Christmas Presents for Sensory Motor Development

Christmas is upon us and there are so many play items out there available but what toys develop what skills from a play- function approach. In Occupational Therapy we use play in day to day treatment, supporting children to build on foundational skills they require in order to learn, progress and engage in everyday tasks. We do this through developing skills areas such as sensory processing, gross motor and fine motor co-ordination, visual perceptual skills, problem solving, creativity and imaginative play and social skills.

Here are my top Christmas present ideas, toys and top activities you can purchase to support developed this Christmas.


  • Self Care Sensory Box  from Sensational Life is great for children who require additional support to help maintain attention and to promote engagement. It has toys that’s provides tactile, proprioception and visual stimulation. Great for children who require additional support for calming and regulating. You can also promote turn taking, social interaction and communication and joint attention through the use of these toys. PLUS you get a Therapeeze ‘Sensorimotor development at home: a practical guide to grading and adapting everyday play' and a 10% voucher off our membership! BONUS!


  • Building and stacking are great for hand eye co-ordination, bringing hands to the midline, visual perceptual skills, planning and organisation, bilateral integration and there are some great ones at Our Play Den. I have used connetix tiles in treatment and let me tell you children love them! Their flockmen collection are also great.  


  • Compression Sheets: Provide Tactile and Proprioceptive input to support regulation during the night. Children who have trouble with sensory processing and self-regulation regularly demonstrate poor sleep. Is calming and regulating for all nervous systems!


  • Managing anxiety is more apparent than ever in 2020. Mindfulness is a great activity which can be done individually or as a family. What better way than to everyone be together and enjoy being in the moment. Mindfulness activities can come in many forms, perhaps you take a walk and listen for the birds or see how many different coloured or shaped leaves you can see and really just appreciate nature. Or perhaps you may enjoy provide mindfulness gift boxes, these are great for families to do to build positive relationships and self esteem and confidence. Definitely check them out!


  • Using play to develop functional skills and transferrable skills are great. I love these cutting vegetable sets as they really promote creative play, allow for interaction where you can pretend to make different recipes or could be something like being able to learn object recognition and develop communication. The use of the knife can support bilateral integration and hand strengthening skills. The market stall with fruit is also an amazing play tool to develop interaction and communication, to teach functional skills like maths, money exchange, money management (including safety of managing money whilst in community), the routine of purchasing items from a retailer and even promotes problem solving (what happens when there is no bananas left? What do you do?)


  • Christmas is a new experience but so are lots of other times in life and these can often be challenging for children to cope with. These books are lovely and based on personal journeys. There are so many to choose from, from going to the hairdressers to dressing up days. They are great to support understanding and reduce anxiety.  


  • Tiny Toes Sensory Bags have so many lovely sensory bags for baby and toddlers it is so hard to just choose one!


  • TomTag visuals are great way to increase visual structure, predictability and routines into any home. No laminator required yey! They are user friendly for all parents and children to use. Plus with the changes Christmas brings, using visuals to reduce anxiety over the festive period is a must. 


  • For tactile sensitive children who don't like hands to get dirty check out JumpingClay, they have models you can purchase and are great for hand strengthening, in hand manipulation, manual dexterity and grip strength. 


  • Sensory Toyz have some great toys for your visual seeking children and children who really enjoy water play/bath time. Great for multi sensory play to promote engagement and interaction for any age! 


  • Sensory wooden toys from babypickleuk are great, they provide a different tactile input and from experience last longer than some other sensory based toys. These are great for sensory motor development from birth up teaching, auditory processing, tactile processing, cause and effect, visual scanning and more! 


  • Some other great ideas are play tunnels, these are great to provide proprioception (body awareness), bilateral integration and develop communication and interaction.
  • Trampettes are great but can be altering causing a child to become over stimulated  so monitor this if you invest. 
  • Ball pools: great to crash into for body awareness and can be so versatile! Check out our youtube and facebook for a video on this!

Christmas can often be a time when we get stuck on what to buy, so I hope these ideas and resources give you some inspiration on toys which will help your child's sensory motor development! 

Check out our free group where we continuously share knowledge, tips and resource on facebook all year round, just click this link to join Therapeeze free group

Have a lovely Christmas 

Kate x


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