You know best what makes your kids’ hearts sing, so that’s your first lead in navigating the zillions of options for Christmas presents this year. But here’s another lens to apply in your decision-making process: what do these gifts give back to your kids? Are they single-use, faddish or tied to a product that may quickly fall from favour?
It’s probably best to limit such options and look instead for things that can help make your kids better at life in general. Gifts that ignite curiosity and spark creativity, that are fun to play with while also building core strength and physical capacity, gifts that challenge your kids’ minds and imaginations and cultivate fundamental skills they’ll need for school and beyond.
To help ease the process, we’ve compiled a list of 5 types of gifts to consider:
- There’s a reason that building and construction toys have been popular for like ever: they are so valuable in cultivating a number of essential skills, from creative problem-solving, to language, math, social and spatial skills and hand-eye coordination. Have a fair LEGO stash already? Consider adding to it some pieces with which the kids can build more complex things. Or look into Magna Tiles for a different building experience. If you have a colossal budget, something like a 3D printer or 3D pen could inspire your older kid to greatness.
- Put together a creativity centre to encourage your kids to get arting all over a variety of media any time the mood takes them. It will help them build math, language and fine motor skills and aid cognitive development. A colourful and inviting little corner where the stationery and crafty bits and pieces are clearly visible and easy to reach will encourage your kids to get their ideas on paper without the hassle of having to track down all the materials first. Put their creations on display to foster some pride in their work.
- Reinvent their bedroom or play area. Flex your own creative muscles and come up with a new vision for the space, adding interesting nooks, organizational hacks and varying heights to play with, or a new tent to delight in. From glam and over the top, to brilliant budget projects, let your imagination run wild and surprise them with a whole new world of their own.
- Get searching for the kinds of ingredients you’ll need to encourage your kids to move in new ways and help them maintain a healthy vestibular sense. The classics like swinging, balancing, jumping, and hanging upside down are what you’re after, but look for new and interesting ways introduce them. You could hang a few hammocks, indoors or out, or find a space for a trapeze bar or gymnastic rings. Get hold of a balance board and various size exercise balls or other fun balancing gear or create a cool obstacle course to get them using the space they have differently.
- Spend some time investigating sports or hobbies you’d like to take up with your kids. From the most common sports like tennis or cricket, to the alternative ones like slacklining or rock climbing, and hobbies panning from gardening to paper art and model car collecting, there is sure to be something that interests you both. The key element? Your time! More valuable than any toy or gadget is your undivided attention, and a pressure-free shared interest.
May your gift-hunting be swift and gratifying, and those gifts both captivate and cultivate the unique genius of your precious little one!
Date Published: 05 December 2016