The best gifts ideas for Babies with Down Syndrome
If you are the parent or loved one of a little one with that magical extra chromosome, you may be wondering what in the world to get your little one for the holidays, birthdays, or just because. I have found that shopping for a child with special needs makes me think a little more, I want toys that will be engaging, facilitate learning and teach cause and effect. I don’t know that I gave this much thought to gifts for my typical kiddos but this time around, I do.
So here it is, a list of the best gifts for babies with Down Syndrome as compiled with the help of many of the moms in our community.
There are affiliate links in this post, they help you easily locate the products I mention but don’t cost you a thing. When you use the affiliate links you help to support the efforts of this blog.
For babies who are not yet sitting, or who are still a bit wobbly, be sure to check out this post for some great ideas.
Birth- 1 year
For babies who have not yet mastered the gross motor skills for rattles and hand toys we love the Yummy Mitt Teething Mitten
I actually did a whole review of this product earlier this year and even at age 1, my little one still loves to gnaw on it. (read the review here)
It makes it so that a teething little one can soothe sore gums without dropping a teether every few moments as the little mitten fits over your baby’s hand which totally eliminates frustration and the dropsy game!
We also love the Bandana style bibs as they are so cute, stylish and of course necessary. These fit the bill of avoiding dropped teethers as well for those little ones who cannot yet hold on to items for long periods of time.
Baby Bandana Drool Bibs 6-Pack
I am a fan of any item that helps me keep teething toys close by and keeps my little man happy!
This next one was a suggestion from our physical therapist, the Oball Toy Ball, Multicolored, Assorted
My little boy loves it because he can get his fingers into it and hold on and my physical therapist shared that she often modifies these for bottle fed babies by cutting out a small section in the top and bottom of the ball to fit the bottle through so that baby can hold their own bottle…brilliant, right?
It’s no secret that we are often told to utilize tons of tummy time with our little ones, this helps strengthen shoulder and neck muscles that can be more weak in our little ones.
But tummy time gets boring sometimes so mirrors help bring back the fun and are also great for helping to teach babies to mimic. We love this product, the Smile, Baby! 2-in-1 Crib & Floor Mirror
When baby graduates from tummy time to assisted sitting you can still use this mirror to practice fun songs and hand over hand signing with your little one.
Another great product for tummy time is the Fisher-Price Kick & Play Piano Gym, Blue/Green
Something I didn’t know before having my little one is just how important teaching cause and effect is for language development (are you surprised too?) The cause and effect starts early when our little ones can kick and hear sounds during tummy time, it isn’t too long before they begin to figure out that they can control what was initially an accident.
If you really want to go all out with your tummy time experience check this one out, the Edushape Play & Sound Mat 40″x40″, 25 Piece
This product boasts textures, colors, shapes and interactive sounds and mirrors for your little one. As many of our children spend a lot longer doing tummy time this product extends the interest and interaction but can then transition to a playmat as sitting becomes easier.
Reading is so important for all children, but I feel like we can never begin too early. These next few books are some of our favorites for teaching simple words and using often to help our children associate words and their meanings with visual cues and tactile, sensory input.
What I try to keep in mind is that board books that offer just one picture per page are most helpful as they do not distract but allow you to point and repeat the words to help build associations. For example, the Simple First Words Let’s Talk book
My son also loves this one for the sensory input Baby Touch and Feel: Animals
From fuzzy bunnies to playful kittens you can talk about the animals and then guide your little one’s hands to explore textures and colors associated with each of the animals. These DK books are some of our favorite board books and they cover animals, farm animals, and colors and shapes depending on the book you choose.
All of our children with Down Syndrome develop at different rates so this age range is rather broad in the abilities that each of the children will have. Some will just be starting to sit, others learning to crawl and still others will be off running, no two are the same.
For sensory play and problem solving I love this spin on the classic stacking rings, the Stacking Toys – Unisex Silicone Stackable Teething Rings
There is texture, color and of course, an opportunity to chew!
This was actually one that we picked out for Cedar’s first birthday as we are working on cause and effect with his toys. I figure the many different opportunities for exploration and cause and effect are a huge win with the
Best Choice Products Musical Activity Cube Toy Game Play Center W/ Lights, Sounds & 15 Functions
I am so excited to give this one to him and see how much he loves it!
If your little is at all like many, music is a huge motivator check out the Baby Electronic Pop & Play Learning Musical Piano (Bilingual Music Keyboard)
Hit the keys, play the music and make the balls move. Sure to induce giggles galore.
For encouraging climbing, exploration and physical play you can’t beat Kids SoftZone Climb and Crawl Foam Play Set for Toddlers and Preschoolers (5-Piece)
It’s almost like having your own physical therapy lab at home because there are so many ways to stack, move and help your little one cruise around.
All little ones love bubbles, right? How about the Bubble Ice Cream Truck Toy Battery Operated Toy Ice Cream Truck Car w/ Lights & Sound Music (Blue Color)
This is an excellent toy to practice your signing “more” with as your little one enjoys the motorized bubbles coming from the musical ice cream truck.
This is one that almost every mama I asked suggested, so though I don’t have it, it seems to be a HUGE hit with our children. The Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! Swirl ‘n Tunes Gumball Toy
I love that it has music, cause and effect and balls, all things that my little one absolutely loves!
How about building blocks that can be stacked and stay that way, Infantino Sensory Press and Stay Sensory Blocks
These are less frustrating for little hands because they stay when you stick them together, bonus that they are textured for little hands.
For kiddos who are learning to stand and maybe starting to cruise I love this product suggested by Jamie, the Pewi Ybike Ride On Toy and Walking Buddy (Red)
I think Cedar’s physical therapist might love me if I got him this one as it is reported to be helpful in aiding children to learn the balance needed for prewalking, something we will be working on for sure!
For our future dancers and singers many moms suggest the Fisher-Price Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo
Complete with lights and sounds, cause and effect, and a fun face this little guy seems to get all of our kiddos up and moving.
Lastly, something that I hadn’t thought of before asking a number of moms was some of our kiddos can benefit from a Sportspower 84″ My First Trampoline
The moms who gave me this suggestion stated that core strength and balance were at the top of their lists when looking for an indoor trampoline for their little ones. Looks like fun to me!
I hope this list helps you with your shopping. All in all children who have Down Syndrome can use all the same toys as their typical peers, it is just that sometimes the developmental levels are slightly different and it is always a good idea to seek out toys that will stimulate young minds.