Holiday toy shopping tips from the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention team

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Having a hard time finding the perfect gift for your child?  Let us help! The holidays are about spending time together and enjoying each other as a family. We hope that we can help take some of the pressure off with the following suggestions.

Motivation press here

Think about what toys or activities your child already enjoys and consider what they enjoy about these toys.  What part of the toy does your child most often play with?  How do they choose to play with their current toys?   Use these natural choices and interest to help you zero in on new toys that will tap into their natural motivation.

Finding toys that target more than one of your child’s interests is a great way to naturally encourage them expand their play skills.  If your child loves to watch Paw Patrol and loves playing with dinky cars, consider purchasing cars featuring one of the show’s characters.  If your child enjoys PJ Masks and construction/ building play, there are a number of Lego/mega block sets which feature popular characters.  What a great way to combine some pretend play into building fun.

Reading and looking at books together create opportunities for quality time, as well as opportunities to model language. We love interactive books such as lift-the-flap books, Press Here by Herve Tullet, The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak.  Pete the Cat books by James Dean, and the Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith and Katz Cowley are fun stories with musical catchy musical components you can find online.

Fun doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag

Gifts don’t have to be expensive or flashy to have long term playability. We love classic toys that can be used in a variety of ways, depending your child’s personal motivation. Items such as car ramps, play food, Play-doh and blocks are simple and often inexpensive.

If you’re not sure what your child will love, consider checking out a thrift store, or a local buy and sell to see what’s available. This way you can allow your child to explore new toys without breaking the bank.

Helpful Hints 

zpopthepig.jpgActivities with fewer instructions and pieces make it easier to get to the fun parts of play! We love games that promote interaction and turn taking such as Pop Goes Pig, Porcupine Pop, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (bonus points if there is a gross out factor like Toilet Trouble, Gooey Louie, or Flushin’ Frenzy), these add a bit of silliness/giggles to the play. These games, and many others promote opportunities for the whole family to enjoy together. Many of these games also incorporate natural opportunities for learning (colours, numbers, winning/losing/ miss a turn). Marble runs are another favourite of ours.

Waiting can be hard! Before you wrap your gifts consider undoing those pesky plastic zip ties, and install batteries in the toys to avoid frustrations, and allow enjoyment faster. Also, activities with fewer instructions and pieces make it easier to get to the fun parts of play!

Give your child the gift of your time

The best part of having new toys is exploring them together. Be flexible, as your child may like to play with toys in unique ways, differently than you might expect. Sometimes we have to let go of our own good ideas, and follow their lead.  Sometimes the most fun is had playing with the box the toy came in!