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The Best Gifts This Holiday Season

Wrapped sensory friendly present for children Wrapped sensory friendly present for children

Tis the season for holiday shopping! The search for the perfect gift to bring delight to our little ones can be daunting. There are so many toys available, both in stores and virtually. Finding that ‘special’ toy feels overwhelming. The pressure can be heavy when our children may have a particularly narrow focus of things they like. And, because we all learn when we are having fun, regardless of our age, we want five toys to be fun also. Below are five qualities of toys, and how to introduce them so they contribute to your child’s development, learning, and, most importantly, grow your relationship with your child. Every child is going to engage with a toy in their unique way and as playful adults, we always want to join in on the fun and play with the child too!

1. Sensory

This is the texture, color or pattern, sound, smell, and taste of the toy. Every child has their own sensory preferences and knowing these preferences will help to ensure you choose a toy that the child enjoys. Active children will enjoy dynamic toys with bright colors, a variety of textures, and musical notes, and it will get them moving.

2. Coordination

This is the movement, balance, and manipulation the child completes to be able to play with the toy. It is important to find a toy that provides a slight challenge for the child’s movement without discouraging them from participating.

3. Visual Motor Coordination

This is the fine motor and visual coordination working together to complete a multiple-step activity. These might be puzzles, coloring, drawing, stickers, activity books, and stamps.

4. Pretend

This is the aspect of play that teaches children how to use real-life items in play. Again, finding your child’s interest in dress-up clothes, dolls, play sets of food, tools, beauty salon, fishing, veterinarian, farm, music, camping, or animals, make the possibilities of fun endless.

5. Exciting and Engaging

This is the MOST important part of any toy! The toy must be exciting for the child. If the child does not seem interested when he or she first opens the toy, it’s okay. Start with talking about the toy and showing the child how to use the toy. Help the child play with the toy, then play with the toy while the child is nearby, and then offer to take turns playing with the toy. Just have FUN! When the child sees your excitement and fun, that will make them curious and want to play with the toy too!

Play is FUN! So, regardless of the toy you choose, enJOY the time you spend together doing something you LOVE to do!

Happy Holidays!

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