Holiday Gift Guide: OT/s Edition

Hey readers, welcome to The 12 Days of Blogmas! Day 1 is a holiday gift guide, curated by me, an occupational therapy student. Stay tuned for a blog post everyday until Christmas (holiday and non-holiday related). Here are 5 fun and functional gift ideas for the friends and loved ones on your list.

Adaptive Technology

The Amazon Alexa and the Google Home are both great adaptive technology gifts for anyone on your list. I love that these can be programmed to turn on/off lights, lock/unlock the front door, check the weather, read notifications, and more! For individuals who experience fatigue or limitations in mobility, using technology like the Amazon Alexa or the Google Home can help the individual to be independent and conserve energy.

Crafts & Hobbies

Crafts and hobbies can be great ways of working on fine motor and cognitive skills while also having fun. For your crafty friends and family members, consider a puzzle, needlepoint or knitting kit, or paint supplies. Not only will doing these activities work on and maintain fine motor and cognitive skills, but they also may improve mental health and quality of life simply by allowing the person to participate in a meaningful occupation.

Sensory Toys

For kiddos who seek additional sensory input (or those who you are trying to introduce new sensory input to), try out some of these ideas: Kinetic sand, bubbles, or a trampoline. Kinetic sand (there are many versions of this online) provides tactile sensory input, and you can even hide beads or other small objects in it for the child to search for. Bubbles provide visual input and can be a great stocking stuffer. Look for smaller wands to work on fine motor skills. Trampolines provide proprioceptive input. Kiddos who seek this kind of sensory information throughout the day can do this for a few minutes as a sensory break before going back to an activity that requires attention and a “calm body”. Another fun thing to do would be to take your kiddo to a trampoline park for an afternoon. I have noticed these popping up all over MA, and they are really fun!

OT Tools

Some basic OT tools that your friends or family may benefit from include theraputty, an ergonomic mouse or keyboard, or a planner. Theraputty can be used if recommended by an OTR/L for hand and finger strengthening. An ergonomic mouse or keyboard may be beneficial for someone who works at a desk all day and is starting to experience pain in their wrist, arm, hand, or fingers. If so, they should schedule an appointment with an OTR/L. We are nearing the end of 2019, and I always love getting a new planner around the holidays. Planners can be helpful for daily, weekly, and monthly planning and prioritizing, which are both energy conservation techniques. They can also serve as a cognitive memory support.

Relaxation & Balance

Part of occupational balance is taking time to yourself to relax. These items can also be used to prepare for and enhance rest and sleep. This is the essential oil diffuser that I use and love, and lavender is my favorite scent to diffuse when I want to relax. I am also slowly making the transition to a less-toxic lifestyle, and Young Living has come highly recommended to me for non-toxic essential oils. I also love the company Follain for non-toxic bath and body products such as face masks, bath salts, and body creams. Finally, consider treating your friend or loved one to a massage or facial. Not everyone has the means to treat themselves to a spa day, but I’m sure they would love to receive one. This is a great way to relax and pamper your loved ones.

Happy Holidays!

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