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  • Writer's pictureAnnmarie DeMarco

Holiday Gift Guide; 12-18 months!

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

This toy offers your toddler a great tactile experience! Each of the shapes have different textures & your little one will learn problem solving skills as they place the shapes in and take them out. This activity is also good for visual motor skills!

This toy encourages visual motor skills and bilateral coordination. As your little one grows, you can also use the SpinAgain to teach basic concepts (big/little) and color recognition.

Fill up the pen with water, have your little one move the brush across the page, and watch the picture magically appear! I have used a paintbrush for this activity, or placed a small amount of water on the page and let the kiddos use their hands to splash and move the water around. Prewriting strokes (drawing vertical lines, horizontal lines) begin around 2 years old, so don't worry about focusing on your child's grasp around 12- 18 months; this activity is just for fun and provides a good opportunity for little ones to play & hold a writing utensil.

Pop tubes offer such a fun sensory motor experience! When your little one pulls on the tube, it extends while making fun popping sounds. This toy is great for strengthening, proprioception (body awareness), and coordination. Initially, you may have to hold one end and encourage your child to pull the other end; keep practicing & your little one will be able to do it independently! Pushing the tube back together is a bit more challenging, but show your little one how & keep the fun going!

Let's talk a little bit about the vestibular system (movement and balance.) Some little ones LOVE movement and can't get enough of it! Others don't enjoy movement & are gravitationally insecure. They have difficulty on swings, slides, or during rough and tumble play. If your little one enjoys movement, this is a great option.. and if they do not enjoy movement, it is still a great option! Let me explain.. if a child is gravitationally insecure, we want to introduce them to movement in a slow, predictable manner. The best way to do that is with linear (back and forth) movement because it is calming. Spinning, flipping or climbing may be too much because it is unpredictable.

Also, make sure your child can SEE out of the swing if they are uncomfortable with movement; this will help as the activity is more predictable when they can use their vision.

Squigz are SO. MUCH. FUN. When I am using them with this age group, I usually will remove the 2 orange Squigz as they are smaller. The Squigz have suction cups on either end; they stick together & other surfaces in your home! This toy promotes hand strengthening, bilateral coordination, & visual motor skills.

This toy promotes fine motor & visual motor skills! Some of the spikes are more difficult to take out than others and that teaches a child how to grade their force (how much or how little strength to use when engaging in an activity.)

I know we're moving into the winter months, but you can use a water table in the house, garage, or basement. Place some towels down under and around the table and let your little one play! When it starts to snow, bring some snow inside and put it in the table. Items such as cups, spoons, or other toys are a great addition to the table. I love this activity for little ones who are just beginning to pull to stand as it usually encourages them to stand to play for a longer amount of time! (You'll see this table in my next post too- because you can make this into a sensory table for older kiddos! There are many different ways to use a water table!)

Since this post focuses on 12-18 months; I want to preface this by informing you that I usually begin to use the Body Sox around 18 months. Some little ones do not like their head covered initially, but as they become more comfortable, they may go all the way inside the Body Sox. Always make sure you are close by while they are using this! Your little one can see out of the Body Sox when they are inside, but you cannot see inside. This is a great option for kiddos who need a visual break; kids that are sensitive to bright lights, or become easily distracted when they are in a multisensory environment (bright lights, lots of sounds, interacting with multiple peers.) Body Sox are usually snug, which provides proprioception and can be a calming experience.

Up Next: 18-24 months!

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