Every year, parents ask our therapists for advice regarding the best holiday gifts supporting early childhood development that might provide support to the various types of therapies we provide at Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy. This year, we asked our talented team of Occupational, Speech, and Physical Therapists to help us provide a list for parents of some of the best toys and gifts available for the sake of improving developmental skills.
Best Holiday Gifts Supporting Early Childhood Development and Physical Therapy
The following items were hand picked by Dr. Anita Shah who received her BA in Psychology from the University of Rochester, her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York University, and is currently a practicing pediatric physical therapist with us here at Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy!
1. 30 Children’s Yoga Picture Cards
Yoga offers parents, nursery and primary school instructors the ideal opportunity to integrate enjoyable physical activity and relaxation practices into the school day. In order to make it easier to deliver a child-friendly, creative, and relaxing yoga program, the 30 yoga picture cards with bite-size visualization aids are here to help.
The cards are divided into seven color-coded categories and ordered to lead the children from activation to relaxation, from easy warm-up sequences, through standing, hand-supported, seated, and floor poses, to the more dynamic counter-poses, and finishing with the relaxation exercises.
These cards can be ordered on AMAZON.COM for just under 15.00 and are available here: https://www.amazon.com/30-Childrens-Yoga-Picture-Cards/dp/1913088154
2. MOBI PEEKA TUMMY TIME MIRROR
Tummy time toys for babies 0-6 months like Peeka, help the development of your baby’s back and neck musculature as your baby is entertained. This baby mirror can add many minutes of play to your baby tummy time activity mat. With its textured beads and graspable handles, it aid in brain development and learning in a safe and effective manner.
The PEEKA is available on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/MOBI-PEEKA-TUMMY-TIME-MIRROR/dp/B07ZDL1GDW/ref=sr_1_1?
3. INFINNO INFLATABLE TUMMY TIME MAT
The soft, comfortable baby tummy time water mat is the perfect sensory toy for developing solid head, neck and shoulder muscles as well as refining the hand-eye coordination, fine motor and social skills. This toy is loaded with features which helped it earn its way onto our list of Holiday Gifts Supporting Early Childhood Development!
This mat is under $10.00 and is available on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/Infinno-Activity-Center-Stimulate-Growth/dp/B07XC6YCC5/
4. YEAYE CRAWLING CRAB
These crawling crab toys make tummy time fun and happy. Bright colors, sparkling lights, cheerful music and sideways walking are right in front of babies 0 to 6 months, attracting their attention, they love listening to music and can’t help waving their arms and legs following the music. it’s not only a great toy for babies to exercise their muscles, but serve as valuable learning systems to enhance their motor skills development
You can find these for around $20.00 on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/Crawling-Crab-Baby-Toy-Sensory/dp/B09VGG4H2Y/
5. FAT BRAIN TOYS PIPSQUIGZ
These innovative suction toys stick to each other and nearly any flat surface, then pull apart with a POP. PipSquigz encourage a child’s development of motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual thinking and concentration.
You can find these in a range of quantity and prices on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/2395F230-7094-42F8-977B-81057DA08F6A
6. ALASOU SUCTION CUP SPINNER
These suction cup spinner toys are built well and can help your little ones to reach out and develop hand eye coordination.
You can find these under $10.00 on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/Suction-Spinner-Spinning-sensory-toddlers/dp/B08X1YQ2N9/
7. UQXY 10″ SPOT MARKERS
Keep kids entertained for hours while enhancing their creativity and cognitive skills. Flat cone markers are a great alternative to traditional cone markers and work great in the home, the gym, or in classrooms. These floor spot markers are designed for optimal visibility and can be used for agility as well as simply targeting step goals.
You can find these under $20.00 on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/UQXY-Markers-Agility-Basketball-Training/dp/B09NDQZCMT/
8. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STEPPING STONES FOR KIDS
Perfect for kids 3+ and up to 150 lbs., these stepping stones can be used indoors or for kids outdoor play. These active sensory toys promote coordination skills & balance! Each stone has a non-slip rubber base and textured stepping surface for enhanced safety. Kids can focus on their balance and coordination as they safely jump from stone to stone and navigate their obstacle course. These fun stone looking stepping toys will help toddlers and kids develop their balance, coordination, and gross motor skills through active play.
