Small Gifts/Stocking Stuffers
People are always on the lookout for small gifts or stocking stuffers that won't clutter up your house. There are also a lot of people who need to get a little gift for kids as a thank you for having them to a party or a simple gift exchange. I've been putting together this list for more years than I can count and one of my favorite things to share are my favorite small gifts. Stocking stuffers/small gifts are almost always the ones that bring the biggest smiles to faces. Haven't we all learned that sometimes the best gifts are the small ones that come in the smallest boxes???
Discovery Putty-working on making those little hand muscles stronger can be a challenge for kids. I have found that you have to make it fun and motivating for kids and Discovery Putty is just that. There are four sets to choose from with different themes (transportation, school supplies, animals and sweet treats). Kids work on improving their grasp strength and manipulation skills by hiding the small objects in the putty and then finding them.
Tenzi-this dice game is one of my all time favorites! More importantly, the kids love it and ask to play all the time. The rules are simple: each person playing grabs 10 dice (each set comes with 4 different colored dice) and starts rolling. The first person to get all 10 dice on the number they choose is the winner. Be sure to check out their website for lots of different ways to play the game! Tenzi is a great game for working on eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, focus/attention and organizational skills.
Rock Chalk-you can never go wrong with giving kids chalk! My daughter spends hours and hours during the warmer months drawing on our sidewalk. This set of chalk, shaped like rocks, is perfect for those little hands and even can help in developing grasping skills. If you have an easel at home with a chalkboard, this set of chalk is perfect! (Working on a vertical surface is great for improving upper extremity strength and shoulder stability).
Zoo Sticks-meals can be a really frustrating time for some families so why not try and make it more fun?? I've been using these child-friendly chopsticks at work and at home for years and kids love them. Okay, I won't lie....I don't know how to use real chopsticks and will sometimes use these! Chopsticks are great for working on improving grasp strength and manipulation skills. They are also great for working on improving eye-hand coordination. You don't only have to use them for meal time. I like to have kids at work use them when picking up small objects.
32 Ways To Dress a Bunny-this cute little booklet has 32 different drawings of a bunny and your child gets to draw different outfits on the bunny! Each page has a picture of the bunny's face and limbs (or fox) doing different activities. Your kid gets to decide how to dress and accessorize them! Great for working on improving graphomotor skills, focus and attention, improves creativity skills and can be great for encouraging language skills. Another great feature....they are small and can be thrown in a bag to keep your kids entertained at a restaurant, in the car or in a waiting room!
Slime Suckers-if you have a kid who is cool with gross, this is perfect for them. The best part, kids get the thumbs up to play with gross stuff and work on improving fine motor skills at the same time! Each set comes with a container filled with slime and a creature that can suck the slime up. I love the fact that it's totally affordable (under $3!) but really love the fact that it is a super fun way to get kids to work on developing fine motor skills. I just might have to buy this for every kid I know!
Magnetic Hangman Game-I grew up playing the game of Hangman with my friends and sisters. Hangman is the perfect game for kids who have learned how to spell and want to show off their skills. This particular version of Hangman is great because it is easy to put in a bag and travel with. In general, the game of Hangman is a great way to reinforce learning how to spell words, learn the letters of the alphabet and work on social skills. It's also a great way to work on improving many executive functioning skills such as focus, attention, problem solving and organizational skills.
Wikki Stix-I've been a big fan of Wikki Stix from the first time I went into a restaurant with a kid and they gave them out instead of crayons and a coloring page! I remember the kid I was with making a pair of glasses out of the Wikki Stix and my now husband and I making our own designs! For those of you unfamiliar with Wikki Stix, they are wax-covered pieces of yarn that can be molded and made into a variety of things. I like to use them to help kids learn how to make shapes, letters, numbers and other kinds of pictures. Kids can also work on decreasing tactile sensitivity and improving bilateral coordination, fine motor and eye-hand coordination skills when using Wikki Stix.
Rock Crayons-maybe there is a pattern with me....I like writing instruments that encourage an appropriate grip. An added bonus is if said writing instruments actually are brightly colored! Each set comes with 12 multi-colored, rock-shaped crayons. Because of their shape and size, they help to encourage a tripod-like grasp when you use them. The multi-colored design makes them more exciting and motivating for kids who may be a bit discouraged to pick up a crayon to draw or color with.
Molin Roty Transfers-my daughter received these at a birthday party recently and she has been obsessed with them! I was so excited to see her so into them because I remember doing these when I was her age. These make a great little gift and are perfect for working on improving fine motor skills, graphomotor skills, creativity and eye-hand coordination. One of the things I like about these is that you can also work on storytelling and language skills. Once all the pictures are in place and they have colored the pictures in, you can have your kid make up a story about the scene.
Travel Spirograph-another toy that brings me back to my own childhood! Spirograph is perfect for working on improving bilateral coordination, fine motor and grasping skills, eye-hand coordination and visual motor skills. It also encourages creativity in children. Easy to throw into a bag and bring to a restaurant or on a plane.
Melting Snowman-I have used this at work and the kids love it! You get a little box of white putty with all the necessary parts to build a snowman. Once it is all together, he will melt and you have to put him back together. Everyone thinks it is hilarious to watch him melt! Great for working on improving fine motor skills, bilateral coordination, building grasp strength and manipulation skills, body awareness and focus and attention. I've actually seen these sets at several of my local toy stores (Little Things in Park Slope, Stationary and Toy on the UWS of Manhattan and Mary Arnold Toys on the UES to name a few).