OT Approved Holiday Gift Ideas: 2021 Edition

Categories: Resources
The holiday season is upon us!   When shopping for our kids, we may not only want to pick a gift they will love, but may also want to pick a gift that can support their developmental or sensory needs. It can be hard to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and sometimes we can use a little inspiration. In this post, I will share some fun gift options and why I think it’s great from an OT perspective.  I will include recommended age ranges,  but it is also important to consider other developmental factors when choosing a gift.  Everything on this list is under $100, with most items being much more affordable. Please also check out my previous gift idea posts here and here, as well as this post highlighting outdoor toys for additional inspiration.   Let’s jump in!

Sensory Boxes

  • Price: $15-20 on Amazon, click here to view.  Multiple variations available.
  • Age range: 3 and up

I think these are a great idea, especially for sensory seekers!  I love that everything comes ready to use in a cute package that can easily be used at home or on the go.  Sensory bins promote development of the tactile system, creative play and fine motor skills.  I have seen versions of these sensory boxes at various stores, the one pictured was purchased on Amazon.  There are many different themes available, which makes it easy to find a box that works for everyone.  

Pop Its

  • Price: Varies, click here for a wide range of options on Amazon
  • Age range: Varies, some of the larger one piece Pop its can be used with children as young as 12 months.  Other options, especially those with additional small pieces, should be utilized by older children.

Pop its are all the rage right now.  They are super fun and popular but also provide some awesome fine motor work and sensory input.  You can find pop it ANYTHING these days.  Phone cases, keychains, game boards, bracelets – you name it and there is likely a pop it version!  All it takes is a quick Amazon search for all your pop it needs.  I recently picked up this Pop It Tetris game for my boys and I think it will be a big hit.

Ready to Write: Color Sorting Kit

  • Price: $24.99 at Lakeshore Learning, click here to view
  • Age range:3-6 years

Anything that requires the use of a tweezer is an awesome, fun way to work on fine motor skills and strength.  This color marble sorting activity from Lakeshore Learning is a hit in my house.  There are other options available, including games that involving picking up items to ‘feed’ the animals and a gumball sorting game.  Any of these would be great options for younger children who are preparing for the increased fine motor demands of school.    


  • Price: varies from roughly $50-100 for starter kits, and anywhere from $20 and up for additional games.  Check out all the options here
  • Age range: 3-12 depending on the specific set

My boys (7 and 4) have loved using their Osmo over the past year.  The Osmo uses a special camera and base to turn your tablet into an interactive game.  It works with an iPad and even a Fire Tablet.  I love that there is a hands on component to the Osmo that works in sync with the app. The various games target a variety of skills, such as drawing, letters, numbers, coding, science and math.  For example, my preschooler loves his beginner Osmo set, which has manipulative pieces used to build letters and numbers.  My older son has been enjoying the coding set, which uses a variety of puzzle like pieces with simple shapes that teach young children the very basics of coding.  In order to get started, you would have to purchase a ‘starter kit’ that includes the special camera and base (as well as a game).  From there, you can purchase stand alone games to add to your collection.     

Clip Connect Blocks

  • Price: $16.99 on Amazon, check them out here
  • Age range: 5 and up

Blocks are always a great choice as a gift.  There are so many different kinds and I love exploring all the new varieties that pop up.  These clip connect blocks are small and almost flower shaped.  They require a good amount of bilateral coordination and hand strength to put together, which can be awesome for kids who need to work on those skills but also potentially frustrating, which makes these a better choice for older kids or those with a little more developed hand strength.  I love the endless possibilities for creativity and problem solving that these blocks provide.  These would make a fun addition to your block collection. 

Activity Books

  • Price: many options for under $10, check out options similar to those pictured here and here
  • Age range: all ages depending on variety

Activity books are a great stocking stuffer and I love that there is a match for kids, teens and young adults of all ages.  My kids have been loving this paint by sticker option lately, and I love that it is no mess and works on their fine motor and visual perceptual skills!  For older kids, you may look into these search and find books, word finds and Sudoku activities.

Fine Motor Boards

  • Price: around $20 on Amazon, check it out here
  • Age range: 3 and up

These activity boards work on a variety of skills, including fine motor skills and problem solving skills.  Even though my kids are a little older, they still enjoy working these boards and opening up the doors.  There are a variety of activity board options out there, so you are sure to find something that works for any child on your list.

Happy Shopping!


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