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One of my favorite things to do is to give gifts, especially to my kids. There is just something about the joy and excitement on their faces as they uncover all of their new surprises. Our house is already exploding with toys, so I am very particular about what I add to our collection. I put a lot of thought into what I buy, and how it will benefit Rhett and Brooks in their development. One of my first thoughts before buying yet another toy is, “How can I utilize this for therapy time?” I am going to share with you some of our favorite Easter Basket ideas. Some of these ideas I pretty much do year after year, and others I will explain my thoughts behind why it is worth it for us to have. All the products I am going to share are products that I have put in their baskets for this year, or that we have used in the past.
- Play Doh is a hit for Brooks and mostly enjoyable for Rhett. It is inexpensive and fairly easy to make if you choose to go that route. It can keep my kids pretty busy and entertained for a fairly good amount of time, although it does require my attention as Rhett needs help with creating and Brooks tries to sneak bites. I love when we get new Play Doh sets because it is more motivating for Rhett to play with it. Due to his weaker tone, Play Doh is a challenge for him. I love it because he has to use his fine motor skills and really build on that hand strength to manipulate the Play Doh how he wants. You can find one of our favorite sets here.
- Reusable sticker books can keep both of my kids entertained for hours. They both have so much fun manipulating the stickers to create different scenes on the page. This is a win for me as well because I do not have to completely supervise, and the reusable stickers won’t get stuck on our furniture or the floor. Anytime my boys are playing with these, I know they are working on their pincer grasp which is developmentally appropriate for both of them. They are able to use their imagination and create how they want, and then can do it again and again. I love how I can also support their language development and really target some of Rhett’s language goals as we play with these together. There are so many to choose from, but my kids really love the Melissa and Doug Farm.
- Magna Doodles are a perfect toy to have on hand because it allows kids to draw and create without the mess! It gives me such a peace of mind knowing that my kids are practicing some of their prewriting skills, and I don’t have to worry about crayons or marker on our walls. These are great for the car, and I am always looking for things to keep my kids busy since we take many long car rides. My kids got these magna doodles for Christmas, but they are small enough to add to an Easter Basket too! I love that the writing comes out in color instead of the traditional black.
- Mr. Potato Head is one of our favorite therapy toys when I want to do a focused activity that will target multiple goals. There is so much language to incorporate with this toy, and it also helps strengthen those hand muscles to pull the pieces out and push them back in. This also helps with hand-eye coordination as your child will have to be specific in getting the piece into the hole correctly. We have a Toy Story Woody version of the game, but you can find the traditional one here.
- Puzzles are also a go to toy item at my house. Rhett has always LOVED puzzles, and he is pretty amazing at working larger jig saw puzzles now. Brooks has followed his lead and really enjoys playing with puzzles too. We have so many peg puzzles, and we still use them all the time. Even though the peg puzzles are too easy for Rhett, he loves playing hide-and-seek with the pieces. We have been able to incorporate so many language goals with puzzles throughout the years, and have also incorporated lots of gross motor movement with these activities as well. The peg puzzles have helped develop their pincer grasp, and fitting puzzle pieces in the correct spot helps improve problem solving skills. This set of peg puzzles includes some of our favorites at a really good price. We also love these jigsaw puzzles that come in a set of 4 with a wooden box for storage. We have the farm, jungle, and ocean animal set. Sound puzzles are also lots of fun when incorporating listening and language into play.
- Magnets can be used for so many activities. We are getting some new letter magnets for Easter to help support letter recognition. There are also many PT and OT activities you can do with your child by having them play with magnets on the fridge. We have used these magnets in the past, and I love how it comes with both upper and lower case letters.
- Blocks are another great addition that is so useful in therapy. You can do so many OT and speech activities using blocks, and it also supports perseverance as kids will have to try again when their tower falls down. We are getting some small wooden blocks this year to help work on some precision skills.
- Books are pretty much a no brainer of something to include in a gift at our house. I don’t know if it is just the teacher in me, but I love giving my kids new books. I am hope that I am building the foundation to love reading for both of my boys because they are both very entertained by books currently. There is so much language development that books can bring without having to read the story word for word. You can easily target many language goals, which makes books a go to daily in our house. For Easter you could easily add an Easter book to your child’s basket, but I am going to share with you some of my favorite inclusive children’s books. Hiya Moriah and I Am Me From A-Z are both written by a parent who had a child with CHARGE Syndrome. Hiya Moriah helps explain the importance to just say hello to those who have differences, and I Am Me From A-Z is a beautiful story full of affirmations for children to learn. I love how the author incorporates sign language in the illustrations. Another book that is a part of our collection is called When Charley Met Emma. This story is so beautifully written and helps to teach children how to behave when they meet someone who is different from them. Gary’s Gigantic Dream is another great book about a giraffe getting his first wheelchair. It is so eye opening about how the wheelchair gives the giraffe the independence he needs to play, move, and be a kid. A portion of the sales from this book helps to build inclusive playgrounds for children, which is a wonderful thing. There are so many inclusive books to choose from, but these are some of our favorites that are a part of our home library.
For more therapy ideas, check out the Therapy Toolkit Bundle. This bundle has everything you need for therapy activities without the searching, planning, and prepping.
I also use Easter as a time to get some of our summer essentials. This list is pretty much the same year after year with some minor tweaks here and there.
- Summer clothes
- Swim suits
- Summer shoes
- Sidewalk chalk
- Sprinkler- This is the sprinkler that we got for last summer, and the boys loved it!
- Chew tubes- Rhett is an avid chewer, and we tend to go through these pretty quickly. We have tried all kinds, but are currently using these. These come in a two pack, and are holding up pretty well so far.
I also love to add in a surprise that I know they will love and enjoy. I think about what each boy is really into at the moment, and get them something that compliments that interest. Rhett is always loving his animals, and it is so hard not to add to his collection when I know he loves them. He is getting this cow family in his basket. I can not wait to play and help support his pretend play skills! Brooks has fallen in love with super heroes, thanks to his daddy. He will be getting this Hulk plush in his basket. One of his favorite things to say right now is, “Hulk smash!”
This is the Easter basket that both of my boys have. They each have blue, one bunny is solid and the other is chevron. These totes hold a lot of items, and will look so cute personalized.
I am so excited for the boys to get their baskets this year, and to have some new activities to do this spring. I always love getting new ideas for things to include in gifts, so comment below what is going in your child’s basket that isn’t on the list.