Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 Holiday Gift List

For those of you who haven't received my holiday list in the past, here is this years.  This list is different from ones in the past as I added a section for iPad/iPhone apps that I have found useful, both at home with my daughter and at work with all the children.  

Oldies but Goodies:
Here are a few of my favorite toys from the last few years.  They never get old and are a constant request at the gym from children of all ages!

Tumblin' Monkeys
*works on color recognition, fine motor development, turn taking, problem solving

Wok and Roll
*works on fine motor development, color recognition, matching, improving frustration tolerance

*great game that kids ask for all the time.  works on color recognition, improving following directions, modulation and regulation/decreasing impulsive tendencies, upper extremity strength

Sticky Mosaic Activity Sets
*these continue to be a huge hit with all the children.  They are now making sets for the littlest of fingers to the biggest, girls and boys.  They have simple projects that can get done quickly and have recently added a bunch of picture frames, 3D sets, etc.  These are great for fine motor development, increasing grasp strength, improving eye-hand coordination, number and color recognition

*another constant favorite with children of all ages.  Works on visual motor and visual perceptual skills, color and shape recognition, motor planning.  Encourages creativity

LEGO Building Mosaic Set
*one of my all time favorite toy finds!  Not sure that they are in production, but every once in a while you can find them on sale for a decent price on Amazon.  These are great for fine motor/grasping skills, finger strengthening, color recognition, visual motor and visual perceptual skills and improving eye hand coordination.  

Jawbones Manipulative Toys
*for those who love LEGOS and any other manipulative toys.  You can twist, turn, snap and pop all these different shapes into place to make lots of cool designs.  You can make your own or follow the patterns provided.  Great for working on grasping, fine motor strength, motor planning and visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  Also great for color recognition.

Some of my new favorites:
I spend hours and hours a year testing out and looking for new toys, books, etc. for the children I work with.  Nothing brings me more satisfaction than seeing children learn how to play a new game and develop new interests and skills.  Here are a handful of my favorites!

Wild Wool and Robo Champ LEGO Games
*this is a fun game that keeps children engaged for a long period of time.  It works on fine motor skill development, such as strength and in-hand manipulation skills.  Great game to play with friends and come up with different rules.  also works on problem solving, turn taking, compromising and working with other children to resolve conflicts/come up with game rules

LEGO Brick and More, My First LEGO Set
*great first LEGO set for the younger ones who want to play with LEGOS like their older siblings.  LEGOS are always a great way to increase grasp strength and improve in-hand manipulation skills.  Also works on improving eye-hand coordination, visual perceptual skills and visual motor skills.  Can work on color and shape recognition as well.

Story Cubes
*for older/school age children.  These cubes are great for working on sequencing, creativity and story telling.  Can be done individually or with a group of friends to make it more interactive.  

*for older/school age children.  Works on letter recognition, spelling and improving fine motor skills/grasping skills and improving in-hand manipulation skills.

*not a new game, but new to my list.  This has become a new favorite in the gym as of late.  Works on motor planning, modulation/regulation, turn taking and problem solving.  For school or group situations, you can take the Jenga pieces and write questions on them and turn it into a social skills game as well!

Unforgettable Memory Game
*i am a big fan of wooden games and things that don't make a lot of noise or require batteries.  I saw this game in the Land of Nod and was immediately sold.  There are 8-memory games in one set.  Great for working on eye hand coordination, memory, sequencing, improving visual motor and visual perceptual skills.

Waiter-In-Waiting Balancing Game
*another one of those great wooden games that should last forever!  You have to try and figure out the best way to get as many of the blocks balanced on the waiters arm.  Great for color recognition, improving frustration tolerance, motor planning and works on modulation and regulation.  

Kids City Maps-City Walk Cards
*there are a million amazing things to do in this city (and every city really!).  These cards will give you some fun activities to do in NYC and many other cities that you just might visit.  

Yogarilla Cards
*i have recently become a big fan of Yoga during my OT sessions.  The benefits are endless for all children (and adults).  Yoga can work on motor planning, improve modulation and regulation, improve bilateral coordination skills and works on crossing the midline.  These are great cards that make it easy to explain how to do each pose even if you aren't into yoga yourself.  

Move Your Body Cards
*great for motor planning, following directions, body strengthening and motor coordination.  Cards are easy to understand and super motivating.

Pre-Handwriting Fun Deck
Fine Motor Fun Deck
*these cards are a fantastic way to introduce handwriting and pre-writing skills to our younger children.  They are dry erase cards so you can use them over and over again.  There are a bunch of hand and body activities to go along with each written activity on the back.  The benefits to these two sets of cards are endless.  They are a new favorite for my children at the office!

Ten Little Monkeys and Old MacDonald's Farm Dot Books
*i discovered these fantastic books this summer.  They are a favorite of my daughter.  They are great for fine motor skill development, visual motor and visual perceptual skills, improve counting skills and eye-hand coordination

iPad/iPhone Applications
It didn't seem right to not include this category in this year's list.  I, like many of you, have begun to use the iPad in the gym more often.  It is a very motivating tool for the children and the applications available are endless.  I find that I am able to work on concepts and achieve goals using the iPad as inceptive.  It is also great because it works on improving eye hand coordination, finger and hand strength and improves visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  Here are just a few of my favorites (but this changes on a day to day basis as new ones come out!)

Crayola Trace and Draw and Crayola ColorStudio HD 
* 20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=B0058CT33K
you will need to order this stylus in order to get the full effect of these games.  Children love the coloring and drawing aspect of these two apps.  You are able to adjust the difficulty of each project which makes this a good app for all ages.  Even those most resistant to doing handwriting and coloring can be motivated to do this when presented on an iPad.

Fun With Directions HD
Great application that works on following directions and auditory processing.  There are varying levels so this is good for pre-schoolers through grade school.  Works on a bunch of different concepts that our children are learning in school. 

Kidsapp hd: The Farm
This has been a big hit with preschool and younger grade school children.  Colorful puzzles and coloring pages are very motivating for children.  This is good for visual tracking and scanning when you ask them to find animals in the barn.  

Wally's Where's My Water/Cut the Rope
*fun game for the older kids who love to problem solve.  I like to work on these kinds of games with my children who have regulation and modulation issues.  Teaches them to work on slowing down their actions and not rushing through an activity.  This one is fun for the parents as well!  I am currently hooked on Wally's Where's My Water!

Rush Hour
*like the board game version of this, but on the iPad.  Children are a big fan of this game and so am I.  This works on problem solving, improving frustration tolerance.  I love presenting games that a child might play in this format to work on generalizing skills learned elsewhere or in a different way.  

*for those children who love music.   Older preschool/elementary school level app.  Learn how to "play" the piano by following the directions.  Works on color recognition and modulation and regulation, improves visual motor and visual perceptual skills.  The children are SO proud when they can play a whole song!

Question Builder
*great for auditory processing and working on how to answer questions.  Works on answering who, what, why, how questions in a fun and motivating way for children who might resist these types of activities otherwise.  

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