holiday tips

Toy Takeover 2021 – Supporting Local and Sharing Fantastic Toys That Your Child Will Love
Toy Takeover 2021 – Supporting Local and Sharing Fantastic Toys That Your Child Will Love 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Toy Takeover is FINALLY here, and we’re ready to get the party started! Every year, we search near and far for creative toy ideas that your kiddos are sure to love. Each toy we’ve selected this year is a whole lot of fun to play with, works on supporting your child’s development, and can be purchased at local Chicago toy stores!

Our local businesses have been struggling to make ends meet since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s important to support these stores so that they can continue to be a part of our community for years to come. This year, we’re featuring these 4 amazing local stores – Building Blocks, Cat & Mouse, Play, and Timeless Toys. So, if you see a toy on the list that you want to purchase, simply click on the link to be directed to one of these 4 businesses ’ websites. You’ll feel great knowing that you’re supporting local while also getting your little one a fantastic developmental toy. 

With that said, and without further ado, here’s our 2021 Toy Takeover list:

Baby Paper

The first toy to make our list this year is simple and all about sensory exploration for infants. The colorful crinkly cloth paper helps babies with their isolated finger movement, early grasping skills, as well as their midline orientation. Our favorite part about this toy is that it can be brought with you anywhere to keep your kiddos entertained, and it’s washable!


The next toy on our list is a brand new sensory development ball for infants. The OgoBolli has a unique design that’s easy to hold and manipulate, and it helps work on grasping, hand-eye coordination, and fine-motor skills. OgoBolli comes in multiple colors, is dishwasher safe, and is a whole lot of fun for your little ones.

Chutes and Ladders

This classic children’s board game is sure to be a hit with your whole family. Chutes and Ladders is the perfect first board game to help with early turn-taking and listening skills. Take turns spinning the wheel to see how many spaces you’ll move, try to climb the ladders to get further in the game, and watch out for the chutes to avoid being sent back down the board!

Pop Toobs

Bend, snap, and connect with Pop Toobs! Your little one can move and expand the tubes to 4 times their original length and connect the tubes with other Pop Toobs to make awesome creations! This colorful and unique toy works on hand strength and dexterity and will provide hours of entertainment for your little ones.

Shape Sorter

This last toy is a must-have for infants and toddlers. Shape sorters are perfect for matching, sorting, counting activities, and so much more. You can start by taking the top off of the box and letting your little one put the shapes in, and then dump them out. Have your child play with this toy while standing to help them improve their balance and practice stopping down to pick up the shapes.

Happy holidays from our entire Pediatric Therapy Network team! To see more toys on our Toy Takeover list, be sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest). All month long, we will be sharing even more great toy suggestions as well as fun tips, activities, resources, and more!

Embrace the Holiday Fun with Play Therapy!
Embrace the Holiday Fun with Play Therapy! 1000 667 PTN Chicago

While we encourage at-home play therapy all year long, engaging your children in creative therapies during the holidays can be particularly fun and festive. Of course, we realize that the holidays come with their own sets of stressors and time constraints, so here are a few simple ideas to let you enjoy playful physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy with your little ones this holiday season without adding any more items to your shopping list.

  1. Singing holiday songs.

Christmas carols and holiday tunes are pretty much everywhere this month. Take the opportunity to mix up the usual songs that you sing with your child by adding in a few simple holiday favorites. Singing is great for building confidence and practicing better speech.

If your child prefers to stick to year-round classics like “The Wheels on the Bus,” try to add in some holiday fun by singing about the Santa on the bus or the menorah on the bus. Have fun thinking of different holiday objects that you can create verses about. This is a great way to practice critical thinking and creative decision making with your child.

  1. Play in the snow.

If you happen to live somewhere chilly, take the opportunity to enjoy fresh snowfalls with your little one. You can practice gross motor skills by packing snowballs and throwing them at (non-human) targets or by building a snowman. In warmer climates, you can jump in puddles after winter rainstorms.

Just remember to be cognizant of the needs and comfort of your child. Bundle them up in waterproof, comfortable clothes and don’t try to force them to engage in activities that “other kids” like. You’ll both have a much better time if you embrace the experience without expectations or a preset agenda.

  1. Make a holiday sensory bin.

Many unique textures are much more readily available during the holiday season for creating new sensory experiences. Search your box of decorations for materials like soft tinsel, curling ribbon, and wooly pretend snow.

  1. Decorate a gingerbread house.

This is a great way to practice fine motor skills and direction following. Depending upon the age of your child, you may want to build the actual house in advance to avoid frustration or waiting. Once the house is ready, your child can help you spread frosting, choose which candies to place where, and practice counting the candy already on the house.

As always, with each of these activities, the key is to have fun while working on important developmental skills.  We hope you enjoyed this little list of activities and, if you’re still looking for gift ideas, be sure to follow us on Facebook for our 2018 Toy Takeover.

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