You can find these starting around $25.00 on AMAZON.COM here: https://www.amazon.com/NATIONAL-GEOGRAPHIC-Stepping-Stones-Kids/dp/B0C95JJC33/
Best Holiday Gifts Supporting Early Childhood Development and Occupational Therapy
The following items were hand picked by Tori Tobin, OTR/L. Tori received her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy with Concentration in Interprofessional Education from Saint Louis University and is our newest Occupational Therapist here at Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy!
Squigz Suction Toys:
- These are great for fine motor coordination and hand strength as well as creativity and problem solving. You can find some here: Suction Cup Toy
Water Coloring Books:
- Great to work on prewriting skills, and the sensory component of water increases attention and interest! These are available almost anywhere, but there are quite a few on Amazon, Like this one!
Oball Easy Grasp Ball
- Encourages reaching, bilateral coordination, and stimulates auditory and visual systems. Can be used with a child on their tummy, sitting on a lap, or supported on the floor. Use this toy through a child’s development while your child is stationary, crawling, or walking. Click here for one of our favorites: Bright stars
Nesting and Stacking Cups
- Use these for reaching, grasping, visual tracking, and fine motor manipulation skills. Try these: Stacking cups
- This toy promotes fine motor skills, depth perception, hand-eye coordination, and midline play. Here’s an example!
Fine Motor Tool Set:
- The scissor scoops are especially great to help teach scissor skills in a safe manner, but the other tools also promote fine motor control and hand strength. Grab one here: 4 piece set
Froggy Feeding Fun:
- Promotes bilateral coordination, fine motor skills, color and number recognition. You can find one here: Frog Fine Motor Toy
Egg Matching Set:
- This helps to promote bilateral coordination, motor planning and fine motor coordination skills. It also helps work on matching colors. Here is a great Egg Set
Legos or other Stacking Toys:
- Either of these toys would be great! Anything to help with stacking or pushing together/pulling apart resistive objects (such as legos). These address visual motor integration, strength grading, fine motor coordination and problem solving skills. Check out these Legos, Colored Blocks, or Alphabet Blocks
Hippity Hop Ball:
- Therapy Balls like this one provides vestibular input and promotes core strength and postural stability.
- When this projector is turned on in a dim room, it’s calming and relaxing too, which helps support regulation! It can be purchased here on amazon
Pretend Play Food Set:
- These types of toys promote social pretend play skills. Here’s an example.
Any Fine Motor turn taking game that uses tongs
Best Holiday Gifts Supporting Early Childhood Development and Speech Therapy
The following items were hand picked by Brittany Dunn, SLP. Brittany received her Master of Health Science in Communication Disorders from Governors State University and has been a pediatric speech language pathologist for over a decade. She currently practices Speech Therapy here at Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy!
1. Baby Dolls with accessories:
Skills targeted can include pretend play, following directions, labeling body parts and/or clothing, and new vocabulary. Baby dolls are easy to find at almost any toy store.
2. Durable Animal Sets:
Playing with animal sets can increase vocabulary, help develop pretend play, nurture mimicking animal sounds, and can support learning to following directions. Think outside the box with these toys. You can stack them and make them fall down, give them play food, etc.
3. Rocket balloons:
Playing with these types of balloons can benefit vocabulary by including use of simple bilabial words such as push or pump. Try giving directives and use of auditory routines such as ready set go. These toys can also help practicing pronunciation of colors or simply encourage the child to requesting more.
4. Mystery Box Toys: (like these: CLICK HERE)
These toys can benefit vocabulary by practicing words like “open/close”, or can be used to practice matching, categories, counting, pretend play, and various other skills.
All of us here at Leaps and Bounds Pediatric Therapy are incredibly thankful for our wonderful patients. We hope you found this list of Best Holiday Gifts Supporting Early Childhood Development helpful, and that your family has a joyous holiday season.
As a reminder, this month brings a close to the open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace so if you have any questions regarding how your 2024 services might affect your insurance, or if you need to communicate insurance changes to us, please contact us as soon as possible.
We look forward to seeing you soon, and we wish you the best possible start to your 2024!