Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The time is now upon us, we are officially in the Christmas season. If you are anything like me you have already begun to mentally compile your gift lists, for all of the many people you are responsible for buying for. Every year around this time, I go through this phase were I become obsessed with the fact that my kids have way too many toys! I go and sort through all of the old and new things from the following year that they either do not play with or many times have not even opened. I have 4 children ranging from 7 months-14 years old and I run two daycare programs, so we know toys here. My students and own children gravitate towards specific toys in general many of which have educational and open ended play opportunities which make them the best gifts to give.
So without further ado here is the Ultimate Christmas list for 2020;
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Gifts That Strengthen Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills is the coordination of small muscles, in movements that involve hands and fingers. Kids need these to do many school related tasks like holding a crayon/pencil, writing, using scissors, stringing beads.
*Hand Strength *Arch Development *Eye-Hand coordination *Bilateral Coordination
*Refined Grasp * Shoulder and Forearm stability
These toys are the perfect stem gift for children ages 3 and up. These little flakes can become so many different things, and is a perfect toy for open ended play. My boys have made Minecraft swords, ninja stars, trees, animals and so much more. The possibilities are endless!
Creative Kids 1400 Pieces
Viahart 500 Pieces
These colorful magnets are another open ended toy, that fuel kids imaginations for kids 3 and up. (Age 2 and up can use but it is not recommended for kids who put things in their mouths) Educational benefits include, learning basic colors and shapes, and also refining fine motor skills. Holding and positioning the small tiles will increase precision and eyes/hand coordination competences for littles.
Picasso Tiles 100 Piece Set
Fat Brain Toys Squigz
This is another great stem based toy, that builds on imagination, fine motor skills, and open-ended play. These can be stacked horizontally, vertically, and have a cool suction on them so they can stick on most surfaces.
They also have a smaller mini set available.
Sensory gifts are always a favorite item for kids. Sensory toys build nerve connections in the brain, which help children as they take on more complex learning tasks.
*Promotes sense of touch *Promotes focus *Reduces Anxiety
Playdoh Compounds Sand and Shimmer Set
Here is another set for even more variety: Playdoh Slime Cereal Themed Bundle
This a milky colored slime kit that has textured cereal pieces.
Playdoh Kitchen Creations Bakery Creations set
Any Playdoh set are a must both in the classroom and in the home. These sets are the newest for 2020, and are kid approved.
Gross Motor Play
Gross motor skills are important for major body movements such as walking, maintaining balance, coordination, and reaching. These abilities share connections with other physical functions. Such skills are important for play, sports, and fitness
The Nugget Couch
This is another great option for open ended play. This item is essentially large couch cushions that kids can build and play with. It has been on the hot item list for a number of years due to its versatility. Unfortunately, the nugget is typically on back order. Here is a similar foam block sofa that can be just as easily manipulated.
Costzon 4-in-1 Unique Shapes Convertible Climb and Crawl Foam Set
Funphix Jumbo Construction Set
This set is for the builder in your family! This set includes large tube like pieces that snap together, along with platform pieces that create sturdy structures, that can be walked on. This can be played with both indoors and outdoors. Wheels can also be added to this set to make even more fun.
Stay Tuned for Part 2! If you would like a list for a specific age group, gender, or genre let us know in the comments below.