Choosing a gift for a child during the holidays can be fun, but it can also be an overwhelming experience when you walk into the toy store and see so many different possibilities. You may often think, which toy is the best for my child? Toys can help a child explore the world, gain new knowledge, increase fine motor skills, and improve language and social skills. The American Occupational Therapy Association published a checklist about what to look for in a toy to further help develop skills.
- Blocks– The possibilities are endless when using blocks. You can practice fine motor skills by stacking, engage in pretend play by building houses, castles, etc., discuss colors, and use prepositions to talk about where you’re putting the blocks.
- Lacing Beads in a Box– By: Melissa and Doug- Practice fine motor skills by having your child string the beads on a string. You can also talk about the colors, numbers, and shapes of the beads, take turns putting the beads on the string, and practice one to one correspondence while counting the items on the blocks.
- Band in a Box Drum! Click! Clack! By Melissa and Doug- Kids can pretend like they are in a band, play the instruments along to music, dance and engage in turn taking with others.
- Puppet Theater By: ALEX Toys Floor Standing Puppet Theater- Children can put their imagination to work while engaging in pretend play and putting on a puppet show. This also aides in executive functioning skills as kids must plan the storyline of the show ahead of time, pick the puppets needed for it, and then act it out in the show.
- Discovery Putty, By: Fun and Function– Kids love to play with putty and with this putty they can discover different animals too! This unique product can spark conversations about animals including describing animals, talking about sounds they make and where they live. Using putty can help strengthen hands which is needed for fine motor skills. Playing with putty can also aide in self regulation as it can help keep little hands active and therefore increase focus on tasks, as well as be a fidget toy when they become overstimulated or agitated.
- Learning Resources Crocodile Hop A Floor Mat Game– Your child can practice gross motor skills, turn taking, following directions, problem solving, and have a blast with friends playing this life size board game. Kids take turns rolling the dice, and hopping down the river to get to the other side. The board has different colors, shapes, and numbers to help get in practice with basic concepts in a fun way!
Melissa Marblestone, M.A., CCC-SLP