10 Open Ended Play Gift Ideas

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I think we can all say we’ve heard that famous line uttered by parent’s after the holidays…

“I spent so much money on all these toys and my kids played with them for a few days and now they aren’t interested in any of them”

Maybe you’ve been this parent before too. No shame, if you have! It’s so easy to get sucked into the gimmicky toys! I mean, who doesn’t love to watch an animal hatch from an egg, right? There’s definitely a place for these kinds of toys and I’m not going to sit here and tell you to ban them from your home! I’d be a hypocrite. My daughter’s got Disney character toys and LOL Surprise dolls floating around her room too. Luckily, she plays with them all, very regularly! I truly believe part of the reason she does play with them so often is because we encourage her to play with them in an open-ended way. Sure, that doll may be Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, but today she’s a popstar and Anna is her new best friend she just met on the subway.  

The idea of open-ended play is to let the child’s imagination soar, building a scene without limits, letting creativity take the reins. Children are the best story tellers, what better way to nurture that natural ability than by providing the tools for their stories to come to life. Whether it be through crafts, blocks, play kitchens or colorful scarves that magically transform them into a superhero that’s flying through the clouds. Whatever it is, you’ll see your child’s independence blossom, their choice making skills will sky rocket and their problem-solving abilities will surprise you!

These toys will be able to last your child years, as they grow, the way they play with these toys will grow and change with them. As their understanding of objects and the world around them becomes stronger, they will find new ways for these toys to be played with. What was just a wooden arch yesterday, is now a bridge for animals to cross the jungle mountains and tomorrow it will be a boat to sail to where the wild things are.

ART:

I am a firm believer in quality art products, yes, even for children! The quality of your art supplies can really make or break your child’s art experience. I mean, have you ever been personally victimized by art supplies? You know what I’m talking about, those crayons that just leave chunky streaks of wax on the paper or the colored pencils that don’t blend.

TOYS:

SENSORY:

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35 thoughts on “10 Open Ended Play Gift Ideas

    1. These are great ideas!!

      We are huge fans of both Melissa & Doug and Kinetic sand. The great thing about the sand (besides being mess-free haha) is that our little guy loves to bring different toys to his sand bin every other day. It’s wonderful to see the ideas and scenarios that kids can create with open-ended play driven materials!

  1. These are all perfect recommendations for my little guy! He’s desperately wanting to be an artist like his big sis and his dad, so this would give him a good head start. The sensory play ideas are fantastic and i’ll be definitely getting him more kinetic sand for the Christmas this year!

  2. I buys toys all the time and my kid’s excitement only last for so long. The open ended play idea is genius and I can’t wait to introduce it to my kids and save some money.

  3. It’s so important to introduce toys to kids that will enhance their skills and creativity! I love your suggestions and since the holiday season is near, I’ll definitely purchase some for my nephews and niece. Thank you!

  4. These are great recommendations and I like to give toys to my kids that they will have fun with and will learn at the same.

    1. It can definitely be hard to get passed that, but the good thing about messes is that they can be cleaned and they are also really good for a child’s development! Plus, you can turn cleaning into a game to encourage the kids to help clean it up!

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