Christmas is about 10 days away, and I have not finished my shopping. I seem to do my best work (and shopping) at the last minute. How much progress have you made? Are you like me and still looking for toys for the kids on your list? Thank goodness for Amazon prime!
I love shopping for toys- almost as much as I love playing with them. As a speech therapist, I buy with the intention of having fun and to teach skills. SLPs look for toys to help maintain attention, teach turn-taking, introduce new vocabulary, following directions, and much more.
So today, I thought I would share a few tips to help my fellow last-minute shoppers. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for toys:
1. Select a toy that is developmentally appropriate for the child’s age.
2. Limit noisy/ light up toys. As adults, we may think that a more technologically advanced toy would be best- particularly for teaching new skills and language. But talking or “noisy” toys often provide less opportunities for group play and inadvertently encourage solitary play (and less talking to others.) Talking toys can often become a distraction and children become entranced with the lights and sounds as opposed to the actual message being offered.
3. Don't forget about the classics. For toddlers and preschoolers, consider shape sorters, pop-up toys, toys cars/ trucks, and stacking rings and blocks. Classic toys like these encourage interaction with a partner and use of imagination. Baby dolls, Potato Head, puzzles, action figures, and cash registers are wonderful options too.
4. Child-size tool benches, play kitchens, grocery sets, dress up clothes, and tea sets are always a hit. Children can integrate their own language, they can role play, practice taking turns, use their imagination, and integrate problem solving skills into play.
5. Board games – they are fun and teach a tons of skills. Click here to read one of my earlier posts on the benefits of playing board games. Old school games may be deemed boring, but should not be discredited for their worth.
As you continue your quest for holiday toys, consider what the toy can do AS well as what skills it can teach. There’s nothing wrong with sneaking in some learning along with fun!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!