top of page
Search

A Guide to the Best Toys this Holiday Season: From Birth to Five Years Old

As the holiday season approaches, bringing with it the warm glow of festivities and the excitement of gift-giving, the search for the perfect toys becomes a cherished tradition. Whether you're a parent eager to create magical memories or a professional seeking enriching tools for early development, the quest for the ideal toys is an annual adventure.


At The Interaction Coach, we understand the significance of play in fostering communication and learning in our young ones. That's why we've teamed up with two esteemed Speech-Language Pathologists: Wendy Avolio and Adrienne Wallace. Together, Wendy and Adrienne have crafted a curated list of top toy recommendations for children from birth to 5 years old.


Join us on this journey as we unwrap the gift of knowledge and playfulness, exploring toys that foster opportunities for communication and learning. These recommendations are not just a shopping list; they're a doorway to shared moments of discovery, laughter, and growth.


Please be aware that, while we provide free resources for parents and caregivers, this post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Your support enables us to continue delivering valuable content. View our full Affiliate Disclaimer here. While this list includes Amazon links, you are more than welcome to shop around for better prices.


Gifts for Babies 0-6 Months Old





Features: This portable play gym can be used in any part of the house or taken with you for family visits.

Best for: Cognitive and motor development






#2- Tie

Features: This water play mat is colorful and portable.

Best for: Cognitive development and development of muscle strength and range of motion.





#2- Tie

Features: This mirror is excellent for tummy play, highchair time or interacting with mom and dad during lap time.

Best for: Every baby needs to see their beautiful face! Promotes facial part recognition and development of self-awareness





Features: This play gym has activities for children in early infancy through their 3rd birthday. It transfers to many configurations to

accommodate tummy play and for carrying the musical instrument.

Best for: Development of language concepts, speech development, motor strengthening and color and music appreciation





Features: This toy allows infants to engage in stimulating learning experiences without premature exposure to unnecessary screen time while traveling in the car.

Best for: Excellent infant stimulation of cognitive skills. Stimulates thinking, motor and language skills





Features: This toy is the #1 pick of a speech-language pathologist.

Best for: Overall infant development! Activities

on mat, above baby and on poles

surrounding baby



Gifts for Infants 6-12 Months Old




Features: This toy is a safe introduction to block building with soft colors and images.

Best for: Stimulation of the 5 senses during play





Features: These rings are an ideal fit for infant hands and features funny sounds with each stacked ring.

Best for: Cognitive stimulation for introduction to STEM learning. Many learning opportunities in one toy





Features: Two essential toys at a reasonable price- ring stack and shape sorter.

Best for: Wide variety of concept development including “dump & fill” play stage, and exposure to shape/color/size exploration.





Features: This learning toy is soft and huggable.

Best for: Plush boy dog to learn body parts and action word vocabulary



OR



Features: This learning toy is soft and huggable.

Best for: Plush girl dog to learn body parts and action word vocabulary





Features: This activity center comes in 3 colors/patterns and has a wide variety of activities in a safe environment.

Best for: Baby can safely walk around while exploring an age-appropriate activity center.




Gifts for One-Year-Olds



Features: This pelican toy is washable, soft and huggable and children can change animals within the pelican's “diet.”

Best for: Excellent parent/child face-to-face play with built-in language stimulation and social development





#2- Tie

Features: Comes with a family sized just right for toddler hands and folds with a handle for carrying.

Best for: Developing social skills, speech and language vocabulary



OR


#2- Tie

Features: This farm plays songs and makes animal sounds.

Best for: Speech/Language development, including imitation, vocabulary and concept development





Features: This musical train has animals that engage in actions during the ride.

Best for: Language development and imaginative interactive play





Features: This basket can speak to your child for social growth or be turned off.

Best for: Integrated play with basic shaped foods that match plated shapes





Features: You don’t need a kid-size kitchen for kitchen play. This playset is portable with picnic side play.

Best for: Social skill development, learning sequencing skills and imaginative play.





Gifts for Two-Year-Olds



#1- Tie

Features: The animals store within the truck.

Best for: Versatile learning, imaginative play, language development and fine motor skills


OR


#1- Tie

Features: These realistic toys actually work, and the backpack holds pieces.

Best for: Excellent for hours of make pretend play and language interaction






#2- Tie

Features: The soup ingredients store in its own cardboard lidded soup bowl.

Best for: Learning 1:1 correspondence, communication skills and imaginative interactive play



OR



#2- Tie

Features: This bear also serves as a building/nesting toy.

Best for: Excellent vocabulary development of a child's environment, facilitates “WH” question answering, matching skills and developing eye for detail.





Features: Parents will love that they can turn off the sound.

