Christmas is just around the corner, and we know you are starting to gather gift ideas for the little ones in your life! Consider these top developmental and therapeutic toy suggestions from the pediatric specialists at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.
Play-doh: If you’re looking for something to help with your child’s visual or motor skills, classic play-doh is an excellent choice. “Play-doh allows children to use their imagination while targeting strength and bilateral coordination when pushing, rolling, pulling apart or utilizing the vast number of extra manipulatives,” Madonna Pediatric Occupational Therapist Mary Kriha, said.
Puzzles are a holiday favorite both parents and kids can enjoy. “Puzzles are a wonderful gift that allow children to work on their visual-motor skills, coordination, and grasp and release skills while working on problem-solving,” Kriha said. “The amazing thing about puzzles is the number of ways to grade them depending on your child’s age. From simple matching with large and small pegs to interlocking with two to 200 pieces.”
Books: No holiday gift list for little ones would be complete without books. According to Lacy Albrecht, a Madonna pediatric speech-language pathologist, books help introduce language to kids of all ages. “For babies to toddlers, look out for anything with various textures, music or lots of pictures that will grab their attention,” Albrecht said. “As they grow, you can have them comment on what they see in the pictures, like a dog, a hat or a ball. Then you can add descriptive words to expand their vocabulary, too. For school-aged kiddos, they will love books that they can actually read!”
Push Toys: And last, but not least, Madonna Pediatric Physical Therapist Mandi Weiner recommends push toys or walkers for toddlers to help them develop their gross motor skills.
“Gross motor skills are those large movement skills such as walking, running and jumping,” Weiner said. “I like the push toys that have an activity center on the front so your child can work on their sitting balance while playing with the toy before they are ready to take those first steps. Look for a push toy that has wheels with adjustable tension. Otherwise you can always strap a wrist or ankle weight somewhere on the toy to slow it down a bit while your kiddo is learning to walk.”
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