Toy Whisperer: Tools for learning

The Best Kids Christmas Gifts

Mindful Gifts for Kids 

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

All I Want for Christmas:  Experiences Yeah!

It is unbelievable how much parents spend on kids at Holiday time. “In 2017 parents were predicted to spend $495 per child this year, which was nearly $100 more than they spent last year,” according to Forbes. And in many instances, these items are enjoyed for only a limited time. Then they gather dust on shelves and in toyboxes. 

Are parents receiving value for the amount they spend? Are their kids getting gifts that enhance their thinking abilities or promote physical activity? Who benefits from all of the dollars that are being spent? Very often, the biggest benefits go to the retail sector. 

What is a parent or grandparent to do?  If you listen to the commercials, the toys kids want, follow the latest trends from movie action figures to new games. But do these toys pass the test of time? The answer is a resounding, “No.” 

What are the best gift suggestions for kids? Often that depends on the interests of your kids or grandkids. As parents and grandparents, we can do better with a little thought and individualization. So, before you rush out with your credit card close at hand, slow down and start contemplating a better choice based on the personality of your special person.


The Artistic Child

Image by Mimzy from Pixabay

Good quality paints, pencil crayons, charcoal, glue, and paper are ideal items for the child who likes to draw or create things. Shun the coloring books or prescribed crafts that confine your child’s imagination by having to follow a plan. For the lover of all things shiny, splurge on glitter, brightly colored bobbles and of course, googly eyes. 

The Drama Queen or King

Image by RachelBostwick from Pixabay

Cultivate that preferred mode of behavior of your child by considering drama camp. Instead of the drama being an uncontrolled mess of emotion, provide lessons in how to control the anger, the insult, or the unchecked exuberance.

 For younger children, think of ways to promote dramatic play through such as through a box full of costume items carefully selected from the second-hand store or sets of backdrops that encourage social development. 

Another fertile area for dramatic play is a gaggle of puppets and a stage for make-believe adventures. Or gather up some old socks, pieces of felt, wool and buttons to make home-made puppets.

The Musician

Image by Smith Pereira from Pixabay

A series of lessons can spark a lifelong interest in a particular instrument or musical style. Children usually like to experiment with a variety of genres before committing to one instrument.  Indulge in their fancy by offering this type of experience with no strings attached. Perhaps the most practical is to rent an instrument for that experimental stage. And on that next gift-giving time, you can supplement with the next fancy.

The Construction Fanatic

Image by M W from Pixabay

The most logical solution for this type of interest is any type of building set. One of the most versatile is Lego. There are sets from the youngest age group right through to engineering college level. As the kits gain in sophistication, the price can skyrocket. 

Another great idea is to gather together some hand tools such as a saw, hammer, nails, and a hand drill along with some easy to shape wood bits. And then let the construction fanatic go wild making chairs, tables, picture frames and whatever comes to their fancy.

Don’t forget to check out electronic building sets as well. 

The Explorer

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

These children are interested in almost every area of the world that is not familiar. Family memberships to places such as zoos, museums, science centers, pioneer villages, or other such learning environments would likely motivate all of the family to investigate the greater world around them.

The Introvert

                                                                          Photo by Caleb Stokes on Unsplash

While these children may like to explore areas on their own, they have often cultivated hobbies that would be enhanced by some sort of funding. The collector always is looking for specific items. On another hand, a digital camera may be just the vehicle for your introvert to connect with those around them. 

The Bookworm

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

There are many book clubs on the internet that require a monthly subscription fee in exchange for the privilege of selecting books or magazines. There is no better gift to a reader than offering a means of obtaining suitable reading material.

Mr. or Mrs. Sports

Image by Social Butterfly from Pixabay

Whenever possible, it is a wise decision to purchase experiences for your children to encourage them to get active. “Approximately 12.7 million, or 17 percent, of children and adolescents are obese,” as reported by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatryorganization. What is even more alarming is that “studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.” Instead of buying sedentary gifts such as hockey cards, expensive jerseys or sport-related electronic devices, buy ways to get your child active. 

There are sports camps in most areas of the country for varied interests from dance, to skiing to soccer.  If the camps are prohibitive in price, consider teaming with an aunt or uncle or grandparents for the camp fee.

The Generalist

Image by PublicDomainImages from Pixabay

This child may not yet have developed specific interests but seems to enjoy a wide variety of hobbies or topics. Consider some of the suggestions from the other categories as young children flirt with many interests before diving deep into a favorite.  

Some old standbys that are proven by the test of time are games that require several people. Favorites are time tested card games, checkers, chess, monopoly, and other board games. 

Another area you might consider are items that promote physical activity such as bicycles, skipping ropes, sports equipment, or binoculars for bird watching.

Now is the time to start thinking about that perfect gift for the Holidays. 

So, when you hear the jingle, “All I Want for Christmas,” avoid the latest fad but give some deep thought about the personality of the child to enhance their experience of life. 

Widen their horizons

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