top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Marnell, OTD, MBA

Must-Have Toys for Child Development!

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

Today children spend more and more time on devices. And research shows that this trend is negatively impacting children's fine motor skills. In fact, a study completed at Dublin City University’s School of Health showed that 36% of children tested did not meet expected fine motor milestones (Issartel et al., 2017). Also, an article published in the journal, Physical & Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, studied fine motor skills in preschoolers (Lin et al., 2017), and authors found that children who engaged in greater than 60 minutes of weekly computer play had weaker fine motor skills when compared to children who engaged in less screen time.

Now, more than ever, children need toys that not only address motor skills but also stimulate creativity, problem solving, and social skills.

(TO PRINT THIS BLOG POST, CLICK HERE and access a PDF document.)

What toys should you look for this holiday season? Some of the best toys for children encourage skill building, engagement, and learning. I recommend toys that promote any of the following:


Think stuffed animals, action figures, dolls, transformers, kitchen sets, pretend workbenches, puppets and/or puppet theatre.

2- PROBLEM SOLVING: Think all varieties of puzzles, Jenga, Connect 4, construction kits, solar system kits, Guess Who, marbles runs, Kanoodle.

3- CREATIVITY: Think regular crayons, bath crayons, markers, paints, art kits, modeling clay, building and construction sets.

4- FINE MOTOR COORDINATION: Think Duplo Blocks, Lego, Kerplunk, Jenga, Lite Brite, Operation, Let's Go Fishing.

5- TURN-TAKING: Think board games, Twister, Hi-Ho-Cherry-o, Zingo.

Feel welcome to leave a comment. What are your favorite fun toys for promoting skill development in children?

Are you following Kids Master Skills on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, or Instagram? Keep up to date as I post more tips to help teachers, parents, and therapists help kids master skills!

To find Christmas and Hanukkah skill-building resources, check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers at

If you like this post and my website, be certain to sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss any new information, ideas, or research reviews that I post. To sign-up, fill in the purple box on my Home Page HERE: And when you sign up, my FREE Fine Motor Skill-Building Posters will be sent to your inbox!

Always feel welcome to get in touch with me by e-mail at

(TO PRINT THIS BLOG POST, CLICK HERE and access a PDF document.)

Lisa Marnell MBA, MS, OTR/L

680 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Instagram
bottom of page