The holidays are here, which means it’s time to shop for everyone on your list. Luckily, we’ve got the kids covered. We compiled a list of toys that kids will love, and parents will love, too (except maybe #2). Each option has been hand-picked because they are guaranteed to help your child’s development while also promoting play. Here are the top ten toys (in no particular order) we recommend this year.
Drawing is one of the best ways for kids to express themselves. Not only does it help with fine motor skills, but it also serves as a way for them to put all of their ideas and feelings onto paper. This kit allows your child to illustrate their own book, and it even comes with instructions and useful information that guides your child to write and publish their book.
The kit includes everything they need to write and illustrate a full-color, 20 page, professionally printed hardcover book. It contains ready-to-use cover template pages, story and illustration template pages, guide book and instructions, a set of color markers and a postage-paid envelope and order form.
$29.95 from Amazon
2. Pinkfong Baby Shark Dancing DJ
We’re sure just reading the title of this toy triggered the song to start playing in your head. This toy comes programmed with seven different “Baby Shark” songs and can tell when your child is dancing along. When your child is moving, the shark’s fins flap, and its body begins to rock along, too. Dancing and movement are important components of child development and physical activity. No matter your feelings about these songs on repeat, they’re sure to make your child happy. And that’s what matters!
$39.99 from Target
3. Ochsner Hospital for Children 2020 Buddy of the Year
When Cameron started experiencing major symptoms in his abdomen, his mom knew something wasn't right. After discovering that he had a ruptured appendix, Cameron was treated at Ochsner Hospital for Children to have his appendix removed. During recovery, Cameron bonded with one of his Child Life Therapists named Katie. When asked to design what he wanted Ochsner's first Buddy of the Year to be, he instantly knew who his inspiration would be. Cameron created this doll to look like Katie, his amazing caregiver and newfound friend!
This plush toy is a great stocking stuffer for any doll-lover in your life! Proceeds from your Buddy of the Year purchase go directly toward Ochsner Hospital for Children to help kids like Cameron.
$19.99 from the Ochsner Store
No child gift guide is complete without a mention of LEGO®. Whether they want the latest themed set or want to start with some basic blocks, LEGO® is the perfect gift to encourage them to build. Building helps with their creativity and helps form the small muscles in their hands that help with handwriting. Plus, LEGO® teaches them spatial awareness and how to visualize and plan three-dimensional objects. If we’re being honest, most parents think playing with LEGO® is pretty fun, too!
Various prices from the LEGO® website
5. KidKraft Alexa 2-in-1 Kitchen and Market
This two-sided playset is perfect for pretend play with your child. Pretend play has numerous benefits, including teaching your child to negotiate, imagine various scenarios, work with others, express their ideas, assign roles and explore new symbols and situations.
What makes this playset so great? One side serves as the kitchen, while the other is a market. The parts, or ingredients, are all equipped with RFID chips that interact with your Amazon Echo device. Alexa can guide your child through a recipe and help them understand which ingredients to use with helpful sound effects. For example, for a hot dog recipe, Alexa will say to put a pot of water on the stove and then make a bubbling sound when it's boiling and a splashing sound when the hot dog is dropped in.
That’s not the only thing Alexa can do. Did you know Ochsner also has a voice skill you can enable to keep you and your family healthy with daily tips? Learn more by clicking here.
$299.99 from Amazon
Puzzles help kids (and adults) with dexterity, hand-eye coordination and problem-solving. When the whole family comes together to solve a puzzle, it also teaches perseverance and teamwork. From simple ones for beginners to complex ones with thousands of pieces, puzzles are a great gift!
Various prices from Amazon
7. Board games
Like puzzles, board games help stimulate parts of the brain responsible for memory, decision-making and problem-solving. Board games saw a huge uptick during 2020 due to stay-at-home mandates. Keep the family game nights going by adding a few more options to your selection. If you need some ideas, we’ve got our picks for one-player, two-player and kid’s games.
From $4.97 from Walmart
8. KidTrax Interactive Recycling Truck Powered Ride-On
Ride-on toys are a great option for a little one who is constantly on the move. Not only is this toy loads of fun and helps strengthen your child’s leg muscles, but it also teaches them a valuable lesson about saving the planet! The truck comes with nine recyclable accessories that correspond to shape-sorting slots.
$161.99 from Target
9. Play-Doh Variety Pack
The slime trend is getting a bit of an upgrade this year. We all know sensory play is great for child development, and this variety pack comes with six different options. Each one feels different to touch and is guaranteed to keep your little one’s hands happy.
$19.99 from Michael’s
10. Crayola Paper Flower Science Kit
For the child who loves nature, STEM subjects and a good DIY project, this kit is the perfect option. Your budding scientist can mix the dye, plant the paper flower and watch as the colors move up the stem to create beautiful patterns on the petals. Once complete, they can show off their creation around the house with this new piece of décor.
$19.99 from Crayola
11. See My Feelings Mirror
Understanding emotions is a crucial part of child development. This game helps your child learn about their own feelings by using interchangeable emotion cards in a small shatter-proof mirror. Learning emotions is a great mindfulness activity for kids and can help with social awareness, relationship skills, self-management, decision-making and more.
$16.01 from Amazon