Holiday Gift List Ideas

December 4, 2019

The wonderful time of year has arrived with colors, bells, sights, and smells.  The holiday season is upon us which can bring a tidal wave of toys and treats.  You may be wondering what to get your child that will help them learn and grow or you may have many people asking for a list and you are stumped.  Learning toys, activities, games, and books are a great way to help your child grow and develop.  With all the options out there finding the perfect holiday surprise that checks the box of helping your child and is also fun can be a challenge!  This year we are going to set out to help you find some ideas for your children that will help them grow and develop that they will love and you will feel good about because you know it is helping them! 

We will have gift lists to target ideas for your sensory loving child that will be sure to excite, delight, and organize your child.  Check for lists of vestibular, proprioceptive, fidget, visual, auditory, and oral toys.  Vestibular toys help your child get movement both linear (in a straight line) and rotary (spinning).  This movement is essential to helping your child’s brain grow and develop and allows your child to learn at their optimum level.  Proprioceptive toys help your child use their muscles and do a type of activity called heavy work. Proprioception is one of the senses responsible for organizing the brain and making it ready to learn and increase focus.  Fidget toys are intended to be a tool to help children who are constantly seeking sensory input, also known as sensory seekers.  These children need constant sensory input to help their brains stay focused.  A good way to do this while seated at a table, in a car seat, or at circle time is using a fidget because it give quiet input to the touch system, known as the tactile system, and allows the child to focus.  Visual toys and devices can be used to create focus or increase attention to a task.  This acts as a prompt for the child to complete the task they need to and also promotes independence which is imperative in learning.  Auditory toys and devices can help kids block out unwanted sounds that may scare or distract them or can be used to increase focus during a game or activity.  Oral toys use the sensations in the mouth and tongue to create calm.  Some children using chewing, sour, or spicy sensations to help focus their brain for activities.  These make great stocking stuffers or treats for Christmas.  Overall, sensory toys can be a fun and stimulating way to help the brain grow and develop.

Another list we will provide will be to target developmental skills including gross motor, fine motor, language development, executive function, and visual perception.  These toys and activities will help your child grow and develop while having fun!  Gross motor activities include strengthening legs, core, and arms; motor planning the whole body; developing skills of running, jumping and climbing; advancing balance skills; and building endurance.  Fine motor skills are the skills that will be utilized in writing, utensil use, scissor skills, and crafts.  These skills include strengthening the core, stabilizing and strengthening the shoulder, strengthening the arm and wrist, working on the ability to utilize fingers, use different parts of the hand, and control fine movements of the fingers.  The toys to target this will work on some of these skills while allowing your child to have fun and be successful.  Language development activities will allow your child to grow their vocabulary, develop understanding of concepts involved in language and grammar, and help them understand social skills. Executive function is a fancy word for problem solving.  It involves several skills including starting a task, known as task initiation; moving between parts of an activity, known as task shift; storing information in your memory and using that for strategy, known as working memory; making a plan and utilizing it as strategy, known as plan and organize, and keeping track and managing a plan, known as monitor.  Visual perception deals with what your eyes see and how your brain interprets that information.  It combines being able to identify and objects position in space (identifying exactly how an object is positioned), figure ground (finding an object in a  busy background), visual closure ( the ability your brain has of identifying an object when part of it is hidden or missing), form constancy (realizing a shape is always a shape no matter if it is bigger, smaller, a different color placed in a different position or placed inside another object), eye hand coordination (being able to identify what something is doing and coordinate movements to complete a task this can include mazes, mosaics, crafts, and scissor skills), copying (the ability to see and object and draw that object), and spatial relations (the ability to see where something is in space and complete the task). 

Another of our lists will be specific to games which are a great fun tool to develop skills, gain social skills, and learn problem solving.  The ideas will include games for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary schoolers.  Games can include cooperative games (games in which you work together to accomplish the goal), chance (games in which the luck of the draw leads to a winner), and strategic (games in which you have a better chance of winning if you use strategy).

Books are unique because they offer fun, education, and most people interact with them daily.  We will have gift list including books that your children will enjoy and will help them learn and grow.  We will detail books for social development, tackle issues such as lying and being easily upset, and allow children to make choices to learn and grow. We will explore many fun options and split them by age to assist in your shopping for the holiday. 

Finally, we will have gift lists for stockings or for small holiday treats your family may utilize for tradition!  Many people love stockings but are not sure what to put in that will not end up in the bottom of a drawer.  This time of year boasts small toys and activities that are great for growing and developing and do not break the bank.  This may include crafts such as painting or coloring; sensory manipulatives such as squishy toys, slime, or kinetic sand; treats with strong flavors to stimulate the sensory system; and learning toys to help your child’s brain grow. This list will help find stimulating, fun, unique ideas that will support your child’s sensory and development needs. 

We hope our new series helps provide some fun ideas and decrease the stress of searching for the right toy or trying to come up with the best list when sharing with others.  Play is the job of children; to learn, grow, and develop.  We are grateful we can help find some fun things that bring your child joy and allow them to participate in their most important job of childhood! 


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