Therapeutic Beginning’s Gift Guide 2021
Our therapists and staff at Therapeutic Beginnings have compiled a list of their favorite toys used within the clinic and their home. These gifts promote a variety of skills children need to aid in their development, while also being exciting and fun. It is our hope that it makes your holiday shopping a little easier this year. Happy Holidays everyone!
Mr. Christopher’s Top 4 Choices:
Ms. Emily’s Choice: The Nugget
Ms. Emily says “the Nugget is a 4-cushion set. It on the pricier side, but it has seriously been one of the best investments we've made for my daughter (especially during the pandemic and in our rainy climate). It can be used for both excitatory and calming activities.” She uses this tool at home with her daughter to build forts, obstacle courses, and slides down the stairs to promote gross motor skills and sensory regulation. Her favorite feature is that all the cushions are machine washable.
Another budget-friendly alternative is to utilize objects around the house, such as couch cushions, bean bags, and pillows to create a similar experience to the nugget.
Ms. Jill’s Choice: Roll and Play
Roll & Play is a plush cube and game card activity for children 18 months and older. In this activity, kids roll the dice to select a color and follow the simple directions on the colored card. It is a fun and interactive game to play as a family that encourages creativity, imitation, play skills, and gross motor skills. Children will also develop their color and number recognition, as well as language skills.
Ms. Leora’s Choice: Y-O-U
The best resource for your child’s play development: Y-O-U!
Ms. Leora states, “During this time of year, it is really easy to think about what we should get for our children that will both entertain them and be a great resource for their development. Toys that require motor planning, cause-and-effect understanding, creativity, and pretend play are all excellent. However, these toys will never hold a candle to their most important play resource: you. You reading to your child/having them read to you, pretend playing with them, having them teach you something, making up stories with them, planning and creating “obstacle courses” at home, doing creative crafts together, cooking together, playing side by side with them, acting out stories together, building something together and, yes, playing with a variety of toys with them are all crucial tools that will immeasurably help them as they develop and grow. So, as you navigate the holiday season shopping, keep in mind that you are the most amazing and beneficial play resource your child could ever ask for! “
For more information of stages of play and activities to do: https://va.gapitc.org/lets-play-stages-of-play-and-appropriate-activities-for-each/
Ms. Lexie’s Choice: Snap-Circuits
Ms. Lexie loves the Snap Circuits because it is a great STEM tool for promoting and practicing various executive function skills, such as organizing, planning, sequencing, sustaining attention, and problem solving. There are endless circuit patterns to make and explore that will keep your child engaged and learning. There are a wide range of kits varying in size and complexity for children ages 8+, with a beginner set designed for kids ages 5+.
Ms. Renae’s Choice: Lite Brite
Ms. Renae’s favorite toy to promote fine motor skills is the Lite-Brite! This fun and retro toy is great for children age 4+ and up, as it includes small parts. Children place small pegs into a board to illuminate the color and design. This activity promotes fine motor skills of eye-hand coordination, manipulation, pincer grasp, and dexterity, as well as visual-perception and visual motor integration.
Ms. Robin’s Choices: Fine Motor and Gross Motor Kits
Ms. Robin loves this Fine Motor Kit, as it can help children develop skills needed for utensil use, shoe-tying, cutting, handwriting, etc. An idea Ms. Robin has for home use is to place colored balls into the board while holding a few balls in your hand at a time to help with in-hand manipulation. She also suggests using tongs to manipulate and sort balls, placing items precisely with chopsticks, using the spoon to build up wrist stability, having children copy patterns to promote imitation skills, and....SO much more! This kit is suggested for children aged 3-6 years old.
This Gross Motor kit can be used indoors and outdoors. These activities promote motor planning, bilateral coordination, vestibular/proprioceptive input, balance, planning and sequencing, social skills, and interaction with reciprocal play with peers and siblings. This kit is recommended for children who are 5 years and up. For more budget friendly options, parents can purchase individual items for a smaller kit if desired.
Ms. Sarah’s Choice: Puppets
Ms. Sarah’s favorite toy in the clinic are Puppets. She has found great success in all age ranges, especially with the frog puppet. She uses puppets to target:
Ms. Tiffany says “I absolutely love craft/science kits for gifting! They provide an opportunity to get away from screen time, encourage some quality family time (parents and children can do it together), and often provide unique sensory experiences. They also allow children to work on direction following and sequencing in a fun way.”
Example below is a slime kit:
Amazon.com : Elmer's Color Slime Kit : Arts, Crafts & Sewing
Ms. Tina’s Choice: Board Games
Ms. Tina’s favorite toys are board games. These activities promote play skills (turn-taking, sharing, impulse control), fine motor skills (manipulation, hand strength, and coordination), and executive functioning skills (problem-solving, impulse control, following direction, etc.). Ms. Tina states “my favorite board games in the clinic for my younger friends (4-6 years old) are Don't Break the Ice and Sneaky Snacky Squirrel. Even setting up the pieces can be therapeutic, as kids must use their problem solving and fine motor skills to place the ice pieces in Don’t Break the ice. For my older friends, I love Blockus and Mastermind to work on visual-spatial skills, working memory, and problem solving.”
Here's to a wonderful holiday season! May your days be merry and bright!!