I’ve been an educator for nearly 20 years, but now have my own children (stop doing the math, I’m a member of the older moms club), I look at everything that effects my children with a much more critical eye including the gifts that I purchase for them.
Now I love this time of the year. I enjoy the constant Black Friday ads, early morning posts outside of retail stores, long lines everywhere, scuffles over the last latest, big, must-have item far less than I do decorating my faux fir tree. I even get giddy with each gift I hand-wrap and place beneath it. But, now that I have the benefit of watching my little ones learn with every experience they have, I want to be more strategic about what I do as a mom to add to those experiences. That got me to thinking… What can I give them this holiday season that will evoke all of the excitement in them that I remember having as a child while adding to their mental capacity?
We can alleviate the problems with Black Friday and last minute shopping at the mall by purchasing online, of course. But, being strategic about what we give to children that will add to their learning and development… well, that takes some thought. Luckily, I’ve already thought about it and here’s what I came up with. Bee awesome and Bee Wordy!
Small Aquarium and Fish.
Magazine Subscription. Encourage children to read a variety of topics by them a magazine subscription. Children’s magazines are available for all age groups, interests and reading levels (National Geographic for Kids, Highlights, Baby Bug). And, kids love getting things in the mail (because they don’t get bills).
Books. Encourage kids to read and learn by giving the gift of print. All children are interested in something, and I guarantee that there is a book about it. If you have a struggling reader or non-reader, reading aloud to children not only increases their learning, but it helps foster positive relationships. Oh yeah, to keep your house from being overrun with reading material, have book exchange parties or just pass them along when you are done.
Games and Puzzles. Games and puzzles are great way for kids to stimulate their brains and develop key problem solving skills. They’re also a wonderful opportunity for families – big and small- to spend time together helping build relationships and also promoting healthy social development. Of course, games like Bee Wordy teach, too!
Science Kit. There are a variety of kits to encourage children to ask questions and seek answers. From chemistry sets for older students to ant farms and butterfly habitats for younger students, there is something for everyone.
Arts and Craft Supplies. Inspire creativity with a box full of craft supplies. There is nothing like the imagination of a child!
Backpack with School Supplies.
Physical Activity Equipment. Wouldn’t it have been cool if you had all of the fun P.E. equipment that you had at school at your house? I know, right! There is nothing wrong with having jump ropes, hula hoops, and rubber balls in a box in your room waiting for the next Saturday afternoon.
Memberships. Whether it’s the local zoo, science academy, children’s museum or YMCA membership getting children out of the house, off of the iPad or Xbox is a good thing. Sadly, these wonderful places of learning and exploration are sometimes not visited because of the financial cost, so the gift of a yearly membership will sure to be greatly appreciated.
Classes. Music, dance, and art classes are a great way to encourage children to try something new or further explore their interests.
Piggy Bank. It’s never too early to start learning how to save and manage your money effectively. Establishing good financial habits as a child, will more likely to lead to maintaining these good practices into adulthood. From setting financial goals to planning out purchases, one of the most important things we can do for our children is to prepare them to be financially astute.