Christmas is only two months away; and, if you are up for avoiding a last-minute, just-hurry-up-and-get-something shopping rush, it’s certainly not too early to start working through your gift list.
Who can deny that one of the best things about Christmas is the gift giving? I love the opportunity to love my family by giving good gifts–thoughtful gifts. And, for me, the formulation of a thoughtful gift idea takes time… which is why this topic is on my mind in mid-October.
Of course, buying for my kids brings an extra challenge with it: not only does the gift have to be thoughtful, but it also has to be something worth keeping around–because it’s my home in which these things will take up residence! If it’s going to stay, it has to be (1) played with and (2) worthy of being played with.
I have found that the playthings which my kids (and me!) love most and best are the ones that have more than just an entertainment factor to them. These are the things which my kids continually come back to and which are growing with them even as they get older.
Based on what toys we are continually loving, here are eight great gift ideas for the children on your list.
- Legos–Abel started playing with Legos at age 3, and he has never stopped since. Legos are a wonderful toy because they foster creativity, they can become part of a larger collection, and they won’t be outgrown.
- Fisher-Price Loving Family Grand Dollhouse–All three of my daughters began playing with this at age 2, and it continues to be the most-played-with girl toy in our house. A dollhouse is a great addition to a girl’s playroom because the make-believe possibilities are endless.
- American Girl Dolls and Accessories–We discovered the world of American Girl about a year ago, and their products are some of our girls’ favorites. As a mom, I love American Girl for the quality and the extensiveness of the collections. Any toy that can be built upon is, in my opinion, a better investment than one that stands alone
- Pattern Blocks–These are a simple toy with so many creative possibilities, and they have proven fun for our whole family.
- Non-Hardening Modeling Clay–I was never a big fan of Play-Doh because it dries out so quickly, so I switched our “dough” collection over to non-hardening clay. My kids can literally sit and create with it for hours; and since it stays moist, cleanup is much easier (no dried out crumbs all over the floor!).
- Notebooks and Sketchbooks–These are right up there with the dollhouse and the Legos on the most-played-with list. My kids love a simple spiral-bound notebook or sketchbook just as much as any fancy toy.
- Books–We don’t keep a whole lot of toys in the family living areas of our home, but we do make plenty of books available. Take the guesswork out of book shopping, and buy titles from Sonlight Curriculum‘s book lists. You won’t be disappointed with the quality, award-winning literature you’ll find there.
- Games–Games make great gifts not only because they are educational but also because they bring the family together. As our family has begun to move out of the Candy Land stage, some of our favorite family games include Blokus, Yahtzee, Uno, Sequence, and Battleship.
So, what toys can you and your kids recommend?
For additional guidance as you build this year’s Christmas gift list, check out this article from the Sonlight blog: “Tools, Not Toys.”