Tis’ the season!
If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, fear not! We are here to help with a list of therapist-favorites for your little ones!
Click on the toy’s name to be linked to a website to purchase. Many of these toys can be found on multiple sites and stores so we recommended looking around for the best deal.
String Along – A great toy for reinforcing mature pencil grip. The child uses a tool to create designs and pictures. It can be used with a wide range of ages. Copying designs helps develop visual perceptual skills. String Along makes a great car toy. Reusable, plus it is fun to pull out string to start over.
-Bonnie Hacker, MHS, OTR/L
Design & Drill– This is a great toy for addressing fine and visual motor skills. Your child can practice coordination skills to set up the drill, nail, and push it into the board. This toy is also great for pretend play, pre-academic skills (counting nails, sorting colors, creating patterns).
-Katie Fletcher, MS, OTR/L
Stomp Rockets – I love this toy for so many reasons! You work on things like shared attention and turn-taking to articulation (think: making targets with your “target” sounds) to language (think: prepositions – where did the rockets land? In/on/under/next to…). Options are limitless!
-Anna Housman, MS, CCC-SLP
Chomp – This is a fun, simple turn-taking game that we use for kids as young as 3 or 4 up through 8 or 9 years old. Reading skills are not required. We use it to work on turn-taking, winning and losing, articulation skills like the sh and ch sounds, and sentences (ex: The shark eats shrimp).
-Kelly Goad, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Director of Speech-Language Pathology
Hiss -Another fun, simple card game appropriate for young children (up to about 7 years). This game targets turn-taking, color matching, counting and some strategy. Reading is not required.
-Janet Marron, MED, CCC-SLP
Melissa and Doug Sliced Wooden Sandwich Making Set – I love this game for all of its versatility! You can work on problem solving, sequencing, bilateral coordination, grasping, pretend play…and more! This company has a wide range of similar toys on different themes – cookies, ice cream, and even sushi!
-Brittni Winslow, MS, OTR/L
Clinical Director of Occupational Therapy
Squigz -This is a fun a creative toy that allows children to work on so many skills! You can work on hand strengthening, color sorting, reaching, bilateral coordination, grasping…and so much more! The pieces can connect to any non-porous surface or together to build silly creatures and figures!
-Brooke Brees, MS, OTR/L
Marble Run -There are so many skills you can work on with this toy while having a ton of fun at the same time! Problem solving, counting, colors, language concepts (on, up, under), making requests, answering yes/no questions, fine motor skills…the list goes on and on. Children love seeing their finished product, and it’s super fun to watch the marbles roll through their creation. Google “Marble Run” for a variety of prices.
-Erica O’Connor, MS, CCC-SLP
Don’t Break The Ice – This classic Hasbro game is appropriate for children as young as 3, but it can be enjoyable for older kids as well. Part of the challenge with this game is setting up the blocks, which takes good fine motor strength and coordination. Knocking the blocks out with the hammer can be quite gratifying, and the anticipation of seeing the blocks falling down is a great opportunity to engage and share joy with your children.
-Andrew Klein, MS, OTR/L
Dry Erase Board -A dry erase board provides an endless amount of creative opportunities and fun! This dual-sided design features both a lined side and plain side to offer twice the amount of creative space to work on drawing, handwriting, and game skills. A dry erase board is also a great way to create a changeable visual schedule that you can update as the day goes on or when the plan changes to reflect what’s coming up next.
-Lauren McCoy, MS, OTR/L
Hoppity Hop Ball -Hoppity hop balls are great to use outside on sunny days and insides on rainy, snowy, or cold days for vestibular and proprioceptive input. Hoppity hop balls can be enjoyed by children of all ages and even adults, too! You can use it in a relay race, get to and from rooms/locations, sit on top of it as an alternative seating arrangement, roll the ball along a child’s back for a massage, and more. It’s a great way to work on postural control, endurance, provide sensory input, attention, body awareness, and balance.
-Megan Seto, MS, OTR/L