At NACD, we work with children that have every imaginable developmental issue in addition to typical and gifted children. In the process we have explored, researched and utilized many thousands of toys and products that we have found to be fun, educational, engaging and helpful. At the request of families from throughout the world, we have put together a list of items that would make great gifts. Each item has been researched and reviewed by our professional staff. All items on the list below can be found either at our NACD Store or on Amazon.
These important years establish the foundation for education and learning. From five to eight years of age we want to use play, toys and targeted activities to help develop language skills, social skills, cognition, small/fine motor abilities, appreciation of and hopefully a love of reading, math, science, art, history and learning in general. Parents interacting with children and directing their child’s time is incredibly powerful. Developing children shouldn’t be wasting time, they should be learning to enjoy life, participate and learning to love learning.
NACD receives a small commission if you use our Amazon referral link to buy our recommended products. The funds collected will go directly into a scholarship fund for our NACD families. NACD also receives a small commission for everything else you buy that is in your cart when you buy our recommended products. If you are going to purchase items based on our suggestions please use our referral link to help our incredible dedicated families.
45 Great Gift Ideas for Holidays, Birthdays & Special Occasions – Ages 5 to 8
Cognition Coach Preschool
After 50 years and of helping children learn and think nothing has produced the same bang as building processing power. Seeing these children play for a few minutes with Cognition Coach and have fun and actually increase their ability to do well in school and life is simply amazing. Seeing these brilliant happy little people brings me great joy.
Currently Available for iPad here:
3 Wheel Recumbent Bikes
These bikes come in various size ranges. Match your child’s height to the right bike. Bikes are adjustable so you can accurately adjust the bike to properly fit your child or adult. These bikes are low to the ground, safe and provide many benefits including: improve strength and endurance, develop good leg muscle balance and development, help correct leg muscle imbalance issues, provide a fun activity that helps keep children engaged and present. —Bob
KidKraft Chelsea Cottage Doll Cottage with Furniture
Language based play can be of significant help in developing basic language and communication skills. With a dollhouse and dollhouse family modeling basic language becomes fun and easy. Dollhouses are also great for auditory processing and can be used in many ways to develop this critical function.—Bob
Kidcraft Doll Family of 7
Add the family to the doll house and the dynamics and possibilities increase.—Bob
Blocks and Building Toys
Block and building toys have been a staple forever. There are block sets that can be helpful from the youngest child to adults. Blocks and building toys can help develop motor skills, eye hand coordination, creativity as well as a sense of accomplishment and pride. As children get older and cognition advances, building moves into mathematics, mechanics, engineering, and robotics and on and on.—Bob
Lincoln Logs 111 All-Wooden Pieces. Ages 3+
I need to write an article about the role Lincoln Logs played in my development and life, but for now these simple wooden pieces can be used to create endless masterpieces of design. Use these for fine motor development, creativity and to hel build a sense of pride and accomplishment. Fun and simple.—Bob
Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks with Wooden Storage Tray.
This set of blocks is a step up, containing a variety of 60 blocks in a variety of shapes. Designed for children 3 years and up. You can also purchase wooden people, vehicles and more to go with this set. These are educational toys that children can use for years.—Bob
Melissa & Doug Wooden Town Play Set with Storage Tray.
This set of little wooden building is great for language-based play and processing. You can add a whole new dynamic to processing activities with this fun set.—Bob
98 PCS Magnetic Blocks with Wheels, Magnetic Building Set, Magnetic Tiles for kids Toddlers
This is a great set for interaction between younger children with older siblings and parents. The magnetic pieces make it easy to attach the pieces, but all of the components and models make this fun and interesting for everyone.—Bob
Building Bricks-1000 Pc Bulk Blocks +
324 Piece Windows, Door and Roof Tiles, storage bag and more.
This is a great economical way to move into Lego type toys. This set offers endless possibilities for the child who is ready to move into these smaller very versatile toys. —Bob
Science, Technology, Engineers and Math. This is about building your child’s future through toys and play. Tough to beat.
