Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What to Give Your Child This Holiday Season-now with links

 “Do you have any recommendations for holiday gifts for my child?”

I have been asked this question many times during the past few weeks, so I have been giving it a lot of thought.

I strongly believe that the best gift for children is a terrific set of Wooden Blocks.  It is also a toy that can be added to each year.  There are so many different sizes and shapes of blocks that the play with this toy is limitless.  And children rarely grow out of blocks.  As they get older, their structures get more elaborate.  A great deal of critical thinking, problem solving, and mathematical and spatial language is learned through block play, and that just scratches the surface of the learning opportunities. 

I am a big fan of Building Sets in general; Legos, Duplo, K’nex, Ello, and Zoobs are all really fun and have incredible potential for creativity while strengthening fine motor abilities. 

Real art materials should also be on the top of any child’s list; paint, glue, scissors, clay (not just play dough), markers, crayons, big paper, construction paper, pipe cleaners, pom poms, beads, etc. Discount School Supply is my preferred place to buy art materials; excellent prices, selection and service  What needs to accompany this gift is a space to use it, and the acceptance that it is okay get messy!!

Marble runs are another one of my favorites.  There are some beautiful wooden ones out there, but if cost is an issue, the plastic sets are just as inviting.  For a fun make-it-yourself toy, cut cove molding into various size pieces and get some larger marbles or ping pong balls.  Combine this with a cardboard box with holes cut out, and you have hours of entertainment as your child explores the cause and effect of various ramps. 

Puzzles make fantastic gifts and great learning opportunities.  If your child has been doing simple puzzles with the knobs on the pieces, buy some wooden puzzles with 12 pieces, then move onto 24. Large floor puzzles are extremely inviting.

Board games are wonderful additions to any playroom or toy closet.  Encouraging turn taking and rule following in fun settings teaches children important social skill in a fun way.  Playing  games with your children when they are young has been proven to lead to increased communication with them when they become teenagers.  I have just entered this world, and trust me, this is important!

Musical instruments and CDs of various kinds of music will be treasured.  Try to find some made with natural materials rather than plastic for a more luxurious experience.  Egg shakers, drums, and bells are just a few to include. How about trying some reggae, some big band and some classical music as well as beloved rhyming sing a longs.   And perhaps a bottle of Tylenol for you.

Dress Up Clothes are most loved by young children, but to save a little money, a collection of beautiful fabric is even more creative and open ended. 

Books, Books and more Books  You really can never have too many books.  Look for repetitive parts and rhyming that will encourage your child to chime in while you read.  But nothing beats simply curling up with a parent or even on one's own and enjoying a beautifully illustrated story.  I will be posting some favorites in my next post. 

I really could go on and on here, but this is more than enough for eight nights or to cover beneath a tree. 

I just want to point out that I didn’t mention technology.  There are so many battery powered toys that play for the child.  The above mentioned toys are “child powered”  by their imaginations. 

And the most important gift…time , your time¸ play with your child. 
That gift is priceless and  every child should have it. 

Have a playful and peaceful holiday season.  


  1. Great gift ideas. But you might want to fix your "wooden bloakcs" link.
    Several of my classroom parents after trying the moon sand in class added it to their Christmas list.

  2. Thank you. I just fixed the link. I agree that moon sand is great! Have you seen the expanding large marbles from Steve Spangler Science? Another really great explorative material-and reuseable!!

  3. great article what to give the child for this holy day. if you ask me give him a console skins of his favorite hero if he play video game.