Shopping Online: Gifts Under $20 for the Autistic Child

Shopping online is a great way to buy your Christmas gifts, but it’s always a challenge buying gifts for autistic kids. These children’s abilities don’t always match their chronological age or interests, so parents often find themselves buying gifts through companies that specialize in therapeutic supplies.

Unfortunately, they tend to sell the same fairly static collection of items year after year. And they’re also really expensive! Rather than just go with the same expensive fidgets and therapeutic toys, I set out to see if I could find some gifts under $20 that would meet the needs of an autistic child like my son, who is 15 but whose mental age and skills are more like a child aged 4-6.

Shopping Online through For The Schools

I discovered a site called For the Schools which I really love because it allows me to take advantage of sales and earn cash back when I shop at stores I would go to anyway – plus the site will also donate to a school, team, or club fundraiser of my choice.

It’s wonderful to be able to spread the giving around even more this way! And if I save more, I’ll have more funds to put towards additional gifts to my family or my community. That just makes a lot of sense to me. So now the test for me is to use the site to find some gifts for autistic kids at stores that won’t charge me an arm and a leg. Can I do it?

Sensory Play

Creatology Kinetic Sand was on special this week at Michael’s, plus shopping online through For The Schools gives a 6% cash back. Kinetic sand is a great alternative to something like Theraputty. It allows an autistic child to develop hand strength and fine motor skills. Use it in your sand table for sensory play, or take advantage of an opportunity to work on some pre-writing activities.

Imaginative Play

Kohl’s is carrying the incredibly cute World of Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar Color Me Toy. It’s a 15-inch plush caterpillar that comes with four washable markers kids use to colour the canvas body of the caterpillar. Pairing this activity with a reading of the story is a great way to work on communication skills. Colouring while listening helps to stretch a child’s attention span, too!

Social Play

Many autistic kids have superior memory skills, and a game like Concentration can help reinforce turn taking, which is important to the development of conversational speech. Discount School Supply has the Stone Soup board game from , which again is based on a familiar story. The twist in this concentration game is that it’s a cooperative game, so there are no winners and losers.

No reading skills required, but it helps to develop social skills and the ability to see when others need help. If your child needs to work on empathy and “theory of mind,” cooperative activities are a great start! The cash back when shopping online through For the Schools at this store was 5%!

So there you have it! In just minutes I was able to find three gifts for autistic kids, all from stores I would shop at every day. All were gifts under $20 – plus there was a cash back, and a donation to my community. It is possible!


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