OT Approved Christmas Gifts

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

If you’re a keen and organized shopper, I’m sure you have the majority of your holiday gifts already purchased, and if you’re anything like my Mother had everything done and wrapped in August! However, if you’re anything like my husband, you are waiting until the 24th to think about Christmas.

Although Santa and his Elves are hard at work building the toys your children put on their Christmas wish list, there may be a few items you still need to purchase.

We consulted our talented team of Pediatric Occupational Therapists and are happy to provide you with some fun but functional gift inspiration. These are gifts that are educational and stimulate child development:

1. BOOKS: Although technically not toys, books make an excellent gift. Fostering a love of reading in children from an early age is essential in development of language and literacy skills, while building creativity and imagination. And so many types of books exist! Beyond regular books, pop-up books, and interactive books, there are even books where you can record your voice, or the voice of a loved one into the story so that person is “reading” to your child. This is great for those people in your life who are out of town and are not able to “read” bedtime stories in person.

2. TOYS THAT MAKE THEM THINK: Look for puzzles, games, shaper sorters, science kits and more. Problem solving through play is fantastic for the mind and will help them become independent problem solvers in life. But be prepared to explore and learn with them. Interactive parent-child time through new learning is also essential to development!

3. TOYS THAT GET THEM MOVING: We’re living in the sedentary age of technology where obesity is on the rise. Try some active toys like a skipping rope, scooter, ride on toy, a bike or winter sports gear like skates, skis or snowshoes. But with all riding toys, include the helmet too! Keeping kids active is extremely important for both their physical and mental health!

4. TOYS THAT BRING OUT THEIR CREATIVE SIDE: Fostering creativity in kids at an early age is important for their development. Looks for gifts that will encourage them to be creative like art kits, dress up clothes or crafts and supplies.

5. AN EXPERIENCE THEY WON’T FORGET: Too many toys to choose from? Why not treat the children to an experience instead. Consider tickets to a sporting event, a play, or musical or a child-appropriate concert. Special events like these create fantastic memories and can strengthen family bonds.

We hope you find some gift inspiration from our tips and with you very Happy Holidays!