While all types of toys make astonishing gifts, those that have educational value will keep a young mind sharp outside the classroom; at home, on the go, on breaks and during the summer. Here are five handy gifts that Santa can slip in their stocking to nurture their creativity and keep their skills sharp throughout the year.
Trivia has profound benefits for the brain, including the ability to help the brain manage stress levels and build nueroplasticity, which results in improved memory and a higher ability to take in and retain information. Trivia cards like Brain Quest contain card sets packed with questions that are both age and developmentally appropriate, from ages 2-13. The cards are separated into different subjects, such as math, reading comprehension and history. This is an interactive game for you and your child to play together, as it will improve their listening and their reasoning skils.
Never underestimate the power of an art set! It should be no surprise that encouraging their creative skills can also has educational benefits, such as developing the use of their imagination, improving motor skills, and, for the older artist, teaching them about design, where art meets execution and problem solving. Art kits like these vary widely, from painting, to paper crafts and sewing. Although many of them are larger, smaller ones exist that will fit into a stocking.
A Musical Instrument
Whether your child loves music or is just a beginner, affordable recorder instruments like these make wonderful stalking stuffers. They are ideal for exposing your child to notes, harmonies, and the technical aspects of learning an instrument like reading music, using body language and the art of performance. What’s handy about children’s instruments in particular is that they make great “firsts” as they are not as expensive as regular instruments. The benefits of music overall include improved memory, motor skills and self-confidence.
An Interactive Book
We are in what some people call the digital age, and books have risen to the occasion. For reading, phonetics, and comprehension skills, interactive books like these can help your children gain independence by learning to read their favorite books on their own, from Disney-themed princesses to Dora the Explorer. Leapfrog in particular comes with a pen that can help your child through difficult words while improving their spelling and listening skills. Other than interactive books, they have and-held gaming systems and tablets. The line as a whole provides knowledge-building opportunities within areas of personal interests. Topics currently covered include the human body, the solar system, and the United States.
Education should never stop, even when it’s play time. These gifts will allow your child to enjoy their new toys, yet give them something to “learn about”. All of these stocking stuffers are mom-approved and valuable for young, curious minds.