I know, I know. There are only a few thousand new holiday gift guides hitting the internet this week, trying to tell you what you should buy for those you love, those you have no idea what to get, those you barely know and all the people that fall somewhere in between.
But what about those little people in our lives? What do we get those awesomely special offspring of ours (or those spectacular nieces, nephews, grand kids, or that neighbor kid that you kind of wish was your kid too)? You don’t want to fill their life with flashing gadgets, plastic toys that they will tire from in a week, or pointless possessions that will just end up being kicked under a bed and ultimately forgotten about.
You want to give the great little people in your life something that will enrich and inspire them. Something that will make them be creative and explore. Something…different. But….what do you get a kid then? A real kid. A natural kid. A real natural kid.
I’ve gotten a few emails and messages on social media as of late asking that exact question. So, I made you a little gift guide for you lovely people. To make this list, I looked around my classroom, my home and even stole some inspiration off my own daughter’s Christmas list.
1. Wiki sticks. I give these as gifts for all the birthday parties we are invited to. I have them in my classroom and I have a set at home for my own daughter. Wiki sticks are awesome because they are super open ended in how you can use them. Young kiddos can explore their waxy stickiness on a sensory level while older children can create elaborate pictures, letters and words. They stick to walls (without leaving stains) or can be made into 3 dimensional creations. Bonus, they can be used again and again!
2. Magna-Tiles. This is another thing I have at home and every classroom in my school has a set. They are the one toy I see grow with children from as young as 2 all the way up to age 7. They are fun, easy, colorful and magically magnetic. Build roads, houses, rockets, skyscrapers and whatever else your child can dream up. Kids never seem to get tired of them and they are worth the investment since they won’t see the darkness of the closet anytime soon.
3. Handmade kid’s apron. Guys, of course I’m going to put something (okay, multiple somethings) on this list that will encourage your children to get into the kitchen. My friend, Erin, over at Kittsons Kitchen makes the most beautiful children’s aprons! Plus you can get one for yourself to match so you and your little one can be extra adorable cooking Christmas breakfast in matching kitchen gear.
4. Stick & Stone. Hands down. One of my favorite books this year! Its a fun book that talks about what true friendship is in a simple dialog children can understand and relate to.
5. DIY Wood Peg Doll Family Kit. This is going in my girl’s stocking this year (or under her pillow, should the Tooth Fairy get caught off guard (again). Fun because kids can paint and create their own dolls and then let their imagination run wild with the stories that their dolls live out!
6. Guidecraft Kitchen Helper. Man, I wish I had had one of these years ago! Alice is far too tall to need one now, but I could see this being an *amazing* tool to help get kids into the kitchen and up at those counters! Sturdier than other steps stools and with rails to help catch kids should they fall (and they will), it is a must have if you want to inspire your littles to cook (and clean) by your side safely.
7. Little Me Dress Up Personalized Plate (from dylbug). There is no way food gets much funner than these plates. I’ve had one for Alice for ages and she still squeals with glee whenever I bust it out for a little fun food art. My friend, Leslie, is the brains behind this awesome website where you can personalize your own plate to make it look like your favorite kiddo and then dress that kiddo up in all kids of healthy goodness at mealtime!
8. If You Plant A Seed. A beautifully illustrated book about the power of kindness will a lovely nod to the goodness that is growing your own food!
9. Melissa & Doug Cleaning Kit. This is another thing off of Alice’s Christmas list. I know from experience as a teacher that chores feel like way more fun to kids when they have their own kid-sized gear. Inspire them to sweep the floor, clean up their own spill and become friendly with dusting with their own kit.
10. Kinetic Sand. Okay, maybe this isn’t natural sand, but this stuff is so cool! My students and daughter (and honestly, me) could spend hours playing with this stuff! Dump it into a large bin or bowl with a few spoons and measuring cups and your kiddo has fun sensory play at hand for hours….which will come in handy for keeping your sanity during those cold/wet winter months.
11. It’s Okay To Make Mistakes. A lesson that is good for anyone to learn, but especially kids. I love books for driving messages home to kids and Todd Parr does an amazing job of it in all of his colorful, simple, fun books.
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