Holiday gift giving can be tricky to juggle when providing educational toys that also happen to be fun for your children. Here is a list of suggestions that is seperated by Ages, Sensory Considerations and Fine and Gross Motor Skill Development.
Holiday Toys for Infants (0-1yr)
“Tummy time” offers strengthening of the back, core and neck muscles that are critical to a baby’s development. There are many tummy time mats on the market to help this important position be a part of your everyday routine,
• Tummy time play mats; $14.99 – $24.99
Babies enjoy exploring environments that are filled with music, colors, lights and a variety of textures. Cause and effects toys are great for developing fine motor skills as well as eye-hand coordination such as,
• Fisher-Price Little Superstar Classical Stacker (6mos & up); $13.99
Providing infants with teethers and rattles of a variety of shapes, sounds and textures will assist in their exploration of their environment as well as help sooth those teeth coming in.
• Toy gift set by SassyBaby; $16.00; Holiday
Gifts for Toddler (1-3 yrs)
Bowling is great for gross motor development, even better when adding a sensory component such as furry pins!
• Monster Bowling by Melissa and Doug; $24.95
Puzzles are my personal favorite to build visual-motor skills as well as organization and fine motor skills.
• ‘Melissa and Doug’ has products to serve a variety of skill levels from peg and chunky puzzles, to thick 24 piece puzzles with wooden pieces for lasting durability; $9.99 and up
Bath time is a great opportunity for sensory play. This age is fun as they learn shapes, colors, animals, letters and more! It is an easy time to incorporate different smells, textures, shapes, colors and sounds to their learning experience.
• Foam bath shapes (alphabet set); $16.95
Holiday Toys for Pre-K (3-5yrs)
Hopping games that have a clear target for children to aim for improves their coordination and balance. Hopscotch boards often include puzzle pieces to work on children’s visual motor skills as well!
• Foam hopscotch; $24.95
Participating in activities on vertical surfaces is great for fine motor development. This specific easel provides a magnetic dry-erase board and a chalkboard for hours of fun!
• Step2 Easel for Two; $49.99
Bins, boxes and wagons are a great source of heavy work for a sensory diet to address modulation, strengthening and motor planning. Carrying toys, groceries, or taking the trash out becomes fun with a creative carrier such as this,
• Kid’s Wheelbarrow by Radio Flyer; $39.99
Holiday Gifts for Early Elementary (5-7yrs)
Roller skates are great to work on balance and body awareness. They can be used inside and outside the house and many beginner skates come with adjustable difficulties for varying skill levels. Fisher price sells a red pair and Barbie pink pair.
• My First Skate by Fisher-Price; $24.99
Many games with small pieces will promote a fine motor pincer grasp that will enhance utensil grasp and handwriting. This specific game challenges many skills such as color sorting, sequencing, fine motor grasp and turn taking.
• Egg Scramble Challenge Game, $20.99
For sensory defensiveness there are many products that can address finger strength and provide input to hands without the “ick” feeling of slimy silly putty.
• Glow in the dark PlayFoam; $13.99
Holiday Toys for Elementary (8-12yrs)
Adding music and new moves adds fun to this classic game of concentration, coordination and balance.
• Twister Moves by Milton Bradly; $18.00
There are many games that combine strategy with small pieces to enhance visual motor and fine motor skills.
• Rush Hour by Thinkfun; $20.00
Weighted blankets, wraps, and lap pads provide calming affects to children with sensory processing difficulties.
• There are many products on the market as well as recipes to make your own. Pricing depends on size and weight ranging from $64.95 – $280.00. Here are a couple of resources:
*Discuss with your Occupational Therapist about proper use and weight for your child.
Holiday Toys For All Ages
Here is a great tool for getting through winters. Equipment includes two types of swings and a trapeze bar to hang from a doorway support bar, holds up to 175 pounds.
A fun and interactive toy that will captivate attention and entertain for hours. (ages 5 – 10)
• Gears! Gears! Gears! Lights & Action Building Set, $54.99; www.learningresources.com
Great for calming an over-stimulated sensory system; this machine will transform any room into a star- gazing spectacle.
• Laser Stars Projector by Can You Imagine; $100.00