A toddler roller coaster isn’t just a fun, fast thrill — it provides vestibular (movement) input, facilitates motor planning and develops postural control.
Board games aren't just for family game night — they promote fine motor coordination, finger strength and sportsmanship.
And a tunnel isn’t just good for a game of hide and seek — it also gives deep pressure input to foster body awareness.
All of these skills are necessary for kids to learn, grow and independently participate in daily life, and this time of year offers a great opportunity to focus on toys and games that will not just create joy and excitement but advance your child’s development as well. With the holidays quickly approaching and Black Friday deals already in full swing, I hope this guide will aid you in choosing gifts that promote growth and skill attainment.
As a pediatric occupational therapist and child development expert, I am here to help you choose the best toys for your child. (Click here to learn more about scheduling a personalized toy and play consultation.) From gross motor equipment to fine motor games to sensory toys, these fun gifts are sure to bring a smile to you and your kids!
These toys and games address gross motor coordination, gross motor planning, strength, endurance, balance, stability and postural control — all skills that are foundational for walking, running, riding a bike, and sitting at a desk or at the dinner table.
Therapy ball (45cm is the best size for most kids)
Balls or sports equipment
FINE MOTOR/VISUAL MOTOR
These toys and games address fine motor coordination, fine motor strength, visual motor skills, bilateral skills, grasping skills and fine motor planning — all skills that are foundational for reading, writing, and independence in self-care.
Coloring and activity books
Art supplies (pom poms, pipe cleaners, glue, scissors, beads, etc)
Spray bottles for use in the bathtub or outdoors
To successfully complete any task, the body must process sensation from the environment and respond appropriately. In fact, sensory processing is the foundation for learning, and nurturing a child's sensory system is crucial to development. Each sensory tool below has a unique function to help the body participate in everyday life.
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