Christmas is almost here, but choosing the best, safest gifts for little ones can be a year-round challenge.
Grant Clinkingbeard, MD, pediatrician with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health in Covington, shares his top picks for presents to give young children.
Ages 1-2: Books, Blocks and Mobility Toys
Reading to children is one of the best ways to help kids meet their developmental milestones. Reading promotes the development of language, speech and social skills. Regularly reading to your children at bedtime can also help to solidify a routine that will help them get better sleep.
Can’t decide which books are appropriate for your giftee’s age? Websites, such as ReadBrightly.com, allow you to search for books according to a child’s age.
Simple, yet classic, blocks are fantastic toys for young toddlers. They promote understanding of shapes and simple structures.
Toddlers, especially those between the ages of 1 and 2, often enjoy toys that can be ridden or pushed. These toys promote mobility and can improve balance.
Large foam shapes and children’s play couches are great at promoting motor development and coordination. On these toys, children can climb and jump. These kinds of gifts grow with the child. As a toddler grows into early childhood, they can use these foam shapes and cushions for imaginative play and building.
Ages 3-5: Imaginative Play, Wheels and Experiences
Toys that mimic real life situations are great for this age range, which is the perfect time for kitchen sets, doctor’s office toys, grocery sets, etc. Children at this age like to mimic their parents and role-play different situations. Toy versions of household items that their parents use are favorites as well, such as vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers.
Around age 3, children can begin riding a tricycle! Don’t forget the helmet!
This is also a great time to begin gifting experiences. Trips or memberships to the local zoo, aquarium, or children’s museum can be fantastic opportunities for learning and family bonding.