Taken from The American Occupational Therapy Association https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/ChildrenAndYouth/Building-Play-Skills-Healthy.aspx
What Can Parents and Families Do?
• Encourage sensory rich play by using balls, sand and water toys, slides, swings, finger paints, and magnets. During sensory play, children use their senses to incorporate smell, touch, sound, vision, and movement.
• Encourage manipulative play, such as using play dough, LEGOs, and board games. Toys such as puzzles, pegboards, beads, and lacing cards help improve the child’s eye-hand coordination and dexterity.
• Promote imaginative or pretend play with things like dolls and stuffed animals, toy furniture, puppets, and telephones. Pretend play encourages creativity and role playing and provides an opportunity to rehearse social skills.
• Choose toys that are appropriate to the child’s age and/or maturity level. They do not have to be expensive or complicated to be beneficial. Common objects, such as pots and pans, empty boxes, spools of thread, shoelaces, and wooden spoons are readily accessible and encourage children to use their imagination.
• Remember when choosing a toy to consider whether a child must be supervised while playing with it. Toys should not have small parts that break easily or can be swallowed.
Recommended Toys and Activities for Children and Teens
• Infants: Rattles, mobiles, playmats, mirrors, crib toys, infant swings, teething toys, busy boxes, squeeze toys
• Toddlers and Preschoolers: Blocks, stacking rings, pegboards, shape sorters, push and pull toys, balls, books, sand and water toys, large beads, movement games, toy cars and trucks, train sets, musical toys
• School-Aged Children: Building sets, books, bicycles, roller skates, ice skates, board games, checkers, beginning sports
• Middle Schoolers and Adolescents: Athletics, books, hobbies, crafts, electronics