When you are shopping this Christmas season, if you are like me you’re trying to get the most for your money. Presents that are not only entertaining for children, but have an educational or learning component make a favorite gift option for parents. This morning I went on air with KXII Morning News to share some of my top picks for Christmas Toys and Gifts with an Educational Twist.
Classic Gifts With an Educational Twist
I love turning a classic, traditional gift idea into something that has a learning, imaginative, or educational aspect as well. For example these lace-up cards are a classic toddler gift for helping develop hand eye coordination but this set from The World of Eric Carle features familiar illustrations from the children’s classic storybook, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
Blankets are a favorite gift item in my house – my kids each have their own color which makes road trips less of a hassle. But Cuddleuppets has one of the coolest twists on a classic blanket as these award winning toys incorporate a working animal puppet. Language and speech development is enhanced for your children as a result. Brilliant!
Building blocks like Legos and Mega Bloks are a must-have gift item at my house so when I searched for an educational twist I was super pleased to find out about these alphabet and number sets by Mega Bloks First Builders Series. Just stick the letters and numbers onto the block and your child is able to turn a popular building toy into a letter and number awareness tool at the same time. I loved the zipper pouch to store them in too – that should save my feet from a late-night massacre.
My kids get Christmas ornaments every year as part of our holiday traditions so this gift idea was super fabulous to me. A newer company, Twelve Days has gift sets designed to fit into these gorgeous ornament gift boxes. Recapturing the historical twelve days of Christmas gift giving idea, a child can choose one box on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Many gift set themes are available including chocolate (YUM!), art supplies, etc but I personally fell in love with the classic children’s toy set.
Educational Electronic Christmas Gifts for Children
Electronic tablets and gaming systems range widely in price, flexibility, add-on capabilities, and age range. I narrowed the selections down to three that covers a variety of age ranges, price points and each has it’s unique pros and cons.
Vinci Tablet – This tablet is a true tablet designed specifically for kids. While the downside is the higher price point, with models ranging from $129 for the 5″ screen Vinci Tablet to $189 for the 7″ screen Vinci Tablet model I showed on the newscast, the age-range cannot be beat. Vinci tablets come with so many apps, games, and learning activities available to download the age range goes from 18 months all the way to 9 years old, by far the most age groups covered of any of the electronics I reviewed. Additionally, the apps to install were very inexpensive, most of them free, with only a few above $2, so the bulk of your spending would be upfront.
LeapFrog Leapster Explorer – One of my favorite LeapFrog items, the Leapster Explorer prices for $63.88 at Sam’s Club making it very reasonable to pick up for a child. The age range covers from 4 years to 9 years and we have found both the preschool and early reader learning activities to be really entertaining and educational at the same time. Additional games, eBooks, and movies can be downloaded from the web for $5-$25 per title.
Discovery Kids Laptop Computer – This was sent to me for review from CVS and has an amazing price point of under $20. While you lose the flexibility of being able to add learning activities, the computer comes pre-programmed with more than 50 games in 6 learning categories. And I loved the QWERTY style keyboard that helps children get used to a traditional computer keyboard layout without having to learn the alphabetically version first, and then re-learn on a real computer later.
Games for Offline Learning and Family Togetherness
Robbin’ Eggs is a fun, fast-paced math-based games that will encourage not only addition and subtraction, but have kids using their logical thinking skills and memory as well. Totally clever, simple to play, and suitable for kids 7 and up I loved the theme, creative design, and math focus of this game by Haywire Group.
Word Bits is a game created by Simply Fun and is a unique word game I had never seen before – and I’m the queen of big mouth….er…word games. I love the emphasis on practicing letters and encouraging vocabulary skills in children ages 8 and up. Adults will love this fastest-mouth-wins game as well!
And for older kids, Hasbro has taken a favorite and hugely popular electronic app offline in their latest word game, Words With Friends. For ages 13 and up this game will have you getting unplugged, and sitting around the table together to play, learn, and laugh as a group this holiday season.
These are only a handful of the items I have to share with you for this holiday season so be sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter and you’ll be emailed with additional gift ideas! Some of these items were sent to me for review purposes and I used affiliate links within this post which helps keep this blog running.