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Back to Basics: GIFT GUIDE (for toddlers)

Updated: Jan 3



It’s that time of the year again. The time where we get overwhelmed by the amount of gift shopping there is for the holidays. Trying to figure out what to get everyone can be difficult especially if you’re on a budget. Trying to keep up with the latest children’s toy trends may also be challenging. Some new children’s toys may also claim to be educational but in fact may be too stimulating and costly. For this holiday season we need bring it back to the basics! As an educator, I find that the simplest toys are best. Let me make your holiday shopping easier and check out this list of children’s toys that are engaging, inexpensive, and promote development!


Mr. Potato Head: Any form of Mr. Potato head would make a great gift for a toddler; there are so many developmental benefits such as:

· Fine motor skills

· Grasp strength

· Visual perception skills (scanning for holes and matching movement to fit pieces into hole)

· Body awareness (putting body parts in appropriate places on body)

· Sustain attention

· Pretend play

· Identifying body parts, colors.

· Answering ‘WH’ questions

These are only just some of the many benefits of Mr. potato head.


Baby dolls: Dolls can be a great gift for girls and boys! Some skills that it targets are self-help skills, cognitive and fine motor. Before children learn to do life skills on their own, it is beneficial and easier for them to practice before hand or simultaneously on a doll. Some other benefits are:

· Life skills (potty training, bathing, feeding, putting on and removing clothes, hygiene)

· Body parts

· Identifying clothing (shirt, pants, etc.)

· Answering ‘WH’ questions

· Social skills

· Verbs feelings


Nesting blocks: Nesting blocks are a very simple toy that is packed with a lot of opportunities for development. Some include:

· Language development (prepositions, Big/Small, counting, colors)

· Social skills (turn taking)

· Hand-eye skills

· Fine motor skills

· Labeling/identifying

· Requesting/commenting


Puzzles: Puzzles are great because there are such a variety of puzzles you can get that will allow you to choose one that is suitable for your child. There are 8, 6, or 26 piece puzzles. There are puzzles on different animals, shapes, colors, letter, and numbers. There are thick puzzles and thin puzzles. They target the following skills:

· Language development (labeling/identifying)

· Social skills (turn taking)

· Hand-eye skills

· Fine motor skills

· Requesting/commenting

· Categorizing

· Sustain attention

· Animal sounds (or other sounds associated with puzzle theme)

· ‘Wh’ questions

· Following directions


Mega blocks: Mega blocks are a personal favorite of mine because it gives children endless opportunities to CREATE! There are so many things to create with mega blocks; you can even pair them with other toys! Pair them with cars, and create a house and garage with the blocks, or small plastic animal figurines and create a farm and stable where animals can stay in. Some of their benefits include:

· Pretend play!

· Fine motor skills

· Requesting/commenting

· Language development (colors, big/small, counting)

· Social skills (turn-taking)

· Following directions

· ‘Wh’ questions


Some other toys that make great gifts are:

· tea set

· toy food/kitchen set

· play-doh

· toy-house

· ball-popper

· books!


These are only some of the hundreds of benefits that these simple toys provide. Remember, when you’re doing your holiday shopping this year, think back to the basics, and keep it simple. Pick toys that can become something!

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