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Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages, Approved by Occupational Therapists

Rogers Bridge » Occupational Therapy » Thoughtful Gift Ideas for Kids of All Ages, Approved by Occupational Therapists

The holiday season is rapidly approaching, and with it comes the delightful challenge of finding the perfect gifts for your children. Additionally, family members are sure to inquire about gift ideas. To help you make the right choices, we've compiled a list of valuable tips for selecting toys and activities for your kids:

  1. Less Clutter, More Creativity: Encourage open space for creativity and imagination by choosing toys that don't clutter their rooms or play areas.

  2. Multi-Purpose Options: Opt for items that serve multiple purposes. For instance, building blocks can transform into towers, animals, cars, or letters, fostering endless imaginative play.

  3. Easy to Clean: Consider the ease of cleaning and storage. Items that can be wiped clean tend to last longer and get more playtime.


Now, let's dive into our Occupational Therapist-approved gift guide for kids of all ages. We've included links to make your shopping experience even more convenient.

Table of Gifts by age (click the links below to jump to the toys by age):

table of gifts by age

0-12 weeks

0-12 weeks
  1. High-Contrast Books and Toys: High-contrast toys and books are essential for newborns. They feature bold patterns and black-and-white images that capture a baby's attention, promoting visual development. These items can be especially engaging during tummy time, providing a visual focus for the baby.

  2. Tummy Time Mat: Tummy time is crucial for building upper body strength and head control in infants. A comfortable and stimulating tummy time mat provides a soft surface for the baby to practice lifting their head, reaching for objects, and developing motor skills.

  3. Mirror: Babies are naturally drawn to their own reflection, and a baby-safe mirror during tummy time can encourage self-recognition and engage their visual and motor skills.

3-6 months

3-6 months
  1. Texture Books: Texture books offer a sensory experience for babies. These books often have crinkly pages, soft fabrics, and different textures for infants to explore by touch and feel, helping to stimulate their sensory development.

  2. Spinning Drums: Spinning drums or similar toys engage babies with auditory and visual stimulation. As they interact with these toys, infants develop their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

  3. Tummy Time Wobblers: These wobblers are designed to entertain your baby during tummy time. The wobbling motion encourages reaching and grasping, strengthening the baby's upper body muscles.

  4. Crinkle Paper: Crinkle paper provides auditory and tactile stimulation. Babies love the sound it makes when they grasp it, fostering their curiosity and motor skills.

  5. Water Mat: A water mat, often with floating toys inside, adds a sensory element to tummy time. Babies can explore the colorful objects and experience the different textures while developing their visual and motor skills.

6-12 months

6-12 months
  1. Ball Drop: Ball drop toys encourage cause-and-effect learning. Babies drop a ball into the top of the toy, and it rolls through a series of ramps, making it reappear at the bottom. This game helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

  2. Sorter Toys: Sorting toys come in various shapes and sizes, teaching infants about shapes, colors, and sizes as they fit objects into corresponding holes. This activity promotes cognitive and motor skill development.

  3. Nesting Cups: Nesting cups are great for stacking and nesting activities. They teach babies about spatial relationships, sizes, and patterns while also enhancing fine motor skills.

  4. Tissue Box: A soft and safe tissue box with colorful, pull-out tissues can keep babies engaged. It encourages them to reach, pull, and explore, which enhances their motor skills.

  5. Baby Dolls: Baby dolls provide opportunities for nurturing play. Infants can cuddle, hug, and pretend to care for their baby dolls, fostering emotional and social development.

  6. Board Books with Thick Pages: Board books are designed to withstand enthusiastic exploration. With colorful pictures and simple text, they introduce babies to the joy of reading and enhance their language and cognitive skills.

  7. Balls: Soft and lightweight balls are perfect for rolling and tossing. These toys promote gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

1-2 years

1-2 years
  1. Ball Run: A ball run is a captivating toy where kids drop balls at the top and watch them roll down through a series of ramps and chutes. It fosters hand-eye coordination, cause-and-effect understanding, and fine motor skills as they place the balls and observe their movements.

  2. Coin Banks: Coin banks introduce young children to the concept of saving and counting money. As kids drop coins into the bank, they learn about currency and develop fine motor skills.

  3. Racing Ramp: Racing ramps often feature small cars that can be released from the top and race down various tracks. These toys enhance fine motor skills, understanding of gravity, and provide hours of entertainment.

  4. 3-6 Piece Simple Puzzles: Simple puzzles with a few pieces are ideal for developing problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. They teach kids to recognize shapes and patterns.

  5. Construction Toolset: A construction toolset typically has screws, nuts, and bolts for kids to fasten. This toy enhances fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and a sense of accomplishment as children build and create.

  6. Magnets: Magnetic toys allow kids to explore the magic of attraction and repulsion. They promote fine motor skills, creativity, and imaginative play as children manipulate the magnets to build structures or create artwork.

