Sensory gift ideas for children and young people with a visual impairment

Knowing what to get your loved ones for Christmas can often be a struggle. If you know a child or young person with a visual impairment (or are a visually impaired young person yourself struggling with what to ask for) read on for some inspiration from our Children and Young People's team...

Sensory boxes

Sensory boxes are a creative way of gifting lots of toys and objects to enthral the senses, particularly for younger children. They are easy to put together and can cost as little or as much as you want! The picture here shows a big box, so depending on budget you could include all of them or just a few.

All items encourage sensory play and development and can be used alongside singing activities, included in a game, or can be used on their own. Items in the box are ideal for ages 0- 3 years, and include the following:

Sensory gift box

Foil blankets

Foil blankets are great as they make a noise when you scrunch them up and give good light reflection. If you are trying to encourage tummy time, they are perfect to place in front of baby to encourage reach and grasp. Tin foil is just as good; foil blankets can be found quite cheaply on Amazon.

Sensory balls

Great for babies who are starting to explore! The different textures on the balls are great, these ones in particular, have raised number and shapes too. Can usually be found in places like B&M and Home Bargains.

Musical instruments

Fantastic for body and space awareness. Great in circle time when developing communication.  Instruments really encourage anticipation in stories and songs, which children love.

Crazy water snakes

A squidgy texture that is not messy!  Try this one here.

Sensory scarves

The brighter the better, great for including in a game of peek-a-boo.

Putty/play dough

Perfect for developing fine and gross motor skills, and like the crazy water snake, it is a squidgy texture without too much mess!

Soft moon or star toy

Plays a lovely lullaby, perfect for developing that association with bedtime.

Stocking filler ideas for older children with a visual impairment

At this time of year, the shelves are packed with sensory toys for children of all ages. There are different categories of sensory toys, which help to develop different senses. The toys can be matched to the needs of your child, depending on their level of light perception and enjoyment of different sensations.  Many of the toys, such as the tactile teddy below, fall into more than one of the categories.

 **Please ensure any toys or objects you give to children are safe and ensure they are supervised where necessary.**

Image shows a young boy wearing headphones and listening to music.

Tactile Toys

Find toys with different textures, such as slime, sensory balls, squishies, koosh balls, tactile teddies, tactile jigsaws and books.

Sound Toys

Sensory sound blocks, musical instruments, noise makers, microphones, and sound bingo games.

Scented Toys

Scratch and sniff stickers, scented pencils and markers, and essential oils and diffusers.

Tasty Toys

Tasting pots, flavoured jelly beans, and Mr Frosty Ice Maker.

Light Toys

Bubble tubes, LED message boards, and LED pillows.

Vestibular Toys

Swings, trampolines and trampettes, and spinning chairs.

For older children and young people, check out our Accessible Board Games blog and our Gift Ideas for People with Sight loss for lots of different ideas:

Accessible Board games

Gift ideas for people with a visual impairment

Help with Christmas gifts

We know this year has been tougher than many, and Christmas already puts an added pressure on many families – but this year may be even harder. If you need help and support, there are lots of Christmas Toy Appeals that you can apply to or that a professional can apply to on your behalf.

Appeals such as these below, all donate toys and gifts to children who need them:

There are also lots of local groups doing appeals this year, many of which are being advertised on local Facebook groups. If you need any help, please get in touch with our Children and Young People’s team by calling 0300 222 5555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk

Get buying!

We hope that this blog has given you some inspiration for potential Christmas gift ideas. As you can see, there are plenty of options, and the products listed can benefit a visually impaired child or young person in many ways, encouraging them to use their other senses and become aware of the world around them.

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Sarah
Sarah
Sarah is the Marketing Manager with responsibility for Community Services across Greater Manchester, and the Knowledge Village.