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Dec 10

Holiday Toy & Gift Guide 2018

Holiday Toy & Gift Guide

This is a busy time of year and on most people’s to-do list includes a little shopping.  Yet it’s sometimes difficult to know what to get children.  Of course, they want electronics, and I admit that would be on my list too.  But as parents we want to be sure we are giving gifts that are educational and fun.  Nothing makes me happier than when I know my children are playing with a really awesome gift and I know their little brains are developing some serious skills at the same time.  As I am getting ready to look over my previous lists and add some new items I happened across a new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The report states, “The best toys are those that support parents and children playing, pretending and interacting together,” said Alan Mendelsohn, MD, FAAP, co-author of the report and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health at NYU Langone Health.

This study finds what we have known and been saying for years in the world of vision development.  The oldies but goodies remain at the top of the list for brain development and stimulation.  In fact, one of the recommendations from the study includes being aware of toys and games that may be overstimulating.  I would advise limiting or even eliminating those from the list.  Many electronic games and apps are overwhelming to the senses and do not allow for true thinking and processing development. It’s difficult to get away from electronics entirely but I feel we need to try to incorporate a healthy mix and limit them based on age appropriate guidelines. Everything in moderation, right?

Dr Gregory’s Recommended Toy List

Here is my list from previous years with a few new items updated for 2018 and 2019.  I have separated them by developmental category although many of them do overlap in their benefits.  We use many of these in the office at Omni Vision & Learning Center and they are tried and true favorites.

Eye Hand Coordination

Building sets like Legos, magnets, Jenga, Magformers, K’NEX. Fishin Around, Operation, KerPlunk, Simon, 3D puzzles, Magna-tiles, Hyper Toss, Bounce Off

Fine Motor Control

Play Dough, lacing cards, Perler beads, coloring books, etch a sketch, lite brite, sand art, stained glass made easy, farm cube puzzle, origami crafts, beading

Visual Perception or Visual Thinking Games

Parquetry blocks, puzzles, Legos, Where’s Waldo, Seek and Find books, Perplexus, Spot it, Acuity, Battleship, Labyrinth, Set, Simon, Rush Hour, checkers, Perfection, Memory, Rubik’s cube, Q-bitz, Blink, Suspend, Gears, Gears, Gears, Swish, Gravity maze, Maze-O, GeoSmart flip bot, Chocolate Fix, Pictureka, Blockus, Make N Break, Quick Cups, Blokus


Any imaginative play toys: dolls, kitchen sets, building sets, dress up costumes like firemen and policemen, secret decoder set, magic set, Crayola color chemistry set