Gifts to develop social communication in the age of technology can be a challenging task with all the electronics options available. More and more electronic toys and gadgets are being geared toward kids who are younger and younger. It is wonderful that we have the technology, but it is not always good news for child development.
Children need to play with toys and explore the world around them because that is how crucial skills are developed. When children play, all areas of their brain are developed. Not to mention, children are built to play! It is their job to play. They are supposed to get messy, make mistakes, explore, and learn the “rules” of the world.
All children learn important lessons and develop skills by playing with non-electronic toys such as:
- Language skills
- Conflict resolution
- Academic skills
- Emotional regulation
- Motor skill development
- Sensory regulation These are just a few but there are so many more! It is fascinating how play can target so many skills at one time, yet it is becoming less common among children.
Here are some ideas for gifts to help kids get back to play!
Choose any toys that promote imagination such as action figures or characters from their favorite TV show. Dress up toys and pretend play activities are also wonderful at developing imagination and symbolic play.
Preschoolers can play board games! Be sure it is not too difficult or they may lose interest quickly! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Don’t Break The IceⓇ
- Yeti in my SpaghettiⓇ
- Honey Bee TreeⓇ
- Memory Games (I love to use the thematic memory games that use current popular character)
- Let’s Go FishingⓇ
Building activities are great for this age. LegoⓇ bricks now cater to girls and boys with wonderful themes that target imaginative play skills. These toys build fine motor skills, executive functioning skills (planning, organizing, and problem-solving), spatial awareness, and of course STEM.
Simple board games are considered “novel” activities now that everyone is playing games with their devices, which make them great gifts! I love simple games that teach turn taking and problem-solving. Here are some ideas for elementary school-aged kids:
- UnoⓇ (Uno DareⓇ is fun too!)
- Connect 4Ⓡ
- Guess WhoⓇ
- 5 Second Rule Jr.Ⓡ
Middle and High School:
While this age group will likely be more interested in electronics as this is the way of the teenager, you can still pique their interest in board games. Many game companies have versions that correlate with the latest craze in video games or movie series. Find your teens interest and search for a board game that has a collaboration with that interest. Here are some great games for teens:
- 5 Second RuleⓇ
- Apples to ApplesⓇ
- Heads UpⓇ
- MonopolyⓇ (they now have a Fortnite version)
For more gift ideas, check out Let’s Play: the speech and language way’s post: https://letsplaythespeechandlanguageway.com/2016/11/18/best-toys-speech/?fbclid=IwAR0C1neDpfdTVVqb8Z79wg82kLrRN-iMF8g4vETQ8Amr7RX_1uV7vTxxHQk