Monday, December 26, 2011

What are You Buying with Those Gift Cards?

Due to the Christmas holiday, this week’s Top 10 post is a little late – sorry guys! I don’t know about you guys, but my personal children got some gift certificates for Amazon, and I am going to use them to buy some educational toys to supplement all those non-educational toys that Santa Claus brought.  So, this week’s Top 10 list is on great educational toys to fill your children with.  Lots of them would also make great center stations!

10. Science Kit – My son is absolutely obsessed with all things science.  In fact, he wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up.  So, we’ve had a bunch of science kits come through our house.  This link is to a “kiddie” one that he got last year for Christmas, which was super cool.  It helped him make a bouncy ball and a rubber worm and other goopy stuff.  But, what I liked the most was that it gave an explanation of how this was science.  I love science kits, because they are so hands on!

9. Critical Thinking Games – Problem solving does not just come to kids – it must be practiced, but it should be practiced in a fun way!  So, try getting a game like Rush Hour to have fun and build skills!

8. Word Games – I think my household owns every word game known to man: Boggle, Scrabble, Upwords, Taboo, Very Silly Sentences etc.  However, our personal favorite is You’ve Been Sentenced, where you build all these crazy sentences, trying to see how many words you can use.  We love it because we can play just kids, adults with the kids or just adults – fun either way!

7. Foreign Language Talking Toys – For those of you who don’t know – I am currently raising my kids in Morocco, with them learning French & Arabic.  So, I am a big proponent of working on foreign languages.  There are so many toys out there these days which work on other languages and I say eat them up and build that vocabulary.  Even if they never learn to speak that language, they’ll know another word which might lead to understanding a cognate or a root word later down the road!


6. 3-dimensional Puzzles – I’m a fan of all puzzles, seriously – we own tons! However, this year I really want to get my oldest some three dimensional puzzles.  He has a globe puzzle, but I think he would really do well with some of the building puzzles.  Plus, once it’s put together, he can use it for imaginary play with his soldiers and super hero toys.

5. Open Ended Building Toys – Legos, Kinex, wooden blocks, there are so many building toys out there, and they lead to great creative thinking and problem solving.  My kids even build with the Jenga blocks!

4. Arts & Crafts Supplies – Just like building, arts and crafts builds that creative thinking and problem solving.  I’m personally anti finger paint and glitter (although my husband is very pro these two for some reason), but I do always keep on hand: a bucket of crayons, scissors, glue sticks, play-doh, string & beads, etc. etc. 

3. Board Games – When we moved to Morocco, we brought more board games than books, and I love books, which should tell you something about my family!  (Don’t be too fooled, I got a Kindle before the move, so my books just took up less space!)  I love playing games with the kids.  This year I think we’re going to use gift cards to get Guess Who and Yahtzee, two oldies but goodies that we don’t have yet.

2. Museum Membership – Okay, so you can’t get a museum membership with an imageAmazon gift card, but it’s my favorite thing to do with “Christmas money”.  Not only is it educational, but it’s a great way to always have something to do on those days where you don’t really have any extra money!  (Works the same with a zoo, aquarium or aquatic center!)

1. Books, Books, Books! – Have you seen my pinterest boards?  I have an entire board devoted to kid’s books.  I LOVE children’s books, and I truly don’t believe kids can have too many.  My kids have 2 bookshelves full of books, and read every day.  So, I am very well known to bring kids books as presents!  (My oldest is currently reading Harry Potter.  My middle son is reading – with me – Magic Tree House.  The baby’s only 9 months old – but he can sit through some serious Sandra Boyton board books!)