Friday, November 1, 2013

Educational Gift Ideas for Families with Young Kids

On to the next holiday... err... wait. We still have Thanksgiving in there, but honestly, I'm already thinking about Christmas (I secretly have been for a while now). Now that Halloween is over, and the month of November is officially here it's time to get to business!

Thanksgiving and Christmas time are really two of my favorite holidays. I love spending so much time enjoying family. At the same time, the holiday season can be quite stressful. I tend to have a gray cloud of worry and planning that follows me around until I check things off of my list. Well, not this year! 
I've been shopping for Christmas since August, after my son's birthday. Seriously. If I haven't been physically purchasing items, then I've been making lists of ideas. That way when the time comes, I won't have to think about it too hard. 

This is my first list: Educational Gift Ideas for Families with Young Kids. 

I have two younger boys, and I am always looking for ways to sneak in a little bit of learning while they are having fun. For instance, we have educational movies that they can choose from like Sight Words, Leap Frog, Veggie Tales, and more. My son is happy because he gets to watch TV, and I am happy because he is learning at the same time. You get the idea. 

My focus lately has been on interactive learning tools that we can enjoy doing together. A little learning and bonding time combined, if you will. These are just four simple ideas of things that we picked out while spending an hour at Barnes & Noble. 

1. Activity Flash Cards
I personally like the ones where kiddos can practice writing on them with a dry erase marker. These interactive cards are great for doing something together and making learning fun! My son loves using the marker and the eraser too. Kids, so easy to please sometimes. 

2. Brain Quest
These are an excellent tool to give parents simple ideas on how to engage their child's thinking. It gets parents in the habit of asking probing questions about everyday things. Perfect item to set out on a coffee table and play when you have a few minutes. We own these. I purchased the next level above his age so that we can be working forwards. 

3. Zingo! Sight Words
Zingo makes a sight word version of their popular game. Another awesome way to make learning fun, and really make those sight words stick. Repetition is key! 

4. Spot it!
This original version of this game is challenging for all ages, and at the same time appropriate for younger children (say 3 or 4). They have a few different versions available, including ABC's, 123's, and Shapes. Wonderful for skill building, matching, and recognition. We have the original version and love it!

It's amazing how many fantastic learning tools and resources are available out there. Anyone else have ideas for interactive learning resources?

Stay tuned for a few of my other idea lists... coming soon! 


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