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Tips for toy shopping

Published on December 02, 2015

Tips for toy shopping

Michelle Kiffmeyer, MA, Occupational Therapist Registered/Licensed
St. Cloud Hospital Outpatient Rehabilitation Services

Choose toys that can help children learn new skills.Christmas is just around the corner. If toys are on your shopping list, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose toys that can help children learn new skills and practice social skills.
  • Don’t buy a toy just because you had one as a child.
  • Think outside of the gender box.
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines for appropriate ages.


  • Blocks: Wooden blocks can be used in a variety of imaginative play.
  • Legos: Manipulative toys encourage fine motor skills and creativity.
  • Dolls: Children practice caretaking and social skills with baby dolls.
  • Play kitchen and toolbox: Toys based on real life items allow children to imitate adults.
  • Dress-up: From a pirate to a princess, children’s imaginations are limitless with hats, scarves, masks, costume, etc.
  • Animals: Dinosaurs, farm and zoo animals inspire make believe.
  • Art supplies: Encourage little artists with playdough, paint, markers, paper, stickers, etc.
  • Musical toys: Children explore sound and rhythm.
  • Physical toys: Promote coordination and gross motor skills with balls, sports equipment, jump ropes, riding toys, bikes, etc.
  • Board games: From cooperative play to problem solving, children learn lifelong skills playing games.
  • Books: Create a love of reading for children by reading to them and being a role model by reading yourself.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on fancy, trendy toys. The most important gift you can give the children in your life is your time.

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