Clever and Creativity Stimulating Gifts for Sensitive Kids (and most kids)

Think across gender norms as well.


I picked up free “end runs” from a local newspaper when my daughter was young & used them for murals created by her birthday party guests. It was a good gathering activity as the children were arriving and it makes a great gift as well.

I focused this year on things they can “use” or “do”.  Lots of art supplies and sensory things, like even a bag of beans and dry pasta for their sensory table lol. Also normal things I’d get them without a holiday – hats, socks, underwear, are their stocking stuffers.

This year I taught my kids how to make a Filipino parol (star ornament for Christmas festivals here and in the Philippines). They are making a Filipino parols and handmade cards for our extended family.

Plywood, paint, and big paint brushes to paint over and over again: signs, murals, backdrops for plays (and of course a dropcloth.)

My aunt taught us to make bells out of soup can lids. You know, the round disc that comes off with the can opener? We used needle nose pliers to crimp each one (as if you were folding paper to make a fan but around the circle.) She poked a hole in the center and we threaded them onto string with some beads and they sort of jingled together. I still have some strings 45 years later!

Building projects–a half pipe or fort in the backyard. The supplies are the gift, maybe even a tool or two, and then the adult giver builds with the kids….Maybe the BMX bike to ride on the obstacle course.

A sewing basket (my child’s came from Grandma at about age 7.) It had everything in it: fabric/lace scraps, ribbons, buttons, a few sizes of elastic, thimble, needles, pin cushion, every color thread, that little metal measuring thing, a fabric marker, good scissors, a thread puller, and so much more. I use it all the time, lol.

Heavy things to lift or build with. Even real weights or pieces of lead or metal.

A (big for the child) tarp from the hardware store (or lots of small pieces of pvc or metal pipe).

Their own hose and sprinkler or spray nozzle.

The scrap lumber from the lumber store or a building site. All shapes and sizes.

Big sheets and blankets from Goodwill that are JUST for building indoor forts. (Build one with your household linens the week before and complain just a bit that now you have to wash and refold them.) Then they can do whatever they want with their fort linens…and learn to launder them when they want. 🙂

Cake/cookie decorating kit and frosting–that bag thing for piping that takes practice to learn to use. Add a lesson from a professional or a family member, or print instructions and then work together with youtube videos to learn. In San Rafael, CA, we have a place that offers summer camps in this skill!

Real tools, even for younger kids that you might not be inclined to let them use. Hammer and nails, screwdrivers (phillips and standard) and screws with a board that you have drilled small holes in so they can get started. A drill for teens.

A contractor’s light (really bright and small) or cool flashlights.

My family loves knives and so in middle school, my son got a pretty big survival knife (like from REI) with a sheath for his belt. He took it everywhere after being taught safety. On a big school hike in 7th grade, a parent had hid a birthday cake for the teacher with napkins, but no knife. The confederate parent on the hike brought out the cake, they sang to the teacher, but then a crisis–how to cut it. Survival knife to the rescue. The parent was mortified that a child had that knife, but as a highly sensitive child, he was able to manage it safely. We gave his not highly sensitive cousin the same knife, and he promptly went to the ER with a sliced hand.

A small battery clock for bedside that has a button to light it up. I like the ones by Sharp that are $5-10 and make no noises. Stopwatch, cube timer, and other fun timers that are not the phone.

Simple small tool box–all ages, and one for the teen’s car.

Small but mighty charging box that will recharge batteries, phones and even cars. Look up Moxie.

Wondering if you are highly sensitive?

Listen to a short talk on it.