Locating the best gifts for Christmas gifts for children can be challenging. It is especially challenging when children, who are bombarded with television ads for toys during the Christmas season, are enticed by them all. Educational toys and games, developmental toys, and toys that promote physical fitness are always very good choices for Christmas gifts to kids.With that being said, I am posting on my Child Safety blog a list for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that I included in one of my web articles on educational and developmental gift choices for children.
Toys that are considered educational can be designed to address a specific learning skill such as math, reading or spelling. Such narrowly targeted educational toys are generally for older elementary school-age children. Such toys and games include computer games and software that address the specific learning skill desired.
Child development experts at GeniusBabies.com, suggest that educational toys for younger children are based on constructivism, a psychological theory that believes children generate knowledge and meaning from their own experiences. Educational toys for younger children, such as infants, toddlers and preschoolers, allow children to create their own knowledge by being active in the learning process. However, most toys can be educational through play for all developmental stages of childhood and can enhance children’s creativity.
The packaging for most educational toys and games is marked with the age for which the toy is appropriate. That is helpful information. However, in choosing a toy, it is best to choose a toy that is appropriate for the child’s stage of development, regardless of the age.
The Best Educational Toy Choices for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers:
Infant toys should have contrasting patterns, colors and simple sounds, such as stuffed animals, mobiles, and toys that infants and toddlers can manipulate. DVD’s, such as the Baby Einstein series, are highly recommended as both educationally and creatively developmental. Even simple building blocks are good gift options for infants and toddlers. Plastic toys that make sounds such as rattles or battery-operated toys with flashing lights or musical tones are also good developmental toy choices.
Toddlers and preschoolers are at their educational learning peak. Educational toys for toddlers and preschoolers can include intermediate level educational DVDs, play sets, puzzles, and introductory musical instruments. Toys for this age bracket should be sturdy as they will take a beating. One can not overlook the educational value of books for children. Books are an easy and great educational gift option for children of all ages.The Best Educational Toy Choices for Older Children and Adolescents:
Educational gift choices for older children and adolescents should revolve around their personal interests as well as age appropriateness. Books are especially important for this age bracket because books develop reading skills, imagination, and creativity. Other gift ideas include video game consoles and educational video game selections that benefit intellectual development and hand-eye coordination.
Children have a natural tendency to play hard, but many are not doing so. Unfortunately, for many children, getting exercise by playing outside has been sacrificed to sitting in front of the television, the computer, or video games. For that reason, gifts for children that are activity centered games or toys are wise choices. Such games or toys should motivate children to be physically active, give them cardio exercise, and develop strength and motor coordination.
The Best Activity Toy Choices for Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers:The best gift options for infants, toddlers and preschoolers are any toy choices that involve physical activity, movement, pushing, pulling, crawling, walking, skipping or jumping. Bouncy seats give infants and toddlers physical exercise. Baby walkers allow babies to walk around and get physical exercise until they can walk on their own. The best active toy gift options for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and even for older children, can be located at * Fat Brain Toys: Active Play.
The Best Activity Toy Choices for Children and Adolescents:Children and adolescents will benefit most from sports equipment that will get them actively playing outside. Such options include baseballs, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls and tennis equipment. Alternatives include swing sets, sliding boards, see-saws, skis, snowboards, skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles, trampolines, jump ropes, and hoola hoops.
Since children and adolescents are fascinated with video games, the Wii game consoles and the games selections that involve active play, such as Wii tennis, baseball, boxing, Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit Plus are excellent gift alternatives. Dance Dance Revolution, the pioneer in the rhythm and dance video genre, has for a few years been a popular game choice to motivate children to “bust a move” and get physically fit as well.
Points to Remember:To quote American author, Tom Robbins, “If little else, the brain is an educational toy.” The best gifts for children of all ages and developmental stages should stimulate the brain, foster creativity and imagination, and develop an active, physically fit child.
You may be interested in viewing a relevant posting in the archives of my blog (November 2011). It is called Children Believing in Santa Claus.
Picture credit: Amy Burton