Brackitz Inventor 170 piece Set: Educational Construction Set
This set can be used at various levels starting with children as young as six or seven, but is a great entry into the world of STEM toys. They company says this toy is suitable for those from 3 to 103. Looks like a lot of educational fun. Designed as a building set with endless possibilities it strengthens imaginary play, problem solving and creativity. One of Amazon’s top STEM toys.—Bob
Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
Designed for kids 6 and older. This set is filled with very cool science experiments to turn kids on to science. One of Amazon ’s top STEM toys.—Bob
Creativity for Kids Grow ‘n Glow Terrarium-Science Kit for Kids
For kids from 6-96 this kit permits kids to grow their own little habitat with plants and water. Contains everything they need.—Bob
Teaching kids to code and having them understanding how coding works is becoming more and more important. Coding teaches problem solving and debugging. Debugging is the act of finding errors and fixing them. These are fantastic skills for all kids to have. Understanding and using code at an early age sets kids up success later on in life. —Laird
Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar Toy
Learning Resources Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set, 83 Pieces
ALEX Toys Future Coders Robot Races Coding Skills Kit
COMINGFIT Indoor/Outdoor Rope Climbing Ladder for Kids
Climbing is a great exercise for children, building strength, developing good muscle balance, proprioception, vestibular function/balance, FUN and more. One of my preferred sport activities for children is indoor climbing wall. The rope ladder can build a good foundation for climbing walls.—Bob
Climbing Cargo Rope Net Ladder for Kids – Outdoor and Indoor
Climbing is a great exercise for children, building strength, developing good muscle balance, proprioception, vestibular function/balance, FUN and more. The cargo net and build a good foundation for climbing walls.—Bob
Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Wooden Puzzle (48 pieces)
Those boys love their construction vehicles – You’ve driven by them and studied them and now you can put the pieces together. Plus puzzles make your child think. —Glenda
Melissa & Doug Solar System Floor Puzzle (48 pieces)
Solar System is your unit study and now you can have fun putting together what you have learned in their relationship to one another. —Glenda
Melissa & Doug USA Floor Puzzle (51 pieces)
Doing a fun unit study on the USA? How about a puzzle to add to that. Get a visual of the US and where the states are in relationship to others. —Glenda
Step 2 LifeStyle Custom Kitchen Playset
A full kitchen with all the essentials for working on language skills, sequencing and more. So many opportunities with your kids in this “kitchen”. My boys had something similar when they were young and I still remember the hours they spent playing with it. —Glenda
My First Sewing Kit
Never too early to teach our children how to sew! This kit has felt pieces and everything you need to foster creativity, hand eye coordination and fun at the same time. 7-12 years of age. —Glenda
Ages 6 and up – Improves concentration, perception and fine motor skills —Glenda
The ever popular Strategy Game – Makes for some good family fun. Even if they beat me every time! —Glenda
Fishing Game Magnetic Wood
Eye/hand coordination and fine motor development for children ages 3+. Plus it can help you with another creative way to do processing. —Glenda
Hi Ho Cherry-O
Help your 3-6 year old work on their basic math skills, fine motor, and learning to take turns all while playing this fun board game. I remember playing it too when I was young with my cousin and loving it! —Glenda
Chutes and Ladders
Ages 3+ – Learn the concept of up and down, counting, language play all while having a fun and my boys loved watching their brothers have to slide down! Competition began early. —Glenda
Ages 3-6 – A great first board game that works on counting, colors, fine motor and more. All my boys loved this one! —Glenda
K’Nex 70 Model Building Set
For ages 7+ – Curiosity and creativity, fine motor and eye/hand coordination, all while having a great time and showing you what they did. —Glenda
Tinkertoy 30 Model Super Building Set
This has been around for as long as we parents and grandparents can remember. The good news is these snap together so they can play with them after building their model. Let their (ages 3+) imagination run wild with what they build or let them follow visual instructions for something to replicate. —Glenda
This game brings back so many wonderful memories with my boys in their early years on program. Mancala can be played from age 4+ and helps the child learn to think ahead by visualizing outcomes. Easy to play, with simple instructions and can provide hours of fun. —Lyn
“You sunk my battleship” –I sure heard this plenty of times. This game is another wonderful way to work on building strategy. Battleship is appropriate for ages 5 and up and can keep a child engaged and thinking. —Lyn
Made By Me Create Your Own Sand Art
Creativity and fun for your 6+ year old. 6 projects to keep them engaged and a unique project to share. This was one of my son’s favorites and we still have them on his shelf 5 years later! —Glenda
Made By Me Create Your Own Window Art
20 different projects for a child age 6+ – Includes 12 suncatchers – This will work on their creativity and they can decorate your home or share with other family members. —Glenda
Creativity for Kids Make your Own Water Globes
Set includes everything your child needs for 3 Under the Sea water globes. Works on eye/hand coordination, planning, problem solving and creativity. Ages 6+ —Glenda
Made By Me Build & Paint Your Own Wooden Cars
All the materials needed to build and design 3 cars. Your child (Age 6+) can show their creativity with this finished product and work on fine motor at the same time.
Superhero 3 in 1 Craft Kit by JackInTheBox
This kit has all the necessary things to make a super hero cape, mask and cuffs. Boys 5-10 can have fun while working on their fine motor and creativity skills with the result being their very own superhero outfit.
Beginner Slackline by “Goodtimes”
Fun that requires balance and attention. It’s like a balance beam but trickier and loads of fun. —Ellen
Alex DIY – Friends Forever Jewelry Kit
“Makes 22 friendship bracelets – Fun alone or with friends to work on together (ages 8 or older) .Works on fine motor skills and fun to have a finished product they can share.” —Glenda
Building fine motor and maturity through chores and independence.
If you are wanting to take your child up a notch in regards in regards to cooking and food prep in order to push their global maturity as well as confidence, these tools are great. Listed below are several links to kid friendly cooking utensils. Especially take note of the knives that cut food but not fingers. —Lyn
Music Maker Lap Harp
This is an excellent way to start a child in the direction of playing a musical instrument. This lap hard comes with pages that insert underneath the strings to guide in playing well known tunes. Not only will it start them off with an instrument that is easy to learn, but it also helps reinforce cortical opposition and fine motor movement. —Lyn