite games, his favorite book,’ then suddenly I was just talking about my wonderful son and she figured out the perfect gift herself.” Don’t be afraid to do a little investigation and ask the individual or parents these types of questions.

Finally, do be overly concerned about the age ranges or gender a toy suggests. There is nothing age-inappropriate about liking things. If a teen or adult likes character toys geared toward younger kids, accept it. There is so much to be learned and gained through the process of playing, that we encourage everyone to embrace the things they like.

Can’t decide? Need something unique?
Consider purchasing tickets or gift cards for community experiences (movie tickets, minor league sports games, family fun centers, trampoline parks, local tourism sites, restaurant gift cards, museum passes, classes at a local art center, etc.). The opportunity to share an experience with a friend or family member while getting out into the community makes a great gift.

General Suggestions
Books – print or audio
DVDs (recent animated and young adult films)
Video games
Lego kits
Building blocks
Shape sorters
Sticker books
Color Wonder coloring books with pens
Almanacs or trivia books

For Teens
Amazon Echo Dot
Lava lamp
Bubble lamps
Speakers with Bluetooth
Fun nightlights
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
Subscription to Netflix
Beading kits
Art supplies
Board games

Our picks: board games/family games
Honeycomb tile matching game (age 6 to adult) – popular with all ages, easy to learn and a lot of fun to play.

Yeti in My Spaghetti (age 4 and up) – popular among preschool and school age kids.

Thumbs Up (all ages) – can be adapted for all ages; it sounds simple, but it is more challenging than you would expect and tons of fun.

Spot It (age 7 to adult) – very popular in our programs; children and adults can play against each other with the kids likely to win; comes in a variety of themes.

Tenzi (age 7 to adult) – there are a lot of variations on how to play from beginner to advanced.

PicWits (age 5 to adult) – fun for the whole family; match one of the photo cards in your hand to the phrase on the judge’s caption card; the best fit wins.

Apples to Apples (age 12 to adult) – popular because there is no “right” answer, just funny pairings.

Jenga (age 6 to adult) - it’s a classic for a reason; play by the rules, make up your own, play solo by beating your highest tower.

Noodle Knockout (age 4-6) - solo or group play; great for working on improving fine motor, grasping, visual motor and visual perceptual skills.

Our picks: arts & crafts
Arts & Crafts Supply Kit (ages 8 and up) - over 1,000 pieces of supplies featuring everything from felt, fuzzy sticks and pom poms to glue, scissors and beads.

Art set (ages 8 to adult) – portable case with colored pencils, oil pastels, markers, watercolors, paint brushes and sketch pad.

Toddler craft kit (ages 3 and older) – we like this kit because the supplies are organized into projects that are entertaining and educational.

Rock painting kit (ages 5 and older) – very popular activity at our summer camps.

Dot painting kit (ages 2 and older) – super easy and interesting activity for kids.

Sticker by number books (age 5 to adult) – create art or pictures matching colored stickers to the number on the page (it’s like paint by number but with stickers).

Wikki Stix – everyone seems to love creating with these; we’re providing a link to a pack of the sticks, but you can also search for activity kits.

Our picks: sensory toys
Heat sensitive sensory putty (age 3 to adult) – changes color as you play with it and warm it up.

Crazy Aaron’s mixed by me putty kit (age 4 to adult) – choose your colors, mix your putty, color your label and play.

Fidget/sensory noodles (age 3 to adult) – they can’t get enough of these in our programs.

Motion bubbler (age 5 to adult)

Fidget cube (age 6 to adult) – remains a hot item with our consumers.

Help from our friends
National Autism Resources publishes a comprehensive guide each year. Visit their site.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software