Down Syndrome toys?
November 30, 2009 5:08 PM   Subscribe

What’s an appropriate gift for a 2.5-year old boy with Down Syndrome?

He can walk (even stairs!) and loves to climb on things and imitate animal sounds. Caveats: 1) his first language is not going to be English, so language-development toys are not what I’m looking for; 2) the gift will be going with me on a plane, so anything bulky or fragile is not ideal. Thanks.
posted by Dotty to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This blog has two great entries on toy suggestions as well as some explanations as why some are good ideas.
Enjoy your visit!
posted by NoraCharles at 5:17 PM on November 30, 2009

Stuffed animals are always good.
posted by The otter lady at 5:27 PM on November 30, 2009

This is an interesting article which suggests, as I think you're leaning toward, selecting a toy which would help your young friend's development - they mention a number of specific ideas which sound excellent to me, and often easy to pack. Enjoy your visit!
posted by pammeke at 5:31 PM on November 30, 2009

The links above point to baby toys, which aren't really that useful for a 2.5 year old. I'd look at toys that are appropriate for all kids his age - trucks, cars, play food and/or kitchenware, wooden blocks, playdoh, baby doll with stroller, duplo (too advanced?), beepy things like a toy cellphone, musical things like a tambourine and shakers, stickers, toy tool set, etc.
posted by crazycanuck at 6:19 PM on November 30, 2009

Truck. Boys love trucks.
posted by orthogonality at 7:32 PM on November 30, 2009

My 3 year old son loves this Fun Roller and so does every other kid who comes to our house. We have a foot pump to inflate it - it would take a very long time and a strong set of lungs to blow it up otherwise. It's got colorful balls that rattle around inside. He rolls in it, climbs inside of it, rolls on the outside and tries to grab at the balls. It's seriously been a huge hit with my kid and all his friends.
posted by Kangaroo at 8:47 PM on November 30, 2009

Father of a child with Down syndrome.

I'd steer away from stuffed animals. We have to purge routinely. They go to Goodwill.

I know you specifically don't want language building toys - but Signing Time has been a Godsend for us.

Does he need braces/orthotics? If so a gift certificate to Keeping Pace might be good. Shoes are hellish to find that fit around orthotics. These are better than most.

Books have been another win. My kids both really like "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems, which is a terrific read-together book. Maybe you can find it in the appropriate language? Richard Scarry's work is also well-translated and is terrific for building vocabulary. Usborne books are also uniformly good, but I don't know if they're translated.

My daughter wasn't walking at 2, so our biggest focus was gross motor skills and fine motor skills. One toy we had for her (which she hated, but every child is different) was plastic nuts and bolts (very large). Duplo blocks may also be good.

Don't forget also that sometimes, a kid is just a kid. My son went, and pardon my language, apeshit over Hot Wheels cars at this age. You can get 5 pieces of track and a couple cars for about $10 at Walmart or other big box store. He doesn't need more. When you're visiting, and after he's gotten the hang of running the car on the track, take a small carboard box (say 10"'x10"x6") and cut it into a tunnel. Show him how to use it (running the track through or over it), and you will BECOME A GOD IN HIS EYES. At least that's the experience here.
posted by plinth at 3:26 AM on December 1, 2009

My niece (who has Down Syndrome) just turned 5. She is a huge fan of Sesame Street, especially Elmo. So you might consider a few such DVDs as a backup plan. I don't like giving a young kid a DVD, and only do it if I'm really stuck for a gift, but hey, DVDs are cheap, convenient and really can bring some joy to a kid's world. (And blissful momentary peace to a parent's.) However, my niece easily slips into a TV-coma, to the detriment of her physical development, so her parents have to limit her TV time. But I guess that can be true of any kid, not just kids with Down Syndrome.

Also, my niece loves Signing Time more than her big brother or her dog, and on most days, loves the host Rachel more than her own mom. So, nthing that suggestion!
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:05 AM on December 1, 2009

Oooh, I should have noted (although you probably know this anyway), that you need to be careful about the region code on a DVD.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:07 AM on December 1, 2009

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