I am totally on the “LIMIT TECHNOLOGY” for little kids bandwagon and am all about “Pocketbook-Sized Toys”! I have been so inspired by some articles I’ve read lately; especially a great article by Your Therapy Source (link at the bottom). So I decided to make a list of 10 pocketbook-sized toys to occupy your kid (instead of your phone!)
As a public school OT, I work with Kindergarten students two days a week. The continued decline in the basic motor skills of four and five-year-old children is VERY evident. There are probably many reasons why, but I feel that lack of functional playtime is a BIG contributor. Nowadays, many kids have their own tablets, TVs in their rooms, and an iPod shuffle. They spend less and less time playing outside, which limits their gross motor skills, endurance, and coordination. When they are inside, they spend less time playing with toys and using their hands and more time with technology.
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It is so tempting to give your kid your phone when you are in the car or in a waiting room. It keeps them busy. It keeps them quiet. They become engrossed and stop asking “Are we there yet?” or interrupting your conversation with your spouse, the doctor, etc. Most moms have a ton of random stuff in their purses; wipes, band-aids, superglue, diapers, you name it! Why not some great little “pocketbook-sized toys?”
10 pocketbook-sized toys to occupy your kid…
I decided to make a simple list of ten things for Moms to keep in their purse/pocketbook/handbag. Ten things to hand your kid INSTEAD OF YOUR PHONE. As an OT, I can attest that even a few minutes of fine motor play can help a child. These ten pocketbook-sized toys work on eye-hand coordination, fine motor skills, and bilateral coordination (using two hands together). Plus, they are QUIET and small. The perfect “pocketbook-sized toys.”
1) Pop Beads – Pop beads are one of my favorite go-to therapy toys. They are great for getting kids to practice using their two hands together. They work on hand strength and manipulation skills because kids have to turn the beads within their hands in order to get the beads to link together. Kids have a blast making “bracelets” and putting the shapes and colors in order.
2) Crayons-on-the-Go are great for little kids. I love these little ones that roll up and don’t end up falling out all over the bottom of my purse. Older kids can work on writing or drawing, while younger kids can color or practice shapes. You can even play tic tac toe together.
3) I LOVE Travel Games! For one, they are small and easy for me to throw in my handbag. Plus, small pieces mean more fine motor work! For a busy mom, they fit right in a diaper bag or a pocketbook. They would be perfect for the car or a waiting room, too.
4) Magnetic tins (a wonderful quiet activity) that fit right in a purse. They work on bilateral coordination and fine motor skills. There are many different kinds for boys and girls. The Magnets stick right to the picture inside the tins, which makes it hard to lose the pieces, too.
5) Remember these? I used to play for hours with these Magnet Drawing Games. They allow kids to get creative and the little Magnet Pen is perfect for little hands that are learning to hold a pencil. Copying the pictures on the sides is great for working on visual motor and visual perceptual skills. And they are quiet, a huge PLUS!
6) Legos are a wonderful toy that works on fine motor, constructional and bilateral skills. You can get a little set like these or just grab a handful of your big set at home and put them in a zip lock bag. Kids love to build and use their imaginations.
7) Tricky Fingers is one of my go-to activities to work on eye-hand coordination, problem-solving, and fine motor skills. I find this is a good one for kids with sensory issues because you have to be careful how hard you press the marbles. You also have to keep the board in a horizontal position, or the marbles will slip. A word to the wise—although this game says it is for kids 3 and up, I think it is WAY too hard for a three-year-old. Better for 7 and up. Also—it may be a bit noisy in your purse.
8) Handheld Water Games are great for thumb strengthening, visual tracking, and bilateral and eye-hand coordination. It is super tricky to get the ball in the hoop, the shape in the slot, etc. Kids become immersed in the goal of winning as they work on all these great skills.
9) Good Old Silly Putty! I know some moms don’t like playdoh because “it makes a mess” but silly putty has a different consistency. It doesn’t crumble like playdoh, and it has more resistance, which is great for fine motor strengthening. It comes in the handy little egg too, which definitely won’t take up too much room in your purse. I like to stick a couple of beads or pennies in there, too. It’s fun for kids to dig them out and it’s extra work for those little muscles.
10) Travel Colorforms toys are another quiet but fun pocketbook-sized toy for kids to play with while waiting. They come in all different characters like this Disney Princess take-along set or this Doc McStuffins Take Along Set. One thing I like about Colorforms is that they are great for fine motor, but you don’t have to worry about your kid sticking them (like stickers) to the chairs in the waiting room while you speak to the front desk! Ha-Ha!
Check out these amazing posts by other bloggers about why you should “LIMIT TECHNOLOGY” for children.
1. Tablet Use Results in Less Muscle by Your Therapy Source
2. Tips for Limiting Screen time in Kids before Age Two by Sarah Lyon on Growing Hands-on Kids
3. Why Kindergarten Teachers Want Your Child to Step Away from the Ipad on Charlotte Smarty Pants.