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Our Take on Toys for the Holidays

Posted By Outpatient Pediatric Therapy Team


Toys! Toys! Toys!

With holiday shopping just around the corner, many are wondering what toys they should buy this year. With thousands of toys to choose from, picking the perfect gift for a child can be an overwhelming task.

The Outpatient Pediatric Therapy team at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has compiled a list of their favorite toys to help you get started! 

  • Toys that will spark curiosity and conversation, recommended by our Speech Language Pathologists:
  1. Dolls and action figures
  2. Farm play set
  3. Play food
  4. Bubbles
  5. Books
  • Toys that will cultivate fine motor skills, recommended by our Occupational Therapists:
  1. Magnets
  2. Play dough or putty
  3. Activity books: Cutting, writing, gluing, etc.
  4. Jewelry-making kit: Beads that can be popped or strung together
  5. Water Table
  • Toys that will encourage movement and play, recommended by our Physical Therapists:
  1. Rocket launcher: Child powered using stepping, stomping, jumping, etc.
  2. Shopping cart
  3. Ride toys: Adjustable 4-in-1 or 3-in-1 tricycle, balance bike, etc.
  4. Yoga pose cards
  5. Cause and effect light-up and/or sound toys: Musical instruments

Here are some additional organizations you might want to consider looking into*:

  • Melissa & Doug (this toy company’s website allows customers to shop by special needs, ages and skill levels). 
  • Spectrum Toy Store (a Chicago toy store with sensory toys, special needs products and adaptive equipment).
  • Lekotek (a national nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives of children with special needs through the utilization of toys and play. Also check out AblePlay).
  • Fun and Function (a company that provides kid-friendly sensory tools).
  • Discovery Toys (a “learning toy” company).

Remember, toys don’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, research shows that play with books and traditional toys is superior to play with electronic toys in promoting high-quality communication. Children just need experiences and interaction to build their fine motor skills, gross motor skills and language skills! If you have any questions on how to make these toys therapeutic, please contact us. Most importantly, have fun!

*Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is not associated with these organizations and does not endorse them or their products.

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