With the gift giving season coming up, we are all looking for the best gift for our children and other loved ones.  In reality, the best present you can ever give to a child, is yourself.  You are their best toy.  Here is a list of some ways to give a part of yourself to a child. Within these suggestions are some great items that Play Therapists use in connecting with children.

Learn to Play an Instrument:

Setting up a time to learn to play an instrument along with your child can be priceless.  It is a great way to spend time with your child that he or she will never forget.

It is quite economical to invest in a beginner's guitar along with a Teach Yourself to Play book.  A full size guitar will require slightly more investment, yet the price will still be trivial compared to the latest gadget upgrade.  If you are looking for something different and more unique, try the violin or for the more adventurous parents, try the drums.

Remember, the instrument is only the medium, the greater gift is the time that you will share with them while learning and practicing together.

Imaginative Play:

The dollhouse is great for imaginative play.  You can get down on the floor with a child; listen to their play, inquire about the action in their play, role play and much much more.  In order to prompt growth imagination, try not to guide the play.  For the child that views the doll house as too feminine, try a castle or pirate ship.  These have always gotten much use in my playroom with children of all ages.

Building a Lego Model set is another great way to share an activity with your child.  Along with creativity, these activities are great learning experiences for the budding architect, designer and builder.

Nature Connectors:

If Your child is excited by or interested in nature, try a Mushroom Growing Kit.  The beginner's sets are easy to use and promise to be a fun and educational activity.  Once the growing is done, you get to harvest, prepare and cook the fruits of your labor together.

Artistic Connectors:

On of the favorite art activities children choose in my play therapy room is Model Magic.  These allow for parallel and collaborative building.  The products can then be displayed in the home as a constant reminder of the relationship and the time spent together.


Whatever you get you loved ones in the end, remember, the most vital thing you can give is a part of yourself.

Charles Sender, LCSW