Gift Ideas for a Child with Cerebral Palsy


When we think about gifts for Maya, we always think of “fun first.” It can be tempting when your child has a mobility challenge to get things they can use for therapy. But we never want Maya’s disability to be the focus of gift-giving. It’s kind of like getting a vacuum from your significant other. Sure, it has a purpose but it’s not much fun.

That said, I think there are some great toys that naturally encourage movement and can align with therapy goals that are first and foremost FUN. Here is a list of a few toys we’ve purchased over the years that Maya has absolutely LOVED and played with for years.

Good Toys for Cerebral Palsy

Pretend Kitchen

We bought her one when she was two and she still uses it at 8. It's been great for encouraging pulling to stand, standing, and fine motor skills.

Melissa and Doug Grocery Cart

This was hands down the best push toy we’ve ever found – sturdy and incredibly hard to tip over. Maya could never push those lightweight baby strollers; she needed much more support. This grocery cart was perfect. She even used it at school inside her preschool classroom instead of her walker to carry around materials, etc.

Squiqz

This suction cup construction toy has about 100 different options for play. We loved sticking them to windows to encourage standing, tall kneeling, half kneeling to stand, etc.

Rody Horse

This bouncy horse is essentially a peanut ball. Maya used Rody mostly while watching TV. It was great for her core, balance, and leg separation but also a super fun bouncy toy.

Sled

This is more of a seasonal gift, but when you live someplace where it snows for 6 + months out of the year as we do, a good sled is a must! We have a sled with a seat so Maya can be pulled in the snow when she gets tired. When she was younger and not able to ambulate in the snow, we could still pull her and carry on with a fun day of play.  

A Tricycle with Pedal Straps

I will never forget the pure joy on Maya’s face as she pedaled in a circle in our kitchen for the first time. She loves to go fast, and this was just the thing to let her fly!

Scooter Board

If you spent any time in a gym class in the ‘90s, you know what I’m talking about. It has so many different uses, and she’s made countless laps around our kitchen island on her scooter board.

Play Tent or Teepee

Pretend play leads to all sorts of natural movement, and for Maya, that has always been the goal. Move, move, move. The great thing about a tent or teepee is it’s a nice place to rest and get cozy. Maya still likes to read in hers!

Play-Doh

You can’t go wrong with this classic; it’s fun and great for fine motor play.

While these presents were favorites of Maya, whether they work for your friends or family depends on mobility, strength, and, of course, their own interests. Happy shopping!

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