Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Play Therapy Toy Gifts

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Okay, so being a play therapist I completely dropped the ball on posting about my favorite toys we use that you can purchase for your child at home! What was I thinking waiting until the last minute to post these?  Well, I guess that is the typical holiday thing to do, wait to the last minute! These are my top four, although there are so many it was hard to narrow it down.

If I was to chose my absolute favorite toy that I use in the playroom, it would have to be the generic doll house from Ryan's Room brand. It is gender neutral so boys and girls can play in it equally, (and boys won't feel like a girl playing with it ). I love how it really fosters creativity so a child can pretend the walls are pink or brown and that one of the rooms one day is the living room and the next could be a kitchen. Here is the cheapest link I have found at Amazon.

Or you can chose their smaller version and purchase all of the fun accessories at this link here:

I love how they have different races of doll sets like African American:

Or an Asian family:

And the accessories are really cute!

I also love the Bag of Air (Bobo) that we use in the play room. Kids can pretend it is anything or anyone they want and either are nurturing or aggressive towards it. I think they need one lifesize for adults too:) There's nothing like coming home after a hard day at work and just kicking it to take out your frustrations! You can purchase one here.

I also love using puppets in the playroom because children can act out anything with them. I usually like to have some aggressive type puppets like alligators showing teeth, and then some soft nurturing ones like little lambs or cats. This website has a lot to choose from:

Then if you want to add a real stage to your puppets and be able to act out in imaginative play, your children can put on a puppet show:

And lastly, I just love a good set of wooden blocks. There are endless ways that children can build and express themselves with blocks. This is the original site that started the block revolution by Caroline Pratt.

These are my top favorites out there, although I could go on and on about all of the other toys we use. The ones above are just your basic core items that I believe every playroom should have at home and in a professional play therapy room.

Have any of you used these items before and have any feedback about them?


  1. I love all your ideas for toys! I don't have any of them but will be buying some of them as my child gets older!

  2. I like your approachable/readable style that reaches people. Good points, great ideas. Thanks.

  3. I enjoy reading your suggestions. I just read your puppet suggestions and found it very helpful! Could I ask for some help? I'm a play therapist with limited resources at work, puppets being one of them. Recently, a friend made a donation in which I can order about 4 puppets. Could you recommend what type of puppets I should order? Since I can only order 4 I want to start with the most common puppets children gravitate towards and then hopefully build up my supply!

    Thank you! :)

  4. Melisa,

    I understand about limited resources! I am running a group for a non profit and am allowed to only purchase about 2 toys at the moment! Hard to decide so I am going for a dollhouse with dolls and puppets too.

    As far as the best puppets to get, that's hard to say. Children seem to love the bright colored dragon puppets and are drawn to them. They can be used as aggressive toys or as fantasy play. Here are a couple of dragon puppets I found: http://www.giftbrand.com/the_original_toy_company/t2186/p17720/green_dragon_hand_puppet.aspx?utm_source=ShareASale&utm_medium=np&utm_campaign=feed&SSAID=106309 or this one: http://www.melissaanddoug.com/smoulder-the-dragon-puppet

    Also having maybe 1 or 2 people puppets is good for role playing. Amazon has some multi cultural puppets here: http://www.amazon.com/Plush-Happy-Kids-Hand-Puppets/dp/B001COHSPS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1311953555&sr=8-3. You can also order a prince and princess puppet to go along with the dragon. That way they can represent a male and a female (mom and dad) or they can be heroes and heroines and save people, etc.

    Children also love the animal puppets, so depending on your clients, maybe a dog and cat since they are in most children's lives. I would start with Amazon and do a search there to find some, they are the cheapest!

    I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.