What to Buy a Three-Year-Old Who Can't Walk

Em's third birthday is right around the corner. I'm typically pretty awful at getting gifts for her because while she is three, she can't do a lot of things that other three-year-olds are doing, and so it's hard to find the balance of things that will challenge her, but not too much that she gets mad, and things that are "fun", but also not completely lame and make us feel embarrassed for gifting it to her in the first place. 

One of my favorite "special needs mommy bloggers" is Ellen over at Love That Max. Her son has cerebral palsy and she just shares so many stories that I can totally relate to. Each year around Christmas time she puts together really awesome and comprehensive gift guides full of things that other special needs children (including her own) may love. Since Em's birthday is coming up I spent last night going through the last seven years of her gift guides pulling things here and there that she may like, and figured I'd share for anyone else who is purchasing gifts for an immobile preschool aged child. 

1. Roody Inflateable Hopping Horse: We got Em a gift similar to this on her birthday last year, but it was a ride on bike for inside the house. She loved sitting on the bike and playing with toys or watching a show, but she grew too quickly and her knees hit the handlebars and it's now really uncomfortable for her to fit on. I think she would love this as a replacement!

2. Magformers: These toys are all the rage right now. I'm still looking for a good brand that has a good price to magnet ratio, but I think these would be perfect for Em to work with her hands and I think her and Jay would both love building with them.  

3. A Mini Trampoline: I know some of you are thinking "why the 'h' do you want a trampoline for a kid who can't walk?!" But Em has used this several times at PT and since she has killer arm strength she actually does pretty well on it. She's strong enough to hold herself up, and it's great for her legs too!

4. Rainfall Rattle: I mostly just think this would be a really calming and fun sensory toy for her to play with. 

5. Play Tunnel: Jay is the type of kid who at the age of almost five, would think that crawling through one of these tunnels would be a rare form of scary torture, but Em is such a thrill seeker, and I think she would absolutely love this!  

6. Hungry Hungry Hippos: It's hard to include Em in a lot of board games still, but I love that this one doesn't involve moving pieces around a board. All she has to do is hit the lever again, and again, and I can totally see this being the one game that her and Jay can play together without it ending in an all out brawl. 

7. A Cozy Coupe Car: Out of all the things on this list, this is for sure the big gift that we're getting Em this year of her birthday (and likely the only thing), but she has been in these cars so many times, and she absolutely loves them. I think that this would be an awesome way for her to "ride" something in the driveway while Jay rides his bike, meaning we can all be outside and happy together as a family. 

8. An Educube: These little cube chairs while expensive for what they are, really are awesome. They have two levels of support, depending on which way you have the seat, and they provide just enough side support that the child feels safe, and still easily included in other activities with kids. This would be awesome to use at a small kid's table for coloring, play-dough, board games, etc... 


  1. These are all such great ideas!! I remember how much I wanted one of those mini trampolines when I was a kid...

    xx Pia

  2. We have the tunnell and hungry hippo game and those were my 3 year olds favorites. If you are interested, I have a food blog geared towards busy moms who need to prepare quickc yet healthy meals. Em might like some of my recipes. My now 4 year old is very picky eater, but she loves quite a few of the recipes I have made.
    www.sugarbeartoast. com