First, I apologize for not being as consistent as I would like to with the blog posts. I have taken on a new project that I will share with you later this week. Between that, the holidays and a crazy work schedule, life has been a little hectic. However, I am happy to report that I have a lot to share with you this week! With the holidays season upon us, I wanted to spend this week sharing some of my favorite gifts. If you are struggling for gift ideas, be sure to come back for a visit on Wednesday and Friday for some more great suggestions.
I thought we would get the party started with a kid’s guide. It seems like kids today have so much more than we did as kids. It is often a struggle to find the perfect gift, especially for a tween. However, I have put together a list of gift ideas that would be perfect from preschool on up. Being a former educator, I take pride on giving gifts that provide a learning opportunity and will not “turn your brain to mush”, as we say in our house. The list below are some of my families favorites, but we are also big fans of books, journaling supplies and personal care products. One year, we got both the kids Sonicare toothbrushes from Santa with a note that told both of them that they had to do a better job taking care of their teeth. You might as well capitalize on the opportunity, right? Legos are also a big hit in our house and we typically get the kids at least one set each year. So, without further ado, here is my list of favorite kid’s educational toys.
Magna-Tiles – This was seriously one of the best investments we have ever made and I am not exaggerating. My youngest loved playing with these at his school when he was two or three. The second I would drop him off, he would run over to the table and play with them without saying goodbye. Since I was struggling with gift ideas that year, I thought I would look into getting him a set. While it is certainly not an inexpensive gift, it was money well spent. My son still plays with his set almost every single day and we have had it for several years. The tiles are magnetic on all sides, so you are able to build three-dimensional objects. It is a creative way to work on motor skills and build upon your child’s creativity. I am constantly recommending this gift idea to other parents. My kids have build everything from space ships to a garage for my son’s fire truck. The sky is the limit!
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot – Santa brought this for my daughter last year and it has been a hit at our house. There are so many studies out there that support the benefits of introducing kids to coding as soon as possible. Dash can be programmed to move, dance, make various noises and light up using three different apps that can be downloaded to the iPad. My daughter has even managed to program it to play a few tricks on me. The apps are constantly being upgraded, which is an added bonus. There is an upgraded package that includes a sidekick named Dot, but I cannot comment on that since we do not have it. I am considering purchasing it this year for my youngest. The robot has won numerous educational rewards and is a favorite of Melinda Gates, which is a bonus in our technology focused family. Meeting Bill Gates is on my daughter’s bucket list, along with working at Google and driving a Tesla. All the more reason, I love this gift and the coding exposure it provides.
Rush Hour – Traffic Jam Logic Game – I bought this last year in hopes to provide some entertainment in the morning while I get ready for work versus going on the iPad and watching a show. Well, it worked! This strategy game is so much fun and has provided us with hours of entertainment. It is a single player game, so it is great for quiet time and even a road trip. The box says it is recommended for ages 8 and up, but my six year old was able to figure out the beginner and most of the intermediate cards with no problem. There is now a different version that requires two players, which I might be adding under our tree this year. Truthfully, I love playing this game as well and think it would make a great brain building gift for anyone on your list.
Snap Circuits – This set is so cool and will be under our tree this year. I have done some volunteer work with my daughter’s robotic club and they use these. It is amazing what the kids come up with each time they use them. My son typically comes with me when I volunteer and he loves to watch what they come up with. The kit allows them to make working electrical circuits. You can create over 750 different projects and there are no tools or soldering needed. It really is a snap to create a circuit and learn about electricity!
Story Cubes – When my daughter was in second grade, she really struggled with writing. Like me, she is quite the perfectionist and did not want to write unless she had the perfect topic. I was on the hunt to find something that would motivate her to step outside her comfort zone and these cubes were just the answer. The cubes really helped get her creative juices flowing and encouraged her to write more. There are several different versions, so you can pick the set that aligns with your child’s interests. We have even used on the car ride to tell stories versus writing them out.
There are so many amazing educational toys out there and I could go on and on with recommendations. However, this is a good list to get you started with your shopping. While it is always fun to give gifts and watch your child’s eyes light up, please also remember the reason for the season. We typically only have a few gifts each under the tree and then the gifts that Santa brings. We would rather spend our money on creating memories and opportunities for our children because that is really what is most important to us. We are fortunate to be able to provide things for our children that we did not have at their age, but we also want to make sure we are shaping our children into caring, giving and respectful individuals and do not agree with showering them with all of the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos to show our love for them. It can be very difficult to parent this way in today’s society, but we want to pass on the same values that we feel so strongly about and want to ensure that we are raising our children to be the best version of themselves.
Stop back on Wednesday for my list of the top gifts to give the healthy and beauty lover on your list. On Friday, I will be focusing on the foodie in your life. This time of year is hectic enough, why not have someone else come up with the ideas for you? Until next time, enjoy this wonderful time of year!
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