If you are anything like me, knowing what to get my kids for the holidays is a balancing act between the “latest and greatest” and toys that will spark my children’s interest, support their imagination, and won’t be broken in a week! Below are some ideas for choosing toys that will grow with your child, challenge them, and nurture their overall development – their thinking, physical, language, and social-emotional skills. Check out our playlist below of our favorite holiday toys for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-agers.
Open-ended toys that can be used in a variety of ways
Choose toys with no “right” or “wrong” way of playing that encourage problem-solving and logical thinking skills:
- Cars and trucks
- Building materials
- Art materials
- Magnetic builders
- Age-appropriate games
Toys that will grow with your child
Plan ahead for your child’s development by looking for toys that can be fun at different developmental stages and by children of different ages. I often choose first birthday gifts this way, thinking about what a toddler would need rather than buying something for “now.” These could include things like the open-ended materials listed above or:
- Outdoor toys
- Train sets
- Oversized trucks
- Larger investment pieces like a doll house or play kitchen
- Water or sensory table
Toys that spark your child’s imagination
Young children have an amazing imagination. Choose items that will spark their imagination and let them take on “real world” roles. When my son was little, he LOVED helping with yard work. One of his favorite presents was his own set of age-appropriate lawn tools. Pretend play builds language and literacy skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to sequence (put events in a logical order). Look for things like:
- Pretend mower and power tools
- Kitchen set
- Baby dolls (Yes, even for boys)
- Real items like old phones, keyboards, pots, and pans
- Playsilks or scarves
Toys that encourage your child to be active
Children are developing A LOT in the first five years of life, doing all kinds of physical tricks as they become stronger and more confident with their bodies. Look for toys that help your child practice current physical skills and develop new ones.
- Climbing equipment
- Bikes and scooters
- Riding and push toys
- Kid’s ninja warrior course
- Tunnels and air forts
Consider experiences rather than toys or games
Often our lives get cluttered with things. Experiences and outings – or time together – are often some of the best gifts we can give our kids. Check out our top local experiences and memberships perfect for gift giving this holiday season.
Looking for even more ideas? Register for our Holiday Gift Guide 2022 webinar on Tuesday, November 22 from 8:00 to 8:30 p.m.!