It's the holiday season again! And since we know how ADDitude readers are always looking for information, products, and inspiration to help them manage their own, or a loved one’s, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) symptoms, we’ve chosen a range of gifts that offer a mix of sparkle, entertainment value, and practicality.
Gifts for ADD/ADHD Children
High-energy kids need active play, especially when they’re cooped up indoors. Active gaming fills the bill. Check out Kinect for Xbox 360. The player’s body acts as the controller. Kinect tracks your child’s full-body movement in 3-D, while responding to commands, directions, even different emotions in his voice. Sports, fitness, dance, and animal games will be first off the assembly line. Price: Xbox 360 console with Kinect: $299.99; Kinect sensor only: $149.99.
Building toys, like LEGO, are great for creative kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), but, oh, the mess! This year, along with the latest “Toy Story” or “Harry Potter” LEGO set, give your organizationally challenged child a LEGO ZipBin. When unzipped, it turns into a play mat, on which your child can construct buildings, airplanes, whatever. When zipped up, it’s a box or basket, depending on the model, which stores the bricks inside. Perfect for one-step cleanup. Price: $12.99-$24.99.
A Maze and Marbles (via Young Explorers) is an interactive building toy that captures -- and holds -- our ADD/ADHD kids’ attention. The countless configurations of chutes, bridges, and drops, through which the marbles race, develop organizational and spatial skills. This hardwood version of the classic toy is sturdy, making it ideal for the rough play of ADD/ADHD kids. Price: $69.95.
Spheres of Influence
Hoberman Spheres are an engineering marvel, and an addictive distraction that occupies busy hands and curious minds. The colored collapsible spheres, which expand from six inches to 30 via small plastic joints, are not only fun to play with, but can also teach self-regulation, a function often lacking in ADD/ADHD kids. 1000 Petals Yoga suggests using the Hoberman sphere as a visual aid for meditation. “Take a deep breath, while expanding the sphere, breathe out while contracting it.” Price: $14.99 - $34.99.
Feel the Burn
Super Skipper, by International Playthings, burns up a child’s extra energy while harnessing the therapeutic benefits of music and rhythm. Kids jump and skip over a revolving bar in time to music. Music is key to brain development, for language processing, motor skills, and coordination. As a bonus, the toy might just tire out your child! Price: $32.99.
Gifts for ADD/ADHD Tweens and Teens
Dance Dance Revolution is a video game in which players have to match their dance steps to flashing arrows on the screen, while trying to keep time with high-energy music. Dancing has been linked to improved reading scores in teens with ADD/ADHD, as well as having other developmental, academic, and health benefits. Now DDR is available for PlayStation 3. Price: $69.99. If your teen has a different gaming platform, consider DDR or Just Dance for Nintendo Wii, and Dance Masters or Dance Central for Xbox 360 Kinect.
A popular summer movie, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, was based on the first book in a five-book series by Rick Riordan, now available in a hardcover boxed set. Staying current with pop culture helps our teens keep up with their peers. Another benefit: The hero has ADD/ADHD, which your young teen will find cool. Price: $89.99. If your teen is a struggling reader, consider the audiobook collection instead. Price: $174.99.
ADD/ADHD impulsivity and teen rebellion are a volatile mix. Direct your teen’s urge to express himself in a constructive fashion with the But Officer! This Is Totally Legal! graffiti set (from UncommonGoods). It includes 160 photographs of blank urban walls, ready to be defaced -- or um, decorated -- along with 10 dual-tip, thick-and-thin markers to allow him to leave his mark. Price: $25.
Deep breathing and yoga can help teens with ADD/ADHD-related challenges. The DVD Shanti Generation: Yoga Skills for Youth Peacemakers (via ShantiGeneration.com) teaches poses for focus, energy, calmness, stress management, and self-regulation, as well as mindful meditation. The teen practitioners and music -- composed by the bassist of the popular rock band 311 -- will make any kid (even yours) a yoga fan. Price: $16.95.
This article appears in the Winter 2010 issue of ADDitude.
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Looking for even more ADHD-friendly holiday gift ideas? Visit the ADHD Adults support group on ADDConnect to chat with others.