The Physical Therapist’s Gift Giving Guide For Children

The season for gift-giving is right around the corner. While you’re trying to find that perfect gift for your kids or a loved one’s children, our pediatric physical therapists have listed lots of great gift options for you to choose from. Not only will the children love these fun toys, but they’ll also actually help to promote their motor development skills!

Best Gifts for Infants

Play Mats

These are great because they encourage floor play, tummy time, and independent movement.

Piano Mats

These are great for infants to learn cause and effect, reaching during tummy time to make music, or kicking while on their back to promote abdominal strengthening.


Once the baby is starting to crawl, a tunnel is great to encourage crawling on hands and knees as well as improving object permanence.

Best Gifts for Toddlers

T-Ball Tee with Bat & Ball

This gift is helpful for improving hand-eye coordination and squat practice when picking up and placing the ball, while also encouraging running.


We love this gift because it encourages different movements like bouncing, climbing, jumping, and balance training.

Ride Inside Car

This is a guaranteed way to make a child’s face light up, but what they don’t know is that it's great for postural awareness, steering practice and UE coordination, and hamstring strength from pulling the car forward.


Besides the laughter that erupts from a child when they use a slide, they actually encourage climbing and stair/ladder negotiation, vestibular input through moving quickly down the slide, and lower extremity strengthening from climbing up the slide.

Best Gifts for School-Aged Kids and Toddlers

Legos, K'nex, Magnatiles

All these types of toys help teach fine motor skills and improve a child’s problem-solving ability. One of the great things about these toys is that they can be done as a family or individually.


If the child is over 3 years old, this toy is good for hand strengthening, fine motor skills, sensory stimulation, and imaginative play. If you’re looking to help a child under 3 with these skills, use something edible to mold and squish so it’s safe if accidentally eaten, like cream cheese, soft cookies, or brownies.

Best Gifts for School Age/Teens

Virtual Reality Headset

This gift is a sure favorite! To encourage activity during video game play, try using a virtual reality headset. No matter the genre of video games your child enjoys, there are so many options for virtual reality games that require the player to get moving to complete the game.

Best Gift for All Ages


No matter the age of the child, books are always a great gift! They help with cognitive development and independent play. For younger children, use reading time to practice transition on and off laps for climbing training.

Want to talk to a pediatric physical therapist? Performance Physical Therapy has a pediatric physical therapy program to help your child with a wide variety of conditions and injuries. Contact us for a phone consult or to schedule an appointment with a pediatric physical therapist in Rhode Island.

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