The holidays are among us once again and picking the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be a challenge. It is especially challenging when you have children to buy for. It’s hard to keep track of what is on every child’s list and if you’re like me, you want to buy something that won’t get tossed in the bottom of the toy box come January. To make gifts more meaningful, I try to buy presents that are not only entertaining, but educational.
Below are some great gift ideas for all of the school aged kids on your shopping list.
1. Books of course!
Many people don’t think to buy books, but they make the perfect Christmas gifts. If you are unsure what topics a child is into, go with a Holiday themed picture book. Some great series books include: The Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones, Percy Jackson, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or anything by Judy Blume.
Great non-fiction books include: Any of the extreme weather books by Seymour Simon (kids in my class used to argue over these), any edition of the Guiness World Records books, and the American Girl series books on handling friendships and sticky situations.
2. Board Games.
Every year, I make sure that my kids get a new board game for Christmas. Adults largely underestimate the benefits of playing games with their children. Board games teach kids how to count money, read dice, think critically, strategize and count. These skills are directly related to skills kids need in the classroom.
Some of my favorites include: Monopoly, Battleship, Scrabble, Clue, Checkers and Chess. I also include card games in this category. Kids need to understand cards when learning probability in school, so why not get a plain deck of cards and play a game of Rummy.
3. Building Sets.
We all know most kids love Legos, but did you know that building with blocks helps kids learn to think critically, creatively and cooperatively. Any type of construction set that allows kids to creatively engineer something is beneficial. I love the box of Lego pieces that allow kids to use their imagination to create something fun. Other great construction toys are Marble Run, K’nex or any wooden block set.
4. Art Sets.
There are amazing art sets available for kids today. I have seen everything from bracelet making sets (think Rainbow Loom), to kits that allow kids to publish their own books. You can’t go wrong with art kits. They are great for those long winter days and they allow kids to think creatively while making something fun.
Some of my favorites include: Create Your Own 3 Bitty Books by Creativity for Kids, My Mega Box of Fun Craft Set by Imaginarium and The American Girl Craft Sets.
5. Outdoor Games.
It’s hard to think about playing outside when the thermometer drops below 40 degrees, but kids don’t seem to notice the cold like we do. Help encourage outdoor play with some of these great outdoor toys. I highly recommend the Bucket Blast Game Set (Hearthsong). It provides hours of unique games all in one box. You could also think winter fun with a sled, snowman decorating kit, or a backyard ice rink.
No matter who you are buying for this year, it is hard not to get caught up in all of the high tech gifts on our kids’ lists. There are plenty of educational advantages to exposing kids to the latest technology, but it is important to balance our kids screen time with opportunities for creative play. I hope some of the ideas listed here will help you to do just that.
Thanks for Reading!