The holiday season is upon us! It is a time of giving, receiving and sharing great memories with our loved ones. But did you know that December is also ‘Safe Toys and Gifts Month’? This month is dedicated to raising awareness of potential dangers of certain toys and the materials they are made of, as well as best practices when it comes to appropriate toy gift-giving. To kick off the month, Radius has gathered some of the BEST physical therapy toys that are great gifts for children with physical or occupational therapy needs. Ensuring the development of mobility and movement at an early age is important for all children, but especially those that may have disabilities or are recovering from an injury.
If you have a little one in your life who is suffering from any number of physical therapy ailments, this list could provide some insight into purchasing a gift that is both fun and functional.
Yoga for Kids
Yoga is one of the best treatments for improving mobility and flexibility and is practiced by around 20 million Americans every year. It also has strong ties to mood – it may be a great way to keep your little one calm! For a unique gift, why not get the aspiring Yogi started with their sirasanas and crow poses as early as possible? You can sign them up for children’s yoga classes or create at-home routines that you can do together.
This is probably the MOST fun of all the physical therapy toys on the list. While trampolines can provide great fun for hours, they are also associated with a plethora of health benefits. In addition to improving balance, coordination and stamina, using a trampoline on a regular basis has also proven to be good for heart health, strengthening the immune system and increasing energy levels. While you’re at it, why not throw in an adult-sized one as well!
Building blocks, whether they be large foam blocks or smaller interlocking pieces like Lego, have been a staple under the Christmas tree for years. But they are also a staple in the physical therapists office – they are revered tools in helping children develop a variety of skills including fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, spatial reasoning and cognitive flexibility. Stacking cups are also a great alternative that achieve that same result. Children that have difficulty developing fine motor skills at a young age may have to go through occupational therapy to help them along, so getting them started as soon as possible is a great idea.
Any toy that involves steering promotes understanding spatial sense and directionality. These kinds of toys also help in the development of gross motor skills. These differ from fine motor skills – gross motor skills involve larger muscle groups and encompass things like walking and climbing whereas fine motor skills are more closely related to dexterity and coordination. If a child is recovering from an injury and is slowly re-learning how to use their larger muscles again, this could be a very fun way to do so. And who can deny the look on their face when they open up their very first car?
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