toy takeover

Sharing Developmental Toys During Toy Takeover 2023
Sharing Developmental Toys During Toy Takeover 2023 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

We are so excited that it’s December because that can only mean one thing… The 2023 Toy Takeover is finally here! Each year, our team works together to create a list of our favorite toys that are not only fun, but help your children work on their developmental milestones. This year, we think that we’ve curated the perfect list of toys and cannot wait for you to try them out with your little ones this holiday season and beyond.  Ready to get to the fun? Let’s get started! 

Here are the toys that made this year’s Toy Takeover list (we know your family is going to love them):

Adjustable Hula Hoop

We would like to introduce you to the first toy on our list – an adjustable hula hoop! Twirl it around your waist, create a bean bag toss, jump in and out, incorporate it into a dance routine, or take turns rolling back and forth. One cool thing about this specific hula hoop is that it can be taken apart and adjusted to fit your child. So, as they grow, you can add sections to the hula hoop or remove sections as needed! 

Pop-up Cause and Effect Toy

We know that your little one is going to absolutely love playing with the next toy on our list. This cause-and-effect toy is from Battat and contains 4 adorable pals that your child will enjoy seeing over and over again. Not only is this toy super cute and colorful, but it will also introduce your child to cause-and-effect concepts while practicing a variety of fine motor skills and stimulating language development. 

Sassy Ring O Links

Sassy Ring O Links is the perfect first toy for a baby’s little hands, as it encourages early reaching and grasping skills. This wonderful set comes with 9 different colored rings, with each ring having its own unique texture. Although this toy is primarily for really young children, you can also use Sassy Ring O Links to help your child work on their color recognition, counting skills, and speech. 

Coogam Matching Egg Puzzle

One final toy we wanted to share with you is the Coogam Matching Egg Puzzle (this may just be our favorite toy to make the list this year!) Infants will enjoy taking the eggs in and out of the carton, and toddlers will love matching the colors and shapes or counting up all of their eggs. As a bonus, we highly recommend getting together with your little ones and playing pretend using the eggs!

From all of us at Pediatric Therapy Network, Happy Holidays! We have had so much fun working with each and every one of you this year, and we look forward to working with you and your family in 2024. We hope you enjoy some quality time with your loved ones this holiday season.

Fun Idea: If you are looking for some snow-themed activities to partake in as a family this winter, check out our Pinterest boards. We have thousands of delightful activities and crafts pinned on our boards that will entertain your little ones and help them work on their skills in the process.

Toy Takeover 2022 – Supporting Local Stores and Sharing Toys Your Child Will Love!
Toy Takeover 2022 – Supporting Local Stores and Sharing Toys Your Child Will Love! 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

We hope you’re ready because it’s finally time for one of our favorite parts of the year… Toy Takeover! Each holiday season, our PTN therapists do their research and come up with a list of some fantastic developmental toys that we know your little ones will love. Not only will these toys help your child work on developing their play skills, but you can even purchase some of them at local toy stores around the city.

For Toy Takeover 2022, we wanted to highlight three fantastic toy stores that could really use your love and support this holiday season – Timeless Toys, Building Blocks Toy Store, and Emmerson Toys, Gifts, & Hobbies. Shopping locally helps our city thrive, and these stores will really appreciate your business.

Toy Takeover 2022 List:

Stacking Music Set (Shop Local)

This awesome toy comes with instruments such as a xylophone, drum, rattle, and scratchboard and is sure to keep your kiddos entertained for hours on end. Your child will have to use their balance and coordination skills to create some awesome music and march to the beat. Then, once you and your little one have made some fun beats, have them work on their speech and language skills by creating some silly lyrics!

Infantino Sensory Balls, Blocks & Buddies

One of our favorite toys to make the Toy Takeover list this year is the Infantino Sensory Balls, Blocks, & Buddies set. This set comes with a whopping 20 pieces, all of which can be used to help your child learn colors, shapes, animals, and textures. Your child can also work on their fine and gross motor skills by stacking the blocks or throwing the balls into a basket!

SmartMax My First Safari Animals (Shop Local)

Get ready to get a little silly with the SmartMax My First Safari Animals! Your little one will have to use their fine motor skills, animal recognition, and matching skills to put the cute creatures back together. Once your child has successfully matched all of the animals, let them show off their goofy side by creating their own animal combinations!

LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket

Challenge your child’s imagination and pretend play by having an indoor picnic! Your little one will have to use their fine motor skills to carefully place the food into the correct hole and use their speech to describe each food’s color, shape, and size. Another great feature of this toy is that the picnic basket speaks and will ask your child to feed it a specific piece of food. 

Wooden Beehives (Shop Local)

The final toy on our list is colorful and a whole lot of fun to play with. Incorporate fine and gross motor play as well as speech and language skills all in one!  Your child can practice gripping and pinching the wooden tweezers and return each bee to its matching hive. Then, have your child work on their counting and color recognition, or encourage them to stand up and stack the hives on top of each other!

From all of us at Pediatric Therapy Network, happy holidays! To see what other toys made our 2022 Toy Takeover list, follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest), and be sure to sign up for our newsletter. All December long, we will be sharing more toy suggestions, fun tips, resources, and more!

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!

Toy Takeover 2020 – 5 Fantastic Learning and Development Toys
Toy Takeover 2020 – 5 Fantastic Learning and Development Toys 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

December is here!  Can you believe it?  When people say “the year crept up on them”, it really rings true for 2020.  While there was a ton of instability this year, one thing that remains stable is our annual tradition of our December Toy Takeover. There are many wonderful toys that are designed to help with your child’s learning and development, including five we really love for their versatility.

