Christmas gift ideas for vision impaired children aged 5 and under
Choosing a Christmas present for a child with vision impairment doesn’t have to be difficult. If you're still thinking about the right gift to choose, here are 6 types of gifts to give children under 5 years old.
Building toys make a great gift for any child but when shopping for a child with vision impairment it's good to choose bricks that stick together well and are easy to build with:
- Wikki Stix are pipe-cleaner type building toys made from wax and knitting yarn. They can be bent and shaped into almost anything your child can imagine!
- Duplo bricks are ideal as they stick together well
- Magnetic blocks are also great for building
- Magnetic cogs – these stick on the fridge (or other magnetic surfaces) and connect together, moving around
- Stacking cups or plastic stacking rings
- Peg boards (or other toys they can push things into)
- Musical Shape Sorter
A vision impaired child will be able to enjoy many of the same toys as their sighted friends. If the child you are buying for has siblings, it’s a great opportunity to choose toys which encourage everyone to play together.
Tactile toys and puzzles
- Vision impaired children will love a jigsaw puzzle but may need extra motivation to complete one. Look for simple insert puzzles with knobs on or sound puzzles which play a sound when they put the piece back in the correct place
- Play-Doh is a popular present and scented varieties provide extra sensory enjoyment for children with vision impairment. The Play-Doh Fun Factory allows children to push dough through in various lengths, thicknesses and shapes
- Multi sensory balls are fun. Look for ones made with different materials and textures or ones which make a noise
- Bean bags are easy to catch and throw if your child is still learning
Books make the ideal Christmas present or stocking filler for vision impaired children of all ages. Here’s what to look for when choosing a book:
- Touch and feel books with moving elements, pop-up parts, tabs or shiny parts will engage children
- Books with contrasting colours e.g. black and yellow or black and white
- Simple designs and pictures that are not too complex
- Books for young children usually have large bold words – look for ones written in a simple, clear type
- Specialist books such as large print books or Braille
- Musical books such as the Vtech Rhyme and Discover books will read children nursery rhymes aloud
- Musical instruments are always popular. You can ones made of natural materials – anything from a shaker to a ukulele - which can be more motivating for vision impaired children to explore
- Vtech create a great range of toys where you push a button for sound, music and movement
- A sing-along music player with a microphone is fun - they can play music (and sing along) or listen to stories
Creative toys give children the opportunity to express themselves. Ideas include:
- Lacing beads for making necklaces or pop apart beads
- Chalkboards or magnetic boards
- Pens – choose the brightest, thickest felt pens you can find as these show up best
- Scented marker pens which engage their sense of smell
- Packs of brightly coloured or neon paper
- Play kitchens which can help children with vision impairment to roleplay what their parents do in the kitchen
- Velcro fruit and vegetables (that come in two parts) which can be ‘cut’ with a plastic knife help fire their imagination
- Baking kits that allow children to make muffins or biscuits
Gift experiences and tokens
If you’re still unsure what to give them for Christmas, a token makes a great gift.
- If they have access to an iPad or tablet, consider an iTunes gift card so they (or their parents) can buy music, apps and stories
- You could give the gift of an experience such as a voucher for the pantomime or a soft play area day out
Where to shop
Most of these toys can be found in high street toy shops, or in Argos or on Amazon.
For more specialist toys and books:
- The RNIB Online Shop is a great place to shop for toys for children with vision impairment
- You’ll find a range of toys on the TFH website
- For Braille and large print books, Clearvision Project is a postal lending library of children's books
If you are giving toys in packaging, it’s a good idea to take the toy out of the packaging before wrapping it.
Published: 20th November 2018