Holiday Gift Guide

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As the holiday season quickly approaches, caregivers and parents of children with special needs are considering what new toys, games and learning tools are appearing on the market and which of those might be a good fit for their child. To help families through their toy purchasing decisions, EP’s editors have compiled a selection of some new products as well as some classic choices, each of which offer fun ways to improve motor skills, balance, stength or social skill buliding. Our toy guide is broken into four major sections to help highlight the features that each toy emphasizes.

GROSS MOTOR SKILLS

Big muscle movements, also called gross motor skills, involve a variety of areas of the body and specific aspects of their use. Gross motor skills are involved in movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements, such as running, crawling and jumping. Development of these skills result in postural control, coordination, strength, balance, and bilateral coordination (both sides of the body working together). Toys that emphasize these movements help with physical development and the growth of gross motor skills. Learn more>>>

 FINE MOTOR SKILLS

Fine motor skills are the coordination of small muscles, usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers, with the eyes. Controlling smaller muscle movements can often present big challenges for children with special needs. Developing fine motor muscles is an essential first step towards holding a pencil, learning to dress, and much more. We feature toys that are designed specifically to help kids develop their finger muscles and their hand-eye coordination. Learn more>>>

TACTILE AND SENSORY

Children can use tactile and sensory toys for calming themselves, reducing stress, promoting focus and concentration, and increasing tactile awareness, all while keeping fidgeting fingers busy! Fidget and sensory objects are great for all children and young adults, but especially those with ADD/ADHD, OCD, autism, or high anxiety levels. These toys help promote a sense of calm, lower anxiety and can increase focus and attention. Learn more>>>

GAMES AND PUZZLES

Helping your child with special needs use their play time to the most benefit can be tricky. Try a little fun instead, using focus games to stretch their attention span. Puzzles are a fantastic tool for your child’s mind and cognitive development. Additionally, many types of games help children develop new social cues and skills and come to terms with the idea of right and wrong. Best of all, board games allow you to spend quality, intentional, and uninterrupted time with your children – especially during the holidays! Learn more>>>