Kids will be kids, right. At least that is the phrase I hear so often. The thing is, some kids are a lot more energetic than others and that can be downright exhausting for everyone around. There is a good reason these kids can’t sit still but it still can take everything for the adults that love these kids. I know with my own busy kids I am always on that look out for gifts that not only serve to be fun but also functional at giving them the sensory support they crave. If you’ve ever wondered how to pick the perfect gift for kids who can’t sit still, have no fear, I have found some awesome solutions for you.
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Whether you are an educator or a parent who loves a kid who can’t sit still, you have the same wish. You wish (just like I did) to give your child the support and input they are seeking while making it fun and enjoyable for them.
Over the last few years, thanks to my busy busy kids, I have learned how to pick the perfect gifts for kids who can’t sit still that they will not only benefit from but also love and beg to play with! From sensory breaks to simple fidgets, we’ve got you covered!
How to Pick the Perfect Gift for Kids Who Can’t Sit Still
Before you can pick the perfect gift for you elementary child that can’t seem to calm their hands or they bodies, you have to go through a few simple steps.
Step One: Observe Your Child
I want you to watch your child. I know it is so easy for us to say… “Oh my goodness this child can not sit still.” or “this child is always on the move”. However, I really want you to observe your child. When are they the most active? What do they do when they seem to be unable to sit still? What activities are they drawn to naturally when they play?
Step Two: Assess the Need
After you have observed your child for several days in several settings, you will start to notice some patterns. Maybe your child always getting antsy before lunch. Maybe your child can’t sit still during reading or writing activities. Maybe your child climbs the furniture when its time to transition. Think about when and why your child is getting antsy and begin to assess the “why” behind the movement.
Do they need more pressure? This would point to a need for proprioceptive input. Stomping, pushing, jumping, squeezing are all actions that children seeking this input might exhibit.
Do they need more tactile input? Are their fingers busy? Do they touch everything they see? Do they tap their pencils on the desk? Do they get handsy and start touching other children?
Do they need to climb? Jump? Run? Do they need to spin?
There really are so many ways that children exhibit the need to move and so many reasons children can’t sit still. By assessing the sensory input they are seeking, you can pinpoint how you can help them specifically.
Step Three: Match the Need to the Toy
Now that you have honed in on your child’s specific sensory needs, you can start to pick the perfect gift. For example, my three year old loves to climb. We are always looking for fun ways to give her that support and when we find toys that make it fun and safe for her to climb, we are extremely excited.
However, our middle son is constantly smashing and bashing his toys. He requires a lot of deep pressure and input. The types of gifts we look for when we shop for him are very different than the climbing toys for our preschooler.
Finally, our oldest seems to always has his hands on something. When we sit at the table he needs to move. When we go to a restaurant, he needs to move. When we are in the car, he needs to move. It never ends. For him, we look for a slightly different toys.
My point is that it is not one size fits all and finding the right toy can make a huge difference in your child’s enjoyment and your sanity.
Related: Book Lists for Bilingual Kids
The Perfect Gift for Kids Who Can’t Sit Still
Now that you know more about your child and what works best, you can start the hunt for the perfect gift. I want to remind you that this is not always the perfect formula. Some of the best gifts are found through experimentation and trial and error. These are some of my absolute favorites that have worked for my family, the students in my classrooms, and the parents in my support group.
The Perfect Gifts for Kids that Jump
Mini Trampoline | When we first bought our trampoline, I thought we were crazy. Our boys were in elementary and I thought for sure they were too old. I was completely wrong. This, by far, has been the most used gift we have every purchased. When our kids are antsy at homework time, we take a break to move. When our kids are jumping on the beds, we take a trampoline break. When our kids are getting cranky, we get to jumping. This is used every single day in our home and I am sure it would do well in your house too!
Related: Best Gifts for School Age Kids
Tumbling Mat | This is another gift I was shocked at the amount of use that we’ve gotten out of it. Every single one of my kids have used this toy and for so many different reasons. For my daughter that seeks vestibular input, we use the mat for dance parties and spinning parties. However, for my son that loves to crash, he takes dives and tumbles on the mat almost daily.
The Perfect Gifts for Kids That Constantly Move
Therapy Swing | I can’t even recommend a swing enough. For kids that seek constant movement, swings can be incredibly calming. There are so many different kinds of swings. From swings for your playset to swings for your playroom, you can’t really go wrong for a child that loves swinging. The only warning I want to give about swings, is that they can be incredibly alerting for some children which is the opposite of what you want. If you have accurately assessed your child’s needs, you will be able to determine if this is the perfect toy for your child.
Scooter Boards | I have never met a kid that didn’t absolutely love scooter boards if they are always on the move. They are great for increasing motor planning and core strength but they are super fun for kids. Any kid would be happy to unwrap a scooter board as a gift and any adult would be pleased with how easy they are to store away.
The Perfect Gifts for Kids that Climb
Climbers and Jungle Gyms | Not everyone has room for a jungle gym in their backyard but these are definitely gifts that kids will adore and adults will see a ton of benefits from. It will be worth every single penny when you see how much the kids settle after a round of hanging upside down and climbing the ins and outs of the jungle gyms.
Gorilla Gym | I am in love with this awesome indoor climbing tool for kids. It really supports vestibular and proprioceptive input for so many children and fits in a small space. It is adjustable to the size of the child and easy to modify depending on how much movement your child needs.
Fidgets | This is one of the simplest ways to support children that need to move constantly. These fit easily in a pocket, a backpack or a calm down spot and are extremely affordable. What I love best is that there are so many awesome fidgets out there that make perfect gifts and my kids love when we get new fidgets in our house. Another awesome way to include fidgets is to add to your collection of playful math games for school age kids.
Related: Best STEM Toys and Gifts
Finally, one of the most perfect gifts you can give any child that seems to never sit still is support. This can be as easy as learning more about sensory processing and how it plays a role in your child’s life or by providing your child with more sensory rich experiences and activities. In our book, Sensory Processing 101, you can do just that!
Whether you are a parent, educator, caregiver, or therapist, this easy-to-read guide is your starting point to gain a better understanding of sensory processing and the body’s sensory systems.
I’d love to know what kind of gifts you are looking for and how I can help? Check back as we will be digging into more out of the box gift ideas you might not have thought of already!
For More Adventures In Sensory Processing