Occupational Therapy Students List Holiday Gift Ideas to Boost Age-Expected Skills

Reports of development ‘Covid-lag’ among youngsters partially inspiration for creating ‘toy list’

Phoenix, Ariz. (Nov. 21, 2022) – Students at Creighton University studying in the occupational therapy (OT) program are focused on learning how to improve the development of young patients no matter their circumstance. This month in collaboration with their professors, they created the “Top Toy Picks for Toddlers and Babies” list. The students evaluated toys for infants to age five, selecting their favorites in aiding fine motor skills, spatial awareness, tactile differentiation, visual motor skills and more. 

“Play is foundational to development among all children,” said Dr. Carrie Bose, OTD, OTR/L, Assistant Professor in the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions at Creighton University Health Sciences Campus-Phoenix. “There are some toys that are better designed to aid in growth and in supporting hand-eye coordination, verbal skills and even socialization. With the holiday season approaching and parents shopping for gifts over the next few months, students interested in pursuing pediatric careers created a list of top toy picks with this in mind.” 

A timely topic in child development is understanding the impact of the pandemic on young children and babies. Some researchers are calling this generation, Generation C for Covid. The disruption for this age group was like none ever experienced before, but the implications on them as a result is yet to be fully understood. 

“It is too early to fully conclude any correlation between a gap in development among young children and the pandemic,” said Bose. “We continue to monitor the research and believe it is a topic that our students will likely encounter as they enter their respective medical fields. What’s most important is that caregivers remain vigilant and seek out support at any sign of potential development delays.” 

In addition to publishing the toy list, the Creighton campus is also holding a toy drive now through December 2. Toys will be presented to the Phoenix Dream Center. The students’ toy picks follows:

Creighton’s Pediatric Occupational Therapy Students Top Toy Picks for Toddlers and Babies

  • Squeezy Block Fun Activity Set is for birth to age five. It develops problem solving skills as well as independent play. This toy aids visual motor skills, tactile differentiation, fine motor skills and spatial awareness. The blocks are also squeeze-able which helps work on grip strength! 
  • Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy is for children that are six months to age two. It focuses on cause and effect learning, finger isolation and grasping. This type of activity supports fine motor skills, grasp, visual motor integration and engagement play. 
  • Busy Board Toy is for children that are age one to six. It features 25 activities to aid in fine motor skills, dressing skills, finger dexterity and cognitive skill. It is rooted in Montessori-style play which is founded in tactile learning with the use of zippers, shoelaces, buttons, jigsaw puzzles, calendar learning and more. 
  • Learning Resources Rainbow Sorting Crayons are for children that are two and up. Each crayon holds activities which support visual motor skills, sorting cognitive skills, fine motor pinch and grasp skills as well as color identification. 
  • Melissa and Doug Wooden Cutting Foods is for children age two to three. This toy helps play skill development, utensil use, self feeding, visual motor skills and fine motor skills. Children practice grasping and pinching as well as food-cutting skills. 

About Creighton University

Creighton University, founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1878, is one of 27 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. The Omaha campus has more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students among nine schools and colleges. No other university its size offers students such a comprehensive academic environment with personal attention from faculty-mentors. The new health sciences campus in Phoenix, which will accommodate more than 900 students, is the largest expansion outside of Omaha in Creighton’s history and positions the University as one of the largest Catholic health professions educators in the country. Creighton is ranked in the top third of National Universities by U.S. News & World

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