2-3 years

2-3 years
  1. Connect 4: Connect 4 is a classic strategy game that encourages critical thinking and planning. Kids learn about patterns, problem-solving, and decision-making as they aim to connect four of their pieces in a row.

  2. Art Supplies: Art supplies, including crayons, markers, and finger paints, nurture creativity and self-expression. Children can explore colors, shapes, and textures while developing fine motor skills.

  3. 2-6 Piece Interlocking Puzzles: These puzzles offer a greater challenge with more pieces. They encourage problem-solving, shape recognition, and patience, preparing children for more complex puzzles as they grow.

  4. Figurine Animals and Barns: Figurine animals and barn sets spark imaginative play and storytelling. Kids create scenarios, enhancing creativity, social skills, and language development.

  5. Cars and Ramps: Cars and ramps provide hours of fun as kids experiment with rolling cars down ramps, exploring gravity, and honing their hand-eye coordination.

  6. Counting Activities: Counting activities introduce math concepts. Toys like counting beads or cards help kids learn to count, recognize numbers, and develop early math skills.

  7. Button Boards: Button boards typically feature various buttons and fasteners for kids to manipulate. These toys promote fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and independence as children learn to button and unbutton.

3-4 years

3-4 years
  1. Tangrams: Tangrams are geometric puzzles that encourage spatial awareness, pattern recognition, and problem-solving. They introduce kids to early geometry concepts.

  2. Child-Sized Household Items: Miniature household items allow kids to engage in imaginative play, imitating adults and learning practical life skills.

  3. Kids Trampoline: A kids' trampoline promotes physical activity and gross motor skills. It's a fun way for children to burn energy and develop balance.

  4. Puppets: Puppets foster imaginative play and storytelling. Children can create characters, stories, and dialogues, enhancing creativity and language skills.

  5. Simple Science Kits: Simple science kits introduce basic scientific concepts through hands-on experiments. They encourage curiosity and critical thinking while teaching about the world around them.

4-5 years

4-5 years
  1. Mini Microscope: A mini microscope allows kids to explore the microscopic world. It nurtures curiosity, observation skills, and an early interest in science.

  2. Train Tracks: Building and arranging train tracks develop spatial and engineering skills. Kids create different layouts, enhancing problem-solving and creativity.

  3. Alphabet Activities: Toys and games that focus on letters and letter recognition lay the foundation for reading and writing. They support early literacy skills.

  4. Sight Word Activities: Sight word activities introduce common words used in early reading. They help kids recognize and read these words, promoting literacy development.

Fun For All Ages

Fun For All Ages
  1. Wooden Wobble Balance Board: A wobble balance board encourages physical activity and balance development. It's suitable for all ages and enhances core strength.

  2. Stepping Stones: Stepping stones are excellent for developing balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. They can be used for various physical activities and games.

  3. Velcro Toss and Catch: Toss and catch games with Velcro targets promote hand-eye coordination, teamwork, and outdoor fun.

  4. Stomp Rockets: Stomp rockets offer an exciting way to explore aerodynamics and physics while promoting physical activity and outdoor play.

  5. Basketball Hoop: A mini basketball hoop provides an opportunity for kids to practice their throwing and aiming skills, enhancing hand-eye coordination and physical fitness.

  6. Cargo Climbing Net: A cargo climbing net fosters upper body strength and gross motor skills. It's a challenging yet enjoyable activity for children.

  7. Tunnel: Tunnels are versatile toys that encourage crawling, exploration, and imaginative play. They promote physical activity and creativity.

  8. Marble Run: Marble runs are engaging construction toys that teach kids about gravity, engineering, and problem-solving as they build intricate marble tracks.

  9. Twister Game: The Twister game is a classic party game that enhances flexibility, balance, and social interaction as players twist and turn to place their hands and feet on colored circles.

  10. Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit (iPad not included): The Osmo Little Genius Starter Kit combines technology and education. It includes interactive games and activities that promote early learning and problem-solving skills. By following these gift ideas and tips, you can ensure that the presents you choose will not only entertain but also support your child's development and creativity. Happy gifting!

These gifts cater to a wide range of developmental needs, making playtime both educational and enjoyable for kids aged 3 years and older. These activities encourage creativity, critical thinking, and physical fitness, providing hours of fun and learning for children as they grow. Happy gifting!

A friendly reminder: These recommendations are based on typical child development and developmental milestones. If your child isn't quite ready for these toys, that's perfectly okay. Every child has their unique pace and preferences. If you have concerns about your child's development, don't hesitate to consult your pediatrician about receiving an occupational therapy evaluation.


"I can't express enough how grateful my family is for the extraordinary care and progress we've witnessed in our son's development over the past year at Rogers Bridge Pediatric Therapy, LLC. The dedication and expertise of our son's Speech Therapist, Sydney, and Occupational Therapist, Kylie, have been nothing short of exceptional. – Stacy

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