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Parent Key to Success:

Gift Ideas for the Holidays

The snow is falling and I started decorating for the holidays yesterday. It is really starting to feel like the holidays around here! I love the winter holidays. Spending time with family, delicious turkey dinners with apple pie, taking time off work, and Caramel Brulee lattes - does it get any better?! This is often the time of year that parents start asking me, “What should I get my child for [fill in winter holiday]?” I thought I would put a bunch of my ideas in one spot along with three of my top toy tips. Click here to download a free overview of all the information below.


Tip #1: Rotate Toys

Toy rotation is all about offering a set of your child’s toys to them at a time. The benefits of this practice not only benefits your child but you too! Check out benefits as well as tips of how to begin this practice in your home here.


Tip #2: Less Can Be More

In today’s culture of consumption we often forget that repetition can be a good thing. Ever notice your child’s speech-language pathologist does the same thing again and again and again? They aren’t out of good ideas, it’s that they want your child to master what they’re working on! Trouble saying the word ‘ball’? We play with a ball again and again and again. Trouble with following a direction? We do it again and again and again.


Tip #2: It’s How You Play

You do not need to buy a (usually expensive) toy geared toward a certain area of development. Instead, think of how you can use existing toys in a new way? Those stacking cups your preschooler outgrew for stacking could be used to: model location words like in, out, under, over, and on while playing with plastic animals; practice counting or colour words (find small items of that colour and match them into each cup); or count the number of words in a sentence or syllables in a word.

Striped Envelopes

Ages 2-3

  • Stacking cups are great for infants but also extremely useful for toddlers. A simple set can be used for number and colour identification, counting, location words, and can be incorporated into tons of pretend play (with whatever animals, people, or figurines you can find).

  • The opportunities are endless with bubbles and your kids will be even more excited if you play them inside your home in the winter (maybe keep them contained to the basement)!

  • Plastic cutting food provides opportunities for so much vocabulary including food words, action words (cut, eat, put) and location words (in, out, on, off).

  • Plastic farm with animals provides so many opportunities for vocabulary plus tons of pretend play opportunities.


Ages 4-6

  • Colouring or art supplies can be used for both creative colouring but also beginning literacy skills. Make it extra fun with options like scented markers, metallic pencil crayons or twistable crayons!

  • Open-ended Lego offers an opportunity for imaginative play as well as so many communication skills like sharing and narrative development.

  • A set with a house and people is not just for girls. These sets can help foster narrative development, imaginative as well as back-and-forth dialogue when playing with friends (or parents!)

  • This is such a great age for both picture and chapter books. Step up your book reading game by talking about the book afterwards. Find some tips here


Ages 7-9

  • A great alternative for young ones with so much stuff already are subscriptions. Subscriptions often offer an experience like learning, cooking or science experiments, with the necessary materials. A young family member of mine loved Little Passport!

  • Child-friendly cooking supplies allow a child to engage in an experience that is dense with opportunities for communication. including following written directions that involve more complex number and location concepts.

  • I cannot get enough of Lego - open-ended fosters imagination, while sets can offer opportunities to follow picture and/or written directions.

  • An alternative that is more likely your child has not seen is Rory's Story Cubes. This offer great opportunities to build literacy and narrative skills. One-up these cubes by having your child write out a story they create.

Keep the discussion going on Instagram and let us know if you have any questions about your specific child or have more ideas to share for other parents!

Happy Holidays!

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