Best for: Variety of books for broad vocabulary learning. Needs only light tap by a toddler to access words, and many of the books are bilingual.





Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzles

Features: All of these puzzles feature realistic sounds and are children supported.

Best for: Excellent at providing stimulation to promote the sound imitation necessary for speech sound development.









































Mr & Mrs. Potato Head

Features: There are a wide variety of sets and accessory sets. Parents are encouraged to pick sets that best represent their child’s interests. Most sets have self-storage and interchangeable facial parts for generalized learning.

Best for: Wonderful toys to teach body parts and encourage social skills















Gifts for Three-Year-Olds


Age range: 2 to 8 years

Features: This set includes 100 wooden blocks in 4 different colors and 9 shapes. This takes your child a step beyond the typical square and rectangular shaped blocks for endless possibilities.

Best for: Interactive and creative play

Price: $





Age range: 3 years old and up

Features: This full-size kitchen is complete with a refrigerator, freezer, microwave, oven, stovetop and sink. The included magnets stick to the refrigerator, which is equipped with a working ice dispenser.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$$$





Age range: 3 years old and up

Features: Build vocabulary as your child uses the sand to mix, squish, cut, scoop, twist and more.

Best for: Interactive and creative play

Price: $





Age range: 3 years old and up

Features: This cash register comes with a real calculator and scanner, mic speaker, play money and sound effects.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $





Age range: 3 to 6 years

Features: This blender set allows your child to spin the know to pretend to make multiple smoothie flavors with the included base, jar and lid. Place your order from the menu and watch your child chop the wooden fruit and vegetables with the included knife.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$





Gifts for Four-Year-Olds


Age range: 3 years old and up

Features: This is a less expensive alternative to Magna Tiles and allows children to construct 3D shapes. They easily stack and store away.

Best for: Creative and pretend play

Price: $$





Age range: 3 to 6 years

Features: This doll's eyes open and close, and she can suck either her thumb or pacifier.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $


OR

Age range: 3 to 6 years

Features: This doll's eyes open and close, and she can suck either her thumb or pacifier.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $





Age range: 3 years old and up

Features: This vet kit includes a stuffed dog and cat, pretend play vet medical equipment and a tote bag for easy storage.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$





Age range: 3 to 6 years

Features: This toy includes eight ice cream scoops, six toppings, two cones, a cup, scooper, tongs, wooden spoon and pretend dollar 1 bills.

Best for: Interactive and pretend play

Price: $$





Age range: 3 to 5 years old

Features: This play food set comes with six sliceable wooden pizza slices and more than 30 toppings.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $




Gifts for Five-Year-Olds



Age range:

Features: This medical kit includes a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, otoscope, syringe, bandage & fabric "doctor" bag.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $





Age range: 3 to 6 years

Features: This 52-piece sandwich counter includes wooden and felt pieces, a menu and pretend prep instructions.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$



Age range: 3 to 6 years old

Features: This play food set comes with 34 toppings, which enables your child to make your pretend pizza-to-order.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$





Age range: 4 years old and up

Features: This is a play on the classic "Bingo" game and builds language and matching skills in preschool kids.

Best for: Interactive play and vocabulary building

Price: $



Age range: 4 years old and up

Features: This 2-story play house includes three figures, two dogs, baby bottle, highchair and more.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$


OR

Age range: 4 years old and up

Features: This playground set includes seven children figures, two adult figures, playground equipment, toy food and even animals to mimic a large park.

Best for: Pretend play

Price: $$$


OR

Age range: 5 years old and up

Features: This grocery store set includes two adult figures, one child figure, food, cash register and many other accessories.

Best for: Interactive and pretend play

Price: $$$



 

If you are a parent or guardian interested in learning more about how to Use Themes to Promote Communication at Home, please sign up for our online parent program. This program is tailored to parents of children aged 0 to 3, whether they're already displaying strong speech and language skills or could use a helping hand to overcome any potential communication delays.


If you are a speech-language pathologist working with children in Early Intervention or Preschool, check out our Using Themes to Promote Early Language Development or Foundations of Early Intervention courses. Both courses are 40% off with code FRIDAY23 through 11/27/23 at 11:59pm EST.


 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. View our full Affiliate Disclaimer here.










266 views

Comments


pexels-daria-shevtsova-1257099-min.jpg

Joyce is very knowledgeable. Not only as a speech therapist but also on how the school system works. Which is very helpful going through the IEP process. She was able to engage with my daughter and was never hesitant to help in any way. I would definitely recommend Joyce to anyone that is looking for a trustworthy, caring and informed speech therapist.

- AUTUMN MARSHALL, PARENT
bottom of page