Kate’s Corner
Dec 04 2017

  Winter Wish List

Every year I am asked for recommendations of what to buy for young children for the holidays.  While I never endorse a specific product, store or company, I am happy to share some ideas. Children spend a great deal of time with toys, equipment and materials at EduKids and at home.  We all know that some are longer lasting than others, provide multiple uses and have higher value for children.  Toys also are significant “tools” that help children learn.  They mean something and matter.

But there is one recommendation that I am sure of that is the best gift to give a child.

#1 recommendation -you.                                                                                               

There is nothing that will mean more or matter more to a child at any age than you. Spending time with a child is, hands down, the best way to care for, nurture and teach them.  As children get to the preschool age, and older, they understand a fancy card with a menu and “date” for a special day that includes lunch is a terrific gift.  A wrapped book about elephants with tickets to the zoo, fancy nail polish with a reservation at a salon, a team jersey with a date for the game, a certificate for a popcorn party sleep-over or a snow saucer with a big picture of the hill at the park and a date for play are excellent ways to spread joy.                                                                                                                                                                          You matter most.

And here are some learnings that are important for children’s development with recommended “toys” that support them:

► Language development    


Babies and toddlers love books that have no words or minimal words.  Books with bright pictures and easily recognized objects or characters (i.e. animals & people).  They love board and cloth books that fit into their hands and are easily carried.  Babies and Tods are fascinated by patterns, shiny objects and textured pages.  Your voice, smile and warm cuddles during reading are the best reading partners a child can have!

-Preschoolers are excited about longer stories with words and rhymes.  They are interested in common themes, (i.e. schools, birthdays, the zoo) and have funny characters they can relate to.  Preschoolers are particularly connected to books about stories involving “helpers” (i.e. pet shops, firefighters, grocers, police officers) and love extended activities around a favorite book.  Author focus is also a favorite.  Dr. Seuss, Jan Brett & Eric Carle top the list.

Music –

The younger the child the softer and calmer the music.  Lovely songs and lullabies, rattles, soft toys that make notes when touched, play mats that respond musically, music boxes for the nursery and books that provide simple melodies are great.

As children age they love to be actively involved in the music making!  Safe, child approved musical instruments, simple recording devices to play songs, interactive toys that respond to touch that become more challenging as children get older and any kind of dance party music, decorations and props are always a big hit.

► Motor skills and creativity

For all children with caution to safety and use:                                                                                                          All sizes, textures and sport related balls, obstacle course props, outdoor equipment and seasonal items are always enjoyed.  Parachutes, sleds, skate boards, balance equipment, hula hoops, basketball hoops, tunnels, jump ropes, trikes, bikes and scooters are great gifts.

Blocks – the variety of blocks available is incredible!  All varieties and textures are recommended and enjoyed – be careful of size for babies and toddlers as they can be a choking hazard.  Block building and block play is enhanced with vehicles, trains, tracks & bridges, people & animals, play buildings, street signs and play rugs.

Paper, crayons, markers, scissors, glue & glitter, different paints and different brushes, chalk, all kinds of pencils & pens, all kinds of paper and pads, journals, calendars, desk supplies and posters all organized in a wonderful box or carrier.

Puzzles of all kinds, playdough, cubes, peg boards, lacing cards, snap & zip toys, beads and craft supplies for older children.

Fantasy play – dress up clothes for all themes & props to go with them. Remember that baby dolls, stuffed animals & “cozy” toys are always welcome.

► STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)

Tool kits and props, pounding bench, magnets and ideas, simple scales and pulley systems, simple digital toys, counting bears and number games, shapes and shape sorters, Memory, BINGO & other games requiring organization, maps and globes, glow in the dark props and toys, butterfly gardens, ant “farms”, aquariums, hamsters and other insect / animal habitats, space & solar system toys & props, weather and ecology toys & props, spheres and telescopes are terrific ideas for children.

Enjoy the search & giving of the perfect gift for your little one, knowing that there is no