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50+ OT-approved holiday gifts for kids that promote both fun and development

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.


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. 


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.

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services Associates Program. When you make a purchase using these affiliate links, I receive a small commission on the item at no extra cost to you. You can read more about the Amazon Associates Program here.

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