7 Great Holiday Gifts for Children with Cerebral Palsy

The holiday season has officially arrived! Millions of children around the world anticipate new toys and gifts. However, buying gifts for children with disabilities can sometimes prove difficult.

Gift buyers must consider how accessible some gifts are, accounting for a child’s differences in mobility, motor function, and mental and physical abilities.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that roughly 17% of children aged 3-17 years old have a developmental disability of some kind. Chief among these disabilities is cerebral palsy, a type of birth injury and the most common motor-function disability in childhood.

Find out if you qualify for compensation from a birth injury lawsuit, which can help you pay for your child's medical care and more.

Luckily, there is a large — and growing — assortment of toys and gifts that have been developed with children with cerebral palsy and other related disabilities in mind.

Toy companies like Nebraska-based Fat Brain Toys® design and manufacture dozens of educational toys and games that cater toward developing sensory, motor function, and tactile skills, which are especially suitable for children with disabilities like cerebral palsy.

If you’re shopping for a child with a disability this year, check with the family or parents of the child to see if they’ve created a wish list for friends and relatives to pick from.

If you’re still stuck, below are some great gift ideas for children with cerebral palsy and developmental delays.

1. Kinetic Sand™

Innovative and one-of-a-kind, Kinetic Sand is certainly a crowd-pleaser. Designed to look and feel similar to real wet sand at the beach, Kinetic Sand is an excellent toy for children with sensory processing disorder (SPD).

It’s also great for helping children develop fine motor skills. Kinetic Sand doesn’t stick to fingers or create a mess — it sticks to itself. It stiffens when squeezed and unstiffens when released.

In addition to helping children develop motor function skills, Kinetic Sand can also be molded, stacked, and squashed, promoting sensory exploration and tactile development as well as serving as a good form of stress and anxiety relief.

Recommended Age(s): 3+

2. Pop Blocs Farm Animals

Developed by toymaker Melissa & Doug®, Pop Blocs Farm Animals come in a pack of five soft, plastic animals and are intended to be mixed and matched. These adorable farm animals can be snapped together, pulled apart, mixed up, and combined in unique and exciting ways.

The Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) recommended the toy for:

  • Encouraging sensory development
  • Promoting tactical strength
  • Inspiring creativity

Recommended Age(s): 1-3

3. Fat Brain Toys Dimpl™ Duo

From Fat Brain Toys, the Dimpl Duo is one of several different Dimpl toys that contain squishy, silicone-based buttons for children to feel as well as pop in and out.

A tactile toy at its core, Dimpl Duo can help:

  • Strengthen motor function
  • Promote language skills (as children learn to identify different shapes)
  • Serve as a calming, anxiety-reducer or form of stress relief

Also in the Dimpl series are Dimpl Duo Stack Bundle and Dimpl Pops.

Recommended Age(s): 1+

4. Books

For children who love stories, several different children’s books — and series — feature main characters with disabilities whose struggles and triumphs offer relatability and shared experience.

Some great illustrated choices for young children include:

  • The Adventures of Bessie Bunny by Karen Bunney
  • Adventures of the Sensokids series by Reema Naim
  • All the Way to the Top by Annette Bay Pimentel
  • Little Senses series by Samantha Cotterill
  • We Move Together by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuire
  • What Happened to You? by James Catchpole

For older children who have started reading on their own, good representation of disabled characters remains important so they can continue building confidence.

A middle-grade book, often best for children 8-12 years old, called The Amazing Edie Eckhart is just one example of a book with positive representation of a disabled main character.

If you need more book recommendations, try visiting your local library or asking a bookseller at a bookstore nearby.

Recommended Age(s): Varies

5. Munchkin® Mozart Magic Cube

A widely popular toy — and a favorite among babies and children with disabilities — the Mozart Magic Cube teaches musical combinations, inspires creativity, and encourages tactile and sensory exploration.

The cube produces sounds from five unique instruments:

  • Flute
  • French horn
  • Harp
  • Piano
  • Violin

Playing with musical instruments and toys that mimic their sounds can be a great way to help children with cerebral palsy develop fine motor skills and improve sensory coordination and concentration.

Recommended Age(s): All

6. Boxer

Developed with children of all ability levels in mind, the interactive robot Boxer takes commands and responds to hand movements and gestures. For children who are developing fine motor skills and learning coordination between certain muscles, Boxer can both provide motivation and laughs while teaching cause and effect.

Boxer is known for its expressive eyes, catchy sounds, and big personality. Children can teach, watch, and guide the robot as it does tricks, wheelies, and other stunts. Using scannable game cards, Boxer can also be taught soccer, bowling, and other games.

In addition to responding to movement, Boxer can also be controlled with a hand-held remote.

Recommended Age(s): 6+

7. Elefun

Previously recommended by the CPF, Elefun (by Hasbro Gaming®) is a children’s game featuring a motorized elephant that produces music and other fun sounds. Armed with a net, each player attempts to catch floating butterflies as they are blown out of the elephant’s 3-foot trunk.

For children with cerebral palsy, the game is excellent for teaching hand-eye coordination and helping children develop fine motor skills as they move about the room (or yard) attempting to collect as many butterflies as they can.

Recommended Age(s): 3+

Making the Holidays Special for Children of All Abilities

Sometimes the best gifts are also the simplest: those that bring joy and happiness or just make life easier for those struggling with any physical or mental challenges.

“Life with a disability can mean doing things a bit differently and finding creative solutions to everyday challenges,” as stated by the CPF.

Whatever — or however — you decide to give this holiday season, it’s always important to remember that there’s no such thing as “the perfect gift.” As always, what matters most is the heart, thought, and intention that goes into the gifts you get for others.

Happy holidays from all of our cerebral palsy lawyers, registered nurses, and staff at Sokolove Law!

Note: All brands are trademarks of their respective companies.

Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: December 8, 2023

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