Not only will these five particular toys provide hours of endless fun for your little ones, but they will also help to work on all areas of your child’s development from gross motor and fine motor skills to speech and cognition. The best part? All of the toys featured in our December blog can be purchased at local small businesses in the Chicago area.  At PTN, we believe that shopping local matters and we encourage everyone to support as many small businesses as possible. This especially applies to this year as many of these businesses have struggled during the pandemic.

We’ve decided to feature two local stores in this year’s blog – Building Blocks Toy Store, and Timeless Toys. If you’re interested in purchasing from Building Blocks Toy Store, below is a promotion that they’re currently having for $5 local Chicago deliveries:

With that being said, let’s get onto the list:


Squigz are one of the most versatile toys on the market. Not only can your child suction cup them to basically any surface around your home, but they’ll also be able to channel their creativity as they build cool structures and unique objects by connecting the Squigz together. Your kiddos will love gripping, sticking, creating, and separating their fun new toy, and you’ll love the fact that Squigz are safe and easy to clean.

Shape Sorting Cube 

We love to use this toy during therapy sessions and now your kiddo can use it at home, too! This vibrant shape sorting cube is wonderful for helping your child learn their shapes, colors, and sorting, while also working on developing their fine motor skills and gripping. You can even start early with this toy by removing the top and having your child practice putting objects in and out of a container.

The set features 12 colorful shapes that your child will enjoy dropping into the provided wooden cube over and over again. Once they’ve figured out where each shape goes, simply have them dump out all of the pieces and repeat the process.

LED Hula Hoop

Did you know that there are plenty of things that you can do with a hula hoop besides actually hula hooping? Yes, really! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Hold onto the sides and sing, Ring Around the Rosey (the hoop can assist with side stepping, weight shifting or transitions to and from the floor if that is a goal for your child).
  • Turn the hoop so that it is standing straight up to create a tunnel that your child has to squat down and walk through.
  • Make a choo-choo train by having the leader in the hoop while others hold the back and take your train for a spin through the house.
  • Create a “pit” to jump or step in and out of.
  • Make a bean bag toss game and use the hoop for your target.
  • Go on a scavenger hunt and place all of your collected items in the hoop.
  • Have a dance contest and incorporate the hoop into your dance routines.

Stomp Rockets

Get ready.. Get set.. Blast off! Stomp Rockets are the perfect gift for those kids who are always full of energy.  Your child will love setting up their glow in the dark rocket onto the launch pad, stomping as hard as they can, and then watching as it soars over 100 feet in the air. They’ll be entertained for hours on end as they keep trying to send their rocket higher up into the sky than the time before, while also working on their coordination and balance in the process.


Bubbles that have a no-spill design and come in a travel sized container? Count us in!  The container is designed so that the Fubbles will not spill out, even when tipped upside down so you can let your kiddos blow bubbles indoors without worrying about the mess! Pop the bubbles by pointing, reaching, clapping, or stomping, and practice counting and turn-taking along the way.  Each set of Fubbles comes in either a red, yellow, or blue container, and contains a bubble wand and non-toxic bubble liquid.  

Believe it or not, we’re just getting started with our Toy Takeover recommendations this holiday season. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter for more great toy ideas, and be sure to follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) as we’ll be sharing even more suggestions throughout the entire month of December.  On behalf of the entire team at PTN, we wish you and your families the happiest of holidays!

Toy Takeover 2019 – 3 Toy Ideas to Help Your Little One Learn and Grow
Toy Takeover 2019 – 3 Toy Ideas to Help Your Little One Learn and Grow 1080 1080 PTN Chicago

Every December, we like to gather up all the best toys we’ve come across throughout the year and share them with you. This year, we’ve got three top picks that are all deceptively simple, but will deliver hours of fun. Best of all, these toys will help your children with their speech, occupational, and physical therapy goals.

Without further ado, here are the developmental toys that we recommend this holiday season:

Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set

This toy is a great choice for a stocking stuffer. The four different tools that come in the pack all help build fine motor skills while working different muscles. They’re also great for developing those all-important skills of concentration and patience. Use these tools outside in the sand, as part of your child’s imaginary restaurant, or use them to play doctor – the creative possibilities are endless! In addition to this set, you could also invest in some children’s scissors or eye droppers for color mixing games and art projects. This toy is ideal for ages three and up.

Water Beads + Kinetic Sand

You may have already discovered water beads or Kinetic Sand – but you have tried combining the two? 

Kinetic Sand is an ingenious material that’s wonderful to touch, manipulate, and build with. It lets children (and parents) explore their creativity while enjoying the calming sensation of the sand and working on those fine motor skills.

Water beads are an ingenious toy that come as tiny little beads (this pack has 50,000 of them) and when you place them in water, they grow to the size of marbles. Filling a sensory bin with these is a great way to have some fun, and you can even combine these beads with Kinetic Sand. Use them to add some color, variety, or finishing touches to the things you build, or break out the tool set you purchased above and search for water beads hidden in the sand like buried treasure. This toy is great for ages three and up.

Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks

This toy is a classic, and one that frequently gets overlooked. But stacking blocks is always a favorite activity of young children. We particularly like this set from Melissa & Doug, but you can find nesting and stacking toys basically anywhere. These ones come in a nice little carrying case, have a sturdy cardboard construction, include the alphabet printed on the sides, and stack up to three feet high. They’re a great toy for working on gross motor skills such as balance, coordination, standing, and squatting while also practicing letters and sounds. This toy is great for ages zero and up.

This is just the beginning of our recommendations this season. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter this month for another toy tip, and also follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) – we’ll be sharing five more suggestions throughout the month!

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