Have some fun and get a little messy! One of our expert Occupational Therapists discussed why messy play is important, provided tips for helping your child with touch sensitivities and even covered a few activity ideas for your kiddo to do at home!
As the holiday season approaches us, so starts the mad dash to buy everyone’s wish-list toys. Toy stores will provide you with a plethora of options from electronic gadgets to doll sets. But remember, toys can also help to improve skills, confidence and overall development! Before you go running to the stores, let’s stop and examine the toys that promote developmental skills from an occupational therapy perspective.
- Automoblox – Suitable for children 2+ years, Automoblox allow your child to explore their creative side! The interchangeable wheels, rims, tops, and bumpers promote manipulation skills.
- Tinker Toys – For ages 3+, this building set offers hundreds of options for creation as your child uses not only their fine motor skills, but their visual motor skills as well!
- Pop Beads – Pop them in and pop them out! These beads promote fine motor precision as your child becomes a jewelry designer. In addition, the resistive aspect of the Pop Beads improves fine motor strength.
- Spirograph – Your childhood comes back to life as you watch your child create beautiful circular patterns. As popular as ever, the Spirograph’s interlocking gears promote fine motor precision and control. Suitable for ages 5+.
4 Toys for Gross Motor Development:
- Rody Inflatable Hopping Horse– For children ages 3-5, this updated hippity-hop encourages posture and balance.
- Cat in the Hat I Can Do That Game– Can you tip toe around the Trick-a-ma-stick while balancing a cake on your head? I bet you can! This silly multi-player game encourages gross motor development through various animal walks and balancing activities. Great for ages 4-8.
- ALEX toys, Monkey Balance Board – This adorable board is great to practice balance skills, weight-shifting and leg strength. The durable wood is great for indoors and out, so this board will last you well into the next winter season! Great for little feet ages 3+.
- Skip-It – This 90’s game is still skipping strong! The Skip-It encourages gross motor coordination, balance, and encourages a child to separate the sides of their body, increasing body awareness skills.
4 Toys for Sensory Play Development:
- Lakeshore Scented Dough– Can your child tell the difference between the cherry and the grape? This dough encourages olfactory development as your child kneads, pinches and sculpts the dough into shapes and characters.
- Wonderworld Sensory Blocks– These little blocks, designed for children ages 18 months and older, encourage visual, auditory and tactile discrimination skills.
- Touchy Feely– A Marbles the Brain Store game, it encourages tactile discrimination for texture, shape, and temperatures.
- Melissa and Doug Deluxe Band Set – A mom-approved band for your child to star in! A great way for your child to control the amount of auditory stimulation in their environment and be exposed to various sounds!
4 toys for Executive Functioning Skill Development:
- Sequence for Kids– A family-friendly game for ages 3-6, this game is great for attention, problem solving, and as the title suggests, Sequencing skills! The best part, if you love it, you can buy the adult version as well!
- Busy Town Eye Found It – Richard Scarry’s beloved children’s book comes to life in an eye-spy inspired game. Race through Busy Town looking for hidden pictures promoting attention, cooperation and visual motor skills! Great for a group of kids ages 3+.
- Rush Hour – Help the red car get out of a traffic jam! For your older child (ages 8+), this game promotes problem-solving skills, sequencing, attention and organization.
- Simon Swipe– Follow the color pattern and focus on strengthening your attention, sequencing and memory skills! This game is great for solo play or to play with a friend! (ages 8+)
These are toys your kids will enjoy now, and they build skills that will last a lifetime! Happy holiday shopping from North Shore Pediatric Therapy!