Holiday Shopping: What are Trending vs What Our Kids Need?

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holidayshopping_morneaushepell_socialmediaby Laura Goldenberg

If you are a parent you might have spent the last few weeks, or even months, chasing down all the trends for this year’s latest and greatest children’s toys.  Visit any parenting page or group on Facebook at this moment and you will find desperate parents bidding their life savings to get the right type of Hatchimal.  Many of the big toy stores try to confuse us, and prey on our anxiety, in order get parents to spend by putting all the loud, expensive, electronic, screen time type toys under big signs marked “educational”.

As a pediatric occupational therapist (OT) and mother of 3 children under the age of 6, toys on my wish list are often not found under those signs.  My toy recommendations, as a mom and OT, do include the following though:

  • A Writing Easel: these can be found at your local Ikea, under the name Mala for $24.99. They are great for getting the kids wrists in the correct position to learn to use their hands.  Stock up with tons of paints chalk, and crayons and get ready to get messy.
  • Building Toys: wooden blocks, Duplo, Mega Blocks, Lego, the classic type in the yellow box not the $600 branded Star Wars sets. Magna tiles or Magformers (expensive, but worth it)
  • Games: think back to a time before apps ruled your play time.  Think about buying Candy land, Snakes and Ladders, Jenga, Memory, Connect 4, Operation, Perfection, Checker, Spot It, Chess and my personal favorite Light Brite.  These games are great for hand eye coordination, counting, math, and many more skills.  So unplug and have fun.
  • Puzzles: Melissa and Doug sell the old style wooden peg/single inset puzzles for young kids; challenge yourself and your kids to 2000 piece puzzles. Rubiks cubes are actually cool again.
  • Arts and Crafts: glue, scissors (little ones can spend hours peeling and sticking), glitter, craft sticks, stickers, beads, or prepackaged one time use activities that you can pull out as needed. You can’t go wrong stocking up.
  • Sports equipment: think spring when bikes, roller blades, scooters, balls, and bubbles will be needed again.  In the meantime the cold brings out ice skates, sleds, skis, and snowboards and much more.  Get outside and get active.

For your holiday shopping, consider these and maybe a few Shopkins, Trolls and a Drone so the kids don’t get mad at the new Occupational Therapist.  Just stop bidding on the Hatchimal, there will be tons in stock come Boxing Day.

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