12 Great Gifts for a Toddler with Down Syndrome

Hi, it’s me, Junior. Last time I hacked my mom’s computer, I told you about stuff for a baby shower. But now that I’m a big boy (I recently turned 2 1/2!) I’m here to tell you about my favorite things for a  toddler… with or without T21.

Learning to walk:

1. Faux Leather Folding Ottoman

What? No bells or whistles? What’s this ottoman about? Well, it’s the best thing for cruising! Babies with DS need to spend a lot of time cruising before they take their first independent steps. This ottoman is just the right height for cruising! My mom got three and lined them up to make a big long cruising platform. Then she would put a toy on one end and I would cruise all the way to it. Sometimes she would put them side by side with a gap inbetween so I could practice pivoting between them. Then she would slowly increase the distance between the the ottomans to encourage me to take my first step. It wasn’t long before I did… and now I’m running!

2. Fisher Price Push toy

Here are the bells and whistles! It took a while before my PT said I was ready for this, but when I was, it helped me to keep my balance while I practiced walking.

3. Ikiki Squeaky Shoes

These are so much fun because they squeak when I walk! To get the squeak, I have to walk heel to toe. Even better, they’re nice and wide for kiddos like me with wide feet. They’re also great for kids who need inserts and braces because the shoes open wide up. My mom thinks the best feature is that you can turn the squeaks off. I think the best thing about these shoes is all the attention I get when I’m wearing them. 🙂

Learning to Talk:

4. Talk With Me! The Big Book of Exclamations 2

Does your baby babble a lot? Babbling is an important step to learning how to speak. Here’s a fun book to help your baby learn to babble. The pictures show babies and toddlers at home and in the park. Parents are shown how babies might babble in response to a situation.

5. What Does Baby Say? , The Babies on the Bus , and other books by Karen Katz

What Does Baby Say? is another great book for teaching the first babbling sounds. I used to love that book, but I’m happy to say that I have mastered all the sounds!

The Babies on the Bus is my favorite book right now. I love it when my mom sings the words and we do the actions together. I even sing along when I can. There is so much repetition in this book that I get to practice lots of different sounds.

Play Time:

6. Stacking Cups

I’ve played with these over and over and over. Only problem? I keep losing the cups. Good thing they’re only $4!

7. Bead Roller Coaster

Here’s my favorite play-pen toy. I’ve been playing with this every day for months and I’m still not tired of it. Mom thinks it’s good for fine motor skills. I think it’s just plain fun.

8. Doug and Melissa sound puzzle

Oh, how I love anything that makes music! You put the piece in and it plays “Old Mac Donald” to the sound of the instrument. It’s my second favorite play-pen toy.

9. My First Touch and Feel Picture Cards

My Mom got these for me when I was a wee little baby, and I still really enjoy them. They’re great for building vocabulary, but what I really like is pulling the cards out of the box one at a time and putting them back in. There are other sets too: Numbers and Counting, Shapes and Colors, and Animals.

10. Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank

There are so many ways to play with this piggy: count the coins while you put them in, name the colors, sort the coins, and, of course, dance when the piggy sings.

11. Doug and Melissa Fold and Go Farm

There’s so much I can do with a play farm: learn the names of the animals, imitate animal sounds, learn about “in” and “out”, “high” and “low”. My speech therapist says pretend play is really important for building pragmatic (social) language skills, so my mom and I play with our farm a lot.

12. Wooden chair

Kids with low tone need a lot of support when they’re working hard. When I’m trying to focus on a task, it helps to have my feet flat on the floor and my back well supported. This chair is shorter than the usual toddler chairs, so my feet don’t dangle.


There you have lots of different gift ideas for little folk like me. Hope your kiddos have as much fun with them as I do!

xoxox — Junior

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