It is a delicate balance between wanting to make your ADD or ADHD foster, bio or adopted kids happy for the holidays, keep them occupied and out of YOUR hair, and avoid overstimulating them.
Of course you want to look for items that are age appropriate and sensitive to any learning or physical difficulties they may have, as well as any other special needs or issues that need management like post traumatic stress issues (for instance you might want to stay away from toys that make loud, abrupt noises.)
For the most part though, you would want to look for toys and games that will stimulate the mind and senses without "revving" up the kids to the point of no-return.
Sites like ADDitude (Living Well with Attention Deficit) recommend gifts like the Wii Kinect that features games that get kids up and physically active in game play. Pick up some sports, fitness and dance titles to get the party started Christmas morning.
Don't forget even though it's cold outside in many places, dressing for the weather means they can still have fun outside. Think about sleds, ice skates, snow fort kits, and snow ball shooters. Remember sunshine is important for everybody to avoid the winter blues so getting the kids outside to enjoy time together is vital. Mom and Dad, get out there with them and build a snowman and burn off that excess energy with a snowball fight. Take lots of pictures to remind the kids of the wintertime fun later.
Lego's and the other building-block type toys are no-miss gifts for kids of all ages and will occupy hours and hours of playtime.
Teens will enjoy stuff for their computers and software that combines educational and game play plus organizational lessons are perfect for ADD kids. Colorful computer organizational software makes it fun to stay on top of school activities and homework and introducing teens to creative hobbies like digital photography and photo editing software may even inspire a future career!
A computer-journal program can be a priceless tool for a teen whose moods can be unpredictable and give them an outlet to express their feelings in a novel way that they may relate to and use more regularly than a paper and pen mood diary.
If you are receiving children into your home in the months of November and December, it may be the first time they are away from their families for the holidays. Spending extra time with them and providing some one on one time will mean so much more than any gift and can help during this difficult time of transition for them.
Good luck with your holiday shopping and keep your eyes open for this months special blog postings on handling your special kids during the holidays!