Christmas List

Table of Contents

Not sure what to get your child for Christmas this year? Tired of bright, flashy electronic toys that kids quickly lose interest in? As an Occupational Therapist, I find that many children’s toys rely on branding or gimmicky features to attract kids, but they don’t provide opportunities for learning or creativity. While there is a time and a place for flashy toys are a great way to make learning enjoyable and motivating. Below are some ideas for gifts that will help your child gain fine motor, visual motor, gross motor, sensory experiences, and bilateral coordination skills. 

Keep in mind that the following age ranges are generalized and the specific toys were chosen to be inclusive of a variety of interests and abilities. Before purchasing, take into consideration your child’s strengths and areas of growth. 

Stocking Stuffers: 

These toys are great for all ages and are under $10. They make great stocking stuffers or add-ons to your gifts this year. They can be easily found at Dollar Tree, Big Lots, 5 Below, and other stores.



Activity Books


Sports balls


Sidewalk Chalk

Scented Markers


Water reveal boards



Fidget toys



Squishy Balls

Kinetic Sand

Wacky Tracks


Gifts for Ages 1-2

Between the ages of 1 and 2, children grow quickly and gain skills that help them explore their environment and learn about how things work. Skills like holding a marker, cause and effect, and how to move their bodies are developed during this time. Peg puzzles, stacking toys, megablocks, wooden blocks, sorting colors, and shape sorters help improve visual motor integration. Squigz, pop beads, and popup toys are great tools to improve hand strength and hand control. Water mats, flip board easels, and sensory bins give children experience with different textures and give them an opportunity to build pre-writing skills. Play cubes and hammer toys are great cause-and-effect tools. 

Water mat

Flipboard Easel





Chunky Puzzles


Sorting Shapes

Sorting Colors

Sensory Bins

Stacking toys

Popup toys

Play Cube

Hammer Toys

Mega Blocks

Pop beads


Gifts for Ages 3-4

Between the ages of 3 and 4, children are more confident in coordinating their bodies and start to use tools like scissors and utensils more accurately. They also begin to use their imaginations and play pretend. The dart board, stomp rocket, and velcro ball are great for building hand-eye or hand-foot coordination and the balance board can help kids understand their senses and their balance better. Beads, playdough tools, and magnetic fishing are great toys to build skills in working with both hands. Puzzles and magnetic tiles build visual motor skills and cardboard books, tracing books, key/knob toys, and tweezer toys are great for fine motor skills. Musical instruments and dress-up kits build kids’ imaginations. 


Dart Board

Magna Tiles

Peg Puzzles


Playdough Tools

Magnetic Fishing

Musical Instruments

Dress-up Kits

Stomp Rocket

Cardboard books

Keys and Knob toys

Tracing Books

Velcro Ball

Balance Board

Tweezer toys

Gifts for Ages 5-8

By the ages of 5-6, children are becoming more independent and social. They want to make friends and do every day activities by themselves. They are in good control of their bodies and are ready to go to school and participate. Board games are a great tool to teach kids turn-taking skills and emotional regulation skills. Puzzles, drawing books, maze books, and craft kids are great tools to improve fine motor control and visual motor integration. Science kits, marble mazes, and Lego kits help kids get creative and learn about experimentation. Basketball ball equipment, tee ball equipment, and yard games are great ways to help kids improve their hand-eye coordination and body control. Sand tracing trays and letter magnets are fun tools to get kids interested in writing. 

Pretend money/shopping

16-50 piece puzzles

Yard Games

Craft Kits

Marble Maze

Tee Ball Kit

Science Experiments

Art Books

Lego Kits

Basketball hoop

Sand Tracing Tray

Letter Magnets

Connecting toys

Mazes and Games Activity Books


Board Games



Yeti in My Spaghetti

Don’t Break the Ice



Snakes and Ladders

Connect 4


Feed the Woozle

Spot It

By: Annie Write M.S., OTR/L Occupational Therapist

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