It’s getting to be that time of year – Christmas shopping time. Parents are often asking for toy ideas to help promote development. There are a ton of lists out there but I’m going to focus on my favourites to help gross motor development!
Action toys are not toys that do things, but instead, encourage kids to be active. I also like to think of them as things that would make an awesome obstacle course (look for a future blog post about why obstacle courses are simply the BEST!).
Some ideas for little ones are:
- play tunnels (Ikea)
- balance beams (there are a ton of youtube videos on how to make some)
- pikler triangle.
Another wonderful toy is the Bilibo! It can be used in so many ways and is great for those kiddos with sensory needs.
For those of us in winter, a toboggan/sled is also a great action toy.
For the older, or more adventurous, you can make your own Ninja Warrior course at home, there are a variety of kits including this Ninjaline Intro Kit.
Ride on Toys
Ride on toys are also an action toy but often are their very own separate category. I know sometimes ride ons are overlooked at this time of year given the winter weather, however, they are still such wonderful gifts to get children to be active and smaller ride on toys can be used inside or down in the basement!
Younger children may enjoy small ride on toys, and if you stick to those where they sit with their legs on either side (as opposed to a bench seat with legs in front) they can start to learn balance, steering and using legs reciprocally!
As they get older, rides ons could progress to balance bikes and plasma cars.
For even older kiddos, these are always great!
- Y gliders
Balls are a great staple for fun and encouraging active play and coordination. Some ideas for a new twist are:
- koosh balls (good for sensory kiddos)
- Waboba street or moon ball (these balls have unpredictable bounces for extra fun and in my experience lots of running)
For those little ones, kickballs, balls with a light in them and even beach balls are great additions!
There are a few games out there that encourage movement.
My favourite for little ones is a game called ThinkFun Roll and Play. It’s a hit at our house and combines a variety of developmental categories including language, colours and active movement.
As a parent, another favourite gift for my child to receive is the gift of experiences. Sometimes that means someplace fun to take the family, like the zoo or movies. However, the physio in me would recommend something active such as swimming, gymnastics or karate lessons.
If lessons are a bit much, passes to your local community centre for public skating or swimming is a great alternative. It’s often a great way for our children to learn new skills and continue to work on their development.
Hopefully this will give you some new ideas for useful Christmas gift ideas! Happy Holidays!