Most of us breathe a sigh of relief when Christmas shopping is finished, but then reality rears its ugly head, and we realize that birthdays are year round, and gift giving is an endless experience. For those of you who buy children’s presents, allow me to put in a pitch for educational toys and gifts. I know, I know! Some of you may be asking, “Does everything have to be a learning experience? Can’t children just have fun sometimes?” I just strongly believe that learning can be fun, and the right play equipment can make it effortless as well. Here are some ideas.
Never forget that Physical Education or “gym” class is a required course of study in every state of the union. Remember too that years of research confirm that physically fit children are also more mentally alert and better able to live up to their learning potential. Bikes, scooters, wagons, and play gym equipment are excellent gifts. You will not be sorry if you get older children involved in ping-pong, badminton, horseshoes, or even bocce. New athletic shoes and clothing, pedometers, and fancy water bottles are also great choices.
Setonbooks.com has a great selection of gifts for little kids. Puzzles with knobs, not only help with focusing and concentration, but also develop the same finger control that will later be used for penmanship. Large floor puzzles are lots of fun, and the kids are less likely to lose the pieces. Art supplies of all types are always a good choice, as are instrumental music products. Remember art and music are also required subjects.
Older children appreciate hands on projects, as well. In addition to art kits and supplies, potholder kits, carpentry kits, sewing, knitting, and crocheting kits are lots of fun. Seton sells lots of science projects that have proven to be a hit with children. I used to buy cookbooks designed for children, with simple recipes and written safety instructions. Speaking of books, gift giving is a great opportunity to plump up the family library. Parents are understandably nervous about some choices in bookstores (Papa Bear, Daddy Bear, and Baby Bear — yikes!). Seton has a reliable guide to help you choose, with links to places you can purchase them.
Stand up to the advertisements on cartoon channels, and stop funneling money towards products that only increase your children’s appetites for even more targeted products. Give products that will help your child grow in skill and virtue. Learning can be fun too!
Header Image CC Alex Shiells