Holiday Toy Shopping

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Holiday Toy Shopping

The holiday season is approaching fast, and with that questions arise as to what toys are appropriate to buy my child?   Are they too old or too young for this toy?

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The holiday season is approaching fast, and with that questions arise as to what toys are appropriate to buy my child?   Are they too old or too young for this toy? One common challenge that parents face is buying toys based on their child’s age verses their developmental level. For example, if your child’s chronological age is 5 years old but he/she possesses skills at 2 year old level, then you want to look for toys that support their skill level.  We want parents to buy toys that are entertaining as well as build educational skills, fine/gross motor skills, social skills, and visual-perceptual skills. Below is a list of developmental milestones for each age range to keep in mind when choosing a toy.

6-12 months

·       Scoots and crawls (push carts, scooters, push toys)

·       Imitates sounds (musical/animal toys)

·       Looks at pictures and books

·       Uses hands to bang toys (musical instruments, blocks, rattles)

·       Understands cause/effect (light up/pop up toys, switches/buttons on toys)

1-2 years old 

·       Throwing balls

·       Fits toys into spaces (puzzles, peg boards)

·       Emerging pretend play (doll houses, kitchen aides)

·       Functional use of objects/tools (stacking blocks, utensils for feeding, crayons)

·       Distinguishing colors and shapes

·       Naming pictures and animals (matching games)

3- 4 years old

·       Jumping and hopping (trampoline, tricycles)

·       Turn taking and sharing (simple board games)

·       Copying letters and numbers (alphabet games)

·       Using tools for functional play (tongs, tweezers, scissors)

·       Pretend role/play (dress up)

5-7 years old

·       Balance and coordination (bicycle, sports sets)

·       Learning the fundamentals of reading, writing, and basic math

·       Encourage imaginative play (doctor kits, dress up, tea party set, tool set)

·       Improve finger dexterity and coordination (crafts, jewelry making, Legos)

·       Multiple direction board games (involving strategy & movement, Twister, Guess Who, Sorry)

8-11 years old

·       Hand-eye coordination (sports equipment)

·       Developing concrete reasoning (board games)

·       Group or social activities (team sports, clubs)

·       Imaginative/constructive play (building and creating imaginative play schemes such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc.)

Here is a list of resources that provide a selection of toys you can purchase this holiday season to meet your child at their level.

1. –Toy Guide for Differently Abled Kids









Another common question asked by parents is, “Is it okay for my child to play with technology.  If used appropriately, it can benefit children by increasing their educational level, communication skills, and visual motor skills.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their policy on Media and Young Minds recommending no more than 1 hour/day for children 2-5 years old.   They also recommend no screen time 1 hour before bedtime.  Please consider applications that will meet the needs and goals you have for your child


·       Hidden Curriculum for Kids                             

·       Bugs and Buttons

·       Dexteria

·       TeachMe

·       Fruit Memory Match Game

·       Bloom

·       Crazy Copy

·       Social Skill Builder


·       AutismXpress

·       Spelling Monster

·       5 Little Monkeys Wash the Car

·       My Playhome App

·       Giveaway: Learn prewriting skills with ready to print


Megan Hyman, MS, OT/L
Outpatient Pediatric Program Coordinator
Brooks Rehabilitation

Shelby Heiser, OTS
Florida International University