Holidays & celebrations

2015 Guide to Holiday Toys: What You Need to Know for Kids Grades 1–5 With Learning and Attention Issues

By Lexi Walters Wright

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It can be tricky to find toys your child loves that also tap into his strengths and passions. This guide lays out some of 2015’s hottest toys for children in grades 1–5, according to forecasts by major retailers like Amazon, Target and Kmart—and what to consider for kids with learning and attention issues.

Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

102Found this helpful
VTech Smartwatch
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Kidizoom Smartwatch DX by VTech

This smartwatch lets on-the-go grade-schoolers easily access their calendar, alarm, calculator and camera. It has some frills, too, like built-in photo and video effects and filters. It also comes with games that are motion controlled.

What to consider: If your child has trouble with time management, watches like this could help keep him on track. For example, he could set the alarm to stay on top of homework assignments.

BB-8 Droid
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Remote Control BB-8 Droid by Hasbro

In Star Wars: The Force Returns, we meet BB-8, the Astromech Droid of the Resistance. This remote control toy version is sold exclusively at Target. (A more sophisticated app-based version by Sphero is widely available.)

What to consider: High-energy kids might love maneuvering a BB-8 droid, which can interact and even battle with other Star Wars toys. But kids with motor skill issues or visual-spatial issues may find it frustrating.

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Bunchems! by Spin Master

Kids can smush together these bristly rubber pom-poms to make cute critters, colorful structures and other creations.

What to consider: Bunchems are a less messy crafting alternative to Play-Doh and a softer substitute for building blocks. This may make them appealing to kids who have sensory processing issues or trouble with fine motor skills. Note: There have been some reports about Bunchems getting tangled in kids’ hair. But there’s a YouTube video on how to remove them.

Chocolate Pen
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Candy Craft Chocolate Pen by Skyrocket Toys

Budding candymakers will love this edible craft kit. Using a motorized chocolate pen, kids can fill specialty molds or create freehand designs.

What to consider: This is a tasty way for kids with dyspraxia or dysgraphia to practice writing. The chocolate hardens in the freezer in just five to 10 minutes—a short enough time that kids with attention issues may not get frustrated with the process.

Makey Box
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Makey Makey by JoyLabz

This clever invention kit lets your child turn everyday objects into a keyboard or computer game controller. Kids don’t need to know anything about computer programming to use Makey Makey. But through play, it can teach them a lot about circuitry.

What to consider: Kids with reading issues or those who have trouble following directions may need some help getting this technical toy up and running. But once your child understands how it works, he’ll be able to play with it for hours on end. It’s best if he does have a basic interest in electronics, though.

Girl Scout Oven
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Girl Scouts Cookie Oven by Wicked Cool Toys

Thin Mint lovers, rejoice! With this new kid-safe oven your child can make five types of Girl Scout–inspired treats all year long.

What to consider: It only takes 15 minutes to bake up a batch of these iconic cookies. That may be a manageable amount of waiting time for kids who have trouble with self-control and delayed gratification. Also, following recipes is a good way for your child to practice reading, math and sequencing skills.

Meccano Personal Robot
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Meccanoid G15 Personal Robot by Meccano

This new line of interactive robot kits gives kids two options. They can free-build or follow instructions to create their own 2-foot-tall robots. Kids can even program the robot’s voice and movement-recognition functions.

What to consider: Meccanoid G15 requires kids to use critical thinking skills and follow directions. If your child struggles with these skills, or with building, this toy may not be the best fit for your child.

WubbleX Floating Bubble Ball
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WubbleX Bubble Ball by NSI TOYS

Here’s a gift that can help fight cabin fever this winter. This helium-filled ball looks and floats like a bubble.

What to consider: The WubbleX Bubble Ball is for indoor play only, making it a great toy for helping overactive kids burn off energy. Some parents have reported that the balls pop easily, however. So they may not be great for kids who are easily frustrated.

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Bounce-Off by Mattel

Players try to recreate patterns by bouncing balls onto a game board grid. The first player to complete three patterns first wins.

What to consider: Bounce-Off requires fine motor and visual processing skills. Also, like tic-tac-toe, it’s a game of strategy. So some kids with executive functioning issues may have trouble with it.

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Garbage to Glam Upcycling Kits by Fashion Angels

With these DIY kits, kids can turn old T-shirts, plastic bottles and even old toys into unique new accessories. There are 10 projects in each kit.

What to consider: Kids who have trouble with flexible thinking may have a hard time imagining how trash can take on a new life. But if your child is interested in fashion, this toy could be a good way to practice that skill.

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2015 Guide to Holiday Toys: What You Need to Know for Preschool and Kindergarten Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

You want to choose holiday gifts that the preschoolers and kindergartners in your life will love. It’s even better when those presents match their interests and abilities. Here are some of 2015’s hottest toys, according to forecasts by major retailers like Amazon, Target and Kmart—and what to consider about them in relation to your child’s strengths and challenges.

Understood does not endorse or receive financial compensation for the sale of any of these products.

10 Holiday Stressors for Kids With Learning and Attention Issues

Holidays can be a time to make memories and spend time with family. They can also be a time of stress for kids with learning and attention issues. Here are 10 stressors to look out for, and ways to help.

About the Author

Portrait of Lexi Walters Wright

Lexi Walters Wright is a veteran writer and editor who helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Keri Wilmot

Keri Wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.

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