It’s that time of year again when we are sometimes consumed with the question of what to get the kids for Christmas? We have a couple of previous posts with ideas that you can find by clicking on the links below:
There is one in Kansas City (a list of some items we like from Lakeshore Learning)
As you can imagine, though, we have plenty of other ideas that would be good options, so here is our 2015 list: (Click on the photo to link to a website.)
Fine Motor and Building:
You just can’t go wrong with Legos for four years and older and Duplos for two and three year olds. These old stand-by toys are great for fine motor strength and they are open-ended (assuming you build beyond the original plan in the kit.) I’ll show a little of my bias by suggesting the kits that are gender neutral in color and shapes. You may be able to find some cheaper with sales in the stores but these on Amazon are what I ordered. (click on the photo for the link)
These are such a simple idea but the play is open-ended and the play encourages the development of math concepts. Manipulating the rubber bands encourages fine motor strength development. These are out on our shelves all year long. This set comes with six boards so it would be a great one to get and divide up for several kids on your list.
Alphabots and Numberbots
These fun toys are from Lakeshore Learning. Let’s just say they are a HIT here at preschool!
Locks and Keys
These are also from Lakeshore Learning and again, they are a hit! Be sure to check online or get on their text list and you will receive discounts codes often.
Many of you may remember playing with a light bright as a child. They continue to hold appeal for young children today. Actually we have found the old standard version to work really well. The link attached to the photo will take you to the Ebay page that offers options of various sellers for this toy.
The link from the photo will take you to a previous post about the benefits of play dough along with our favorite recipe. You may feel that something homemade is not “exciting enough.” Imagine the excitement a child will feel with a new batch a play dough and some new accessories for the play.
As you know, kids love to move! Winter weather often necessitates indoor large motor play options.
We’ve had a few of these for several years and they have held up GREAT! This kids love them too. They come in a variety of colors. I have two on my list for the grand kids this year.
We use scooters often at school. They are great for general play, but also build core muscle strength when children lay on their stomachs and move. While I would use these on my wood floors many of our staff said they wouldn’t. There may, however, be the garage floor or perhaps and unfinished basement area available for play. These are fun for movement while sitting or laying, but they can also be used with rope attached to pull items, etc.
General art supplies
Whether its as stocking stuffers or as a collection in a fun box or container everyday art materials are important to have available to young children. Yes, scissors, glue, paint, markers and crayons can all be messy at times but with some advance planning and planned supervision these supplies can provide hours of entertainment as well as some important fine motor development.
This is a great way for children to naturally engage with letters and numbers. As their knowledge grows, their play changes and eventually stamps are incorporated into play with words and spelling. The bonus is that the kids just have fun playing!
One of our parents endorsed the fun of a bunch of pom poms in her comments on our last Christmas post. She wrote “One of the best things we had at a family Christmas was a lot of new pom pom “puff balls” I bought from a craft store. I got several different sizes and colors. The kids had a blast sorting them by size, color, etc. We “cooked” with them, used them in construction trucks and had snowball fights. Out of all the new Christmas gifts, this one kept six young kids entertained the longest!”
I could go on and on and on with so many fun ideas. I guess I just encourage you to find a couple of things that will enhance your child’s play and exploration. Don’t stress it too much. Let this part play a minor role in your holiday plans and activities. The best gift you can give is yourself. Your time for play, reading and cuddle are the most valuable gifts at any time of the year!