It’s Toy Time: Holiday Toys that Drive Development

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During the holiday season, it can sometimes be hard to find the right toy when shopping for a little one. Whether you are shopping for an infant, a toddler or a child, the possibilities are endless. Some toys, however, can help to facilitate developmental skills more than others. Our physical, occupational and speech therapists have put together a list of toys that encourage motor and language development to make this holiday season a little easier. Read on to learn more.

Infant: The O-Ball is a great toy for promoting oral-motor skills. It is soft, flexible and easy for babies of all ages to grasp and bring to their mouths for oral exploration. There are rattles attached to the ball, which make it fun for them to shake, throw and develop play skills.

Toddler: Pretend play toys such as cooking sets that allow children to "cook" and baby dolls that let them give their baby a bath, play toys can accelerate language development. Pretend play toys facilitate skills such as vocabulary, basic concepts, categories, “wh” questions and expanding word combinations.

Child: Board games can facilitate language skills such as eye contact, turn taking, following directions, basic concepts, vocabulary and social encouragement. Parent interaction and modeling is an important part of how kids develop these skills.

Infant: Baby gym with mat. This toy comes with many features to encourage movement, including mirrors, lights and hanging toys. The infant can reach and kick, which will strengthen their arms, legs and core muscles. This also provides a great space to practice tummy time.

Toddler: Ride On/Push Toy. This toy can be used while the child is learning to walk by providing them with some extra stability. They can also sit on the toy and use their legs to move, which builds strength, balance, coordination and pre-pedaling skills.

Child: Bicycle or Tricycle. Riding on a bicycle or tricycle provides an opportunity for physical activity, while encouraging interaction with peers and family members. The child's strength, balance, coordination and general physical fitness can also be improved through riding a bicycle or tricycle.

Infant: NogginStik Developmental Light-up Rattle. The NogginStik Developmental Light-up Rattle stimulates the infants visual system and promotes visual tracking. It also has a great shape to facilitate a grasp, with different textures to stimulate his or her tactile system.

Toddler: Shape Sorter. A shape sorter is perfect for developing visual perception and problem-solving skills. It is also useful in the development of object manipulation and bimanual coordination, as well as learning colors and shapes.

Child: Easel and Supplies. An easel is the perfect gift because of its versatility. Kids can use it to color, write or finger paint -- the list goes on! It also promotes upper extremity development, fine motor skills, visual motor skills and sensory processing.

To learn more about Ochsner's Therapy and Wellness for Children program, click here.

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