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Occupational Therapy Advice: A Gift Guide For Children

Posted by Brian Spence on Feb 19, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Occupational Therapy, Allied Health, Healthcare StaffingWhen it comes to gift-giving for children, going to a trusted occupational therapist is a great way to get feedback on toys that will improve a child's fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and sensory development. With their work in occupational therapy, they know exactly how to get the most out of play time.

Here's a simple guide to gift giving by age and senses.

Babies 6 months old and under. At this age, babies should be presented with toys that will stimulate their senses and encourage attention. You'll also want items that will help them get on their tummies, a step to crawling. Toys that are great for babies include:

  • play mat
  • soft rattles with contrasting colors
  • noisy toys that crinkle or squeak
  • colorful, soft fabric books
6 months to a year. Hand-eye coordination is key to develop at this age. The tools you'll want them to play with include:
  • bath toys
  • bubbles
  • toy musical instruments
  • stacking toys (blocks, cups, etc.)

Activity, energy, and movement. To increase endurance, coordination, and burn off energy, you'll want toys that encourage a fun and active lifestyle. This can include:

  • trampoline
  • hula hoop
  • balance board
  • games for movement and memory (ex. "Simon Says")

Pre-Handwriting. Children need to practice grasping and holding materials, in order to develop the find motor skills that come with learning to write. To build strength and control in the hands, give your child:

  • thick and short markers and crayons
  • games using tweezers (i.e. Operation)
  • bath crayons
  • stickers

With these types of toys, you can encourage early development of these skills that will help your children succeed. There are so many more gifts recommended by occupational therapists over at The Playbook, the official blog of the Hospital For Special Surgery.

To get more information on this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.  

Image by Stefano Tinti / Shutterstock


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