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Holiday Gift Guide: Top Toys Recommended by Your Pediatrician

By Michelle Bailey, M.D.

Normally for holiday gifts for children I would recommend outings or experiences over things. However, the pandemic has made us adjust everything this year. So, my advice is to make the outing/experience at home instead. Movie night with popcorn, pizza and snacks. Campfire/fire pit with hot dogs and s’mores. Or, purchase a few of the following gift ideas to keep you kids entertained for hours.

1. Books!

For infants and toddlers, there are chew-proof, waterproof, rip-proof brands of books available. Just do a quick Goolgle search. Classics like Dr. Seuss, Little Critter, and Curious George still are favorites too.

For elementary age and teens, start them on a series based on their interests. American Girl, Magic Treehouse, The Land of Stories, Eerie Elementary, The Babysitters Club, Survivors, Warriors, Dork Diaries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, Humphrey, Keeper of the Lost Cities, Captain Underpants, Dog Man, Wings of Fire, and The Hardy Boys are all excellent options.

2. An Activity Center

Great for keeping infants busy while you’re able to get other things done. Do NOT use a walker, this puts the baby’s hips in the wrong position and delays walking.

3. Blocks

All sorts of blocks are available online and in stores these days. Just make sure they are appropriate to prevent choking risk.

4. Board Games

Games are a great option to create family time away from screens. If you played a board or card game as a kid, chances are your child will enjoy it.

5. Bike

Tricycle, Bicycle, Scooter. Make sure it is age and size appropriate for your child, and they MUST WEAR A HELMET!

6. Arts & Crafts

Paints, sand art, beads, diamond painting, suncatchers, rainbow scratch paper, molding clay, candle making, origami, felt sewing craft kit. Low-cost dollar stores often sell wooden figures to paint, so that’s a great place to stock up on cheap and easy crafting projects.

7. Fort Building Kit

Buy one or several kits for the kiddos to make an awesome fort, tear it down, and then make again in a different way!

8. Sports equipment

Basketball goal, soccer ball and goal, baseball tee, ballet barre. Let your children pursue their current sport of interest and invest in increasing their skills and confidence.

Notice the above listed toys do not suggest any electronics. The only game system game I would recommend is one where they are up and active the entire time. Remember, aside from school work, your child should have less than two hours per day on any screen including: phone, TV, gaming system, and computer. Your child would rather spend the time with you, playing a board game or being active outside, than sitting by themselves playing on a game system.

Have a very Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, and enjoy any and all other celebrations your family takes part in!


Get to know Michelle Bailey, M.D.

I’m a board-certified pediatrician, passionate about ensuring the well-being of patients ranging from newborn through late teens.

I attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer!), and completed my pediatric residency in Houston.

Since the completion of residency I’ve worked in outpatient clinics and enjoy not only caring for my young patients, but becoming a part of every family by building long-lasting, trusting relationships. While I treat common and not-so-common childhood infections and diseases, I especially have a passion for asthma and allergies, nutrition, and ADHD along with other learning disorders.

I’m married and we have a rescue dog named Jack. When not at work, I enjoy attending cultural events and traveling. To make an appointment with Dr. Bailey, click here or call 682-303-1000.