OT Approved Holiday Gift Ideas: 2020 Edition

Categories: Resources

The holiday season is fast approaching!  While this year’s celebrations may look different, you will likely still find yourself searching for the perfect gift for your child, niece/nephew, student or friend.  Not only will you want to pick a gift they love, you may also want to pick a gift that could support development.  A few years ago, I did a general gift list with toys and recommendations that you can find here.  Last year, I specifically highlighted gift ideas for sensory seekers which you can check out here.

This year, I am going to share ten new ideas that could be appropriate for kids of various ages.    I will include a link to the toy and some reasons why I think it’s great.   I included recommended age ranges, but it is also important to consider other developmental factors to ensure the child can engage with the toy safely.  I linked mostly to big retail stores, but many of these toys and other amazing gifts will be available at your local toy stores too, who need your support more than ever this year!

1. Subscription Boxes

  • Age range: 3 and up
  • Price: varies

Subscription boxes have been a lifesaver this year since we have been spending so much more time at home! My kids (6 and 3) have subscriptions to Kiwi Co and Little Passports.  They get so excited when their new box arrives in the mail and the activities keep them engaged for an extended period of time.  

The boxes typically have a different theme every month and often incorporate a wide variety of skills and activities, including hands on building, sensory activities, reading and games. Additionally, visual and written directions are included and the activities require varying levels of adult support. Most companies allow you to choose the frequency of deliveries.   There are so many options available, from sensory play to art to coding and everything in between, so there is likely a subscription box that is right for people of all abilities on your list!

2. Fort Builder

  • Age range: 4-11 years
  • Price: 49.99 at Lakeshore Learning, click here to view

This fort builder looks awesome.  Not only will kids work on fine motor, motor planning and problem solving skills while building the fort, the final product can be an awesome hideaway for those who may get overstimulated and need a safe space to retreat.  

3. Lincoln Logs

  • Age range: 3 and up
  • Price: $29.99, click here to view

A classic toy!  These are great for working on fine motor, motor planning and pretend play skills.  This kit includes step by step building instructions and additional building ideas as well.  

4. Water Blocks

  • Age range: 3- 6 years
  • Price: $29.99 at Lakeshore Learning, click here to view

I love a good block set, and when a sensory component is added too, even better!  These blocks are so cool – they can be used in a water table, bathtub or a pool.  The water helps them stick together.  My kids love building a ton of different structures with these blocks, and the added excitement of the water is a fun bonus.

5. Pretend Play Sets

  • Age range: 3 and up
  • Price: varies, most between $20-50, browse here

I came across these play sets at Target and I think they would make awesome gifts.  Each set has a theme with materials to go along with it, which is great for expanding play skills.  Many have a fine motor component too which makes me happy as an OT!

6. AlphaBots

  • Age range: 3- 8 years
  • Price: $29.99 at Lakeshore Learning, click here to view

These toys are so cool for the Transformer loving kids in your life!  These letters transform into robots.  This is an awesome toy set that can work on fine motor skills, letter skills and pretend play all at the same time!  There are also Numberbots available too.

7. Marble Maze

  • Age range: 4 and up
  • Price: $34.99 at Target, click here to view

This is one of the top toys on my 6 year old’s list.  The marble maze works on problem solving, creativity, motor planning and fine motor skills.  The various pieces will allow for many different combinations of tracks to be made, allowing for repeated fun!

8. Bubble Machine

  • Age range: 3 and up
  • Price: $10 at Target, click here to view

Bubble machines can provide endless fun.  They tend to make a lot more bubbles at one time, and kids love chasing them, stomping them and popping them!  This is a great toy to work on language and social engagement as well!

9. Travel Games

  • Age range: varies
  • Price: varies, but most under $10

While we may not be doing a lot of traveling right now, the smaller size of some of these games is great for fine motor skills!  There are so many options you can find in the game section of any store!  I have Simon and Connect 4 and my kids love them. The Pop It game from Target has an awesome sensory component as well.  

10. Gross Motor and Outdoor Toys

  • Age range: varies
  • Price: varies, but you can get most for under $100

This winter, we will likely be spending a lot more time at home, Therefore gross motor and outdoor toys can be even more beneficial than usual!  Some of my favorites include: trampoline, tunnelslide, bike, sit n spin, ball pit, or even a subscription to Cosmic Kids Yoga!  You should be able to find some awesome, affordable options no matter what you are looking for!

What are you planning on buying this holiday season?  Happy shopping!

This blog is for informational purposes only.  Please supervise children appropriately.


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