Pediatrician-approved gifts for every child.
The official kickoff to holiday shopping is just days away. Before you check-off your child’s wish list, check-out some pediatrician-approved gifts that every kid will love!
When a child is given the freedom to play without rules or guidelines, their imagination will take over. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said it best: “Pretending through toy characters (such as dolls, animals, and action figures) and toy objects (like food, utensils, cars, planes, and buildings) help children learn to use words and stories to imitate, describe, and cope with real life events and feelings. Imagination is the key here! Imaginary play is a large part of a child’s social and emotional development.”
Pretend Shopping List:
- Play kitchen with accessories (food, utensils, plates, etc.)
- Vehicles (diggers, cars, emergency vehicles, planes, etc.)
- Dress-up clothing and accessories
- Chalk board
A simple puzzle holds so many benefits for a young mind – problem-solving, fine motor, language and cognitive skills. Looks for age and developmentally appropriate building blocks, puzzles, train tracks.
Assembly Required Shopping List
- Building Blocks
- Train tracks
- Magnet tiles
It’s amazing to see what kids are capable of without restrictions. Consider give an art basket to build their creativity and fine motor skills.
Art Shopping List:
- Crayons/Markers/Color Pencils
- Age appropriate paints
- For older children, encourage them to try new media like oil pastels, chalk pastels, ink, etc.
- Blank sketch books (try different sizes, large and small)
- Kid-friendly scissors
- Art accessories: pipe cleaners, pom poms, tissue paper, stickers and anything else you can think of!
Skip the video games.
There are educational apps and video games that work to teach the ABCs, but what they are missing – creative thinking, emotional development and impulse control – are much more important factors in the healthy development of your child. According to the AMA, Research suggests tablet-based toys may actually delay social development for infants and young children, because they don’t include real life facial expressions, gestures, and vocalizations.
Skip the Video Games Shopping List:
- Match games
- Card games
- Board games
- Age and interest appropriate Books
- Magazine subscription
- Busy board with a variety of locks and latches
Especially in the winter months, getting physical activity is so important – for kids and grown-ups alike! Not only does it help to develop good habits for later in life, but being physically active also holds benefits for emotional health.
Play! Shopping List:
- Hula hoop
- Sports gear (football, baseball, basketball – choose based on what interests your child)
- Indoor bowling set
- Yoga mat paired with child appropriate exercise classes or DVDs
- Roller blades (don’t forget the helmet and pads)
- Gym shoes
- Push and riding toys for little ones just walking
Many children look forward to playing with new toys carefully selected for them. To keep these experiences joy-filled, it’s important to carefully consider toy purchases and ways to avoid injury. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers its top 10 toy-safety buying tips for this holiday season:
- Read the label. Warning labels give important information about how to correctly use a toy and for what ages the toy is safe. Be sure to show your child how to use the toy the right way.
- Think LARGE. Make sure all toys and parts are larger than your child’s mouth, or can’t fit into a toilet paper roll, to prevent choking (especially for children less than 3 years).
- Avoid toys that shoot objects into the air. They can cause serious eye injuries or can cause choking if swallowed.
- Avoid toys that are loud to prevent damage to your child’s hearing. See 10 Tips to Preserve Your Child’s Hearing during the Holidays.
- Look for stuffed toys that are well made. Make sure all the parts are on tight and seams and edges are secure. It should also be machine washable. Take off any loose ribbons or strings to avoid strangulation. Avoid toys that have small bean-like pellets or stuffing that can cause choking or suffocation if swallowed.
- Buy plastic toys that are sturdy. Toys made from thin plastic may break easily with sharp edges.
- Make sure the label says “nontoxic.”
- Avoid hobby kits and chemistry sets for any child younger than 12 years. They can cause fires or explosions and may contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure your older child knows how to safely handle these kinds of toys.
- Electric toys should be “UL Approved.” Check the label to be sure.
- Be careful when buying crib toys. Soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation and should be kept out of the crib. Any hanging crib toy (mobiles, crib gyms) should be out of your baby’s reach and must be removed when your baby first begins to push up on their hands and knees or when the baby is 5 months old, whichever occurs first. These toys can strangle a baby.
“Make sure to check the age recommendations on toys, which not only helps prevent possible choking hazards but also tells you that these toys are best suited for your child’s needs and interests at this stage of development,” said Lois Lee, MD, MPH, FAAP, incoming chair of the Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention.
Important information about recalled toys
One of the goals of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is to protect consumers and families from dangerous toys. It sets up rules and guidelines to ensure products are safe and issues recalls of products if a problem is found. Toys are recalled for various reasons including unsafe lead levels, choking or fire hazards, or other problems that make them dangerous. Toys that are recalled should be removed right away. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead, ask your child’s doctor about testing for elevated blood lead levels.
This post was originally published November 2019.
IHA Urgent Care locations are open on holidays! Don’t spend your holiday waiting in a waiting room. Save your spot in line at an Urgent Care location near you and wait at home.