Gift Ideas for the Learners in Your Life
As the holidays approach, our team is on the lookout for great gift ideas for the young learners in your life. See Words believes education should be engaging to encourage reading of all skill levels. The holidays are a great time to spark that joy of learning. See some gift ideas, courtesy of Getting Smart:
Creative Construction. This age is where you may actually start to recognize the things your toddler is creating. From tools to blocks to art supplies, they will love transforming their ideas into reality—make sure they are set up with all the supplies they need to do so (and don’t forget to head to the recycling bin for lots of free inspiration):
- PicassoTiles: Take building to the next level by starting to construct 3D shapes through these magnetic tiles.
- Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center: Power tool sets are great, and a blast for this age, but can sometimes be hard if they don’t actually get to build anything. This is a great option for kids to use tools to design and create.
- Learning Resources Gears! Gears! Gears!: Take a different spin on building with these colorful gears that promote reasoning and problem solving while putting together moving objects and shapes.
- idoot Magnetic Blocks: These magnetic blocks encourage creative thinking and help kids learn how to solve complex problems through playing. Plus their multi-color design and fun magnetism make every structure a true work of art.
Optimistic Observers. For young explorers, the world is full of surprises. These toys are designed to help them take their observation skills to the next level:
- Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Microscope and My First Telescope: These first microscopes and telescopes allow kids to take a closer look at all of their favorite things.
- Learning Resources Primary Science Mix And Measure Set: This is a great age to start building a better understanding of quantity and measurement. The mix and measure set can double as a great bathtime toy as well.
Robots for Rugrats. Stu Pickles shouldn’t be the only inventor in your house. Even though robotics toys tend to be aimed at middle and high school, there are lots of great resources for the young robotics enthusiast that can help support building an innovation mindset:
- Fisher Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar: A great introduction to coding. Depending on how you put this guy together, it changes his course. Set a target and then build him to hit it.
- Kids First Robot Engineer Kit and Storybook: They call it a “build along adventure.” Start by reading the story and build as you go. This Robot Engineer teaches kids about simple machines and gear trains
- WowWee COJI The Coding Robot: This guy teaches the basics of coding through the language of emojis.
- Lego Coding Train: This introduction to coding kit allows kids to learn through play about sequencing, looping and conditional coding with customizable “smart bricks.” Check out our review!
Terrific Tablets. Sick of sticky finger smudges on your tablet? Here are a couple of options just for them (all under $100):
- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet: The fastest Amazon Fire Kids yet. It includes a two-year worry-free guarantee, a Kid-Proof Case with a built-in stand and one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited—with access to over 20,000 apps, games, books and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney and more
- LeapFrog Epic: Parental controls that allow you to manage what, when and how long each of your children is playing (for up to three profiles) and also includes the LeapFrog Just for Me Learning technology that personalizes the experience for each kid.
- LeapFrog Scribble and Write Tablet: This super fun tablet teaches kids to write letters, numbers and everything in between. There’s also a mode that provides instant progress! With captivating tracing lights, this toy is sure to keep your child’s attention.
Can’t Forget the Classics.
- Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register: A great way to learn the basics of money and math … plus the cha-ching sound is always satisfying.
Mini Makers. A quick search online will yield more maker kits than you can count. They vary in complexity and cost, but no matter what your budget there is definitely something for your mini maker:
- Marbleocity Mini Coaster: This is a great option for beginners as they follow illustrated instructions to piece together wooden parts to build the ultimate roller-coaster marble run experience.
- Osmo Genius Starter Kit: Five games that incorporate an iPad to develop skills such as visual thinking, problem-solving and creative drawing.
- littleBits STEAM Student Set: A toolbox containing LEGO-like electronic building blocks that connect via magnets to build basic functional technology. Buy a kit to make a space rover, synthesizers, a gizmo and gadgets kit and much more. For more check out our review.
- Makey Makey: A simple invention kit designed for beginners, experts and everyone in-between.
- ZOOB BuilderZ S.T.E.M. Challenge: Design and build cool, wacky creations such as a catapult, zip line, trampoline and more.
- Handy Famm: Handy Famm is a fun, bird-shaped tape measure with innovative features, such as a built in leveler and angle finder, that helps engage kids in the joy of DIY projects and infuses their interest in STEM at a young age.
Creepy Crawlers. You may not love bugs, but chances are your kids do. If that is the case, here are a couple of options that let your kids explore and observe, but keep the bugs well contained:
- BugWatch Boxed Set: This set includes a Double-Viewer cone and scope, three collecting jars with magnifying lids and two pairs of tweezers. Great for collecting and viewing insects and other small creatures.
- Celestron 3D Bug Specimen Kit: These are real bugs encased in crystal clear resin for easy viewing. You can choose from 3 different kits, each containing a different set of insects.
Dare to Design. No matter what the age, there is a series of tools that help young people design, build and create. Find one that’s perfect and unique so that they love the experience:
- Roominate: Building kits designed specifically for creative girls.
- Chalktrail: This allows kids to turn their bikes into art tools.
Captivating Coding. Our kids will need to learn to code, but it is for more reasons than you might think. As Grant Hosford puts it, “Computer science is the perfect gateway to 21st-century skills. The logical problem solving and algorithmic thinking at the core of computer science force kids to think about thinking—a process referred to as meta-cognition that has proven benefits related to self-monitoring and independent learning:”
- Move the Turtle: This app teaches the general idea of coding by completing step-by-step tasks that move the turtle around on the screen. Successful completion means that newer and more complicated tasks are introduced (think next-gen frogger).
- Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit: Electrical parts provide students with hands-on experience designing and building models of working electrical circuits.
Can’t Forget the Classics.
- Stomp Rocket: an old favorite for many of us.
- Curiosity Kits Lava Rock Volcano: What do you get when you mix vinegar and baking soda? A really good time.
Read the full article for gift ideas targeted towards different age groups or check out more Getting Smart articles here.
Bonus Gift Idea
See Words: Home is an engaging and educational tool that will provide your child with the basic fundamentals of reading by offering:
- 14 pre-programmed lessons each with 4 levels for mastery of content
- Content aligned with classroom curriculum
- No monthly fees or ads
Want a Step-by-Step Easy Path to Learn to Read?
See Words: School lays out the fundamental steps in 14 engaging lessons using proven multi-sensory methods and phonics. Download the suite of apps from the Apple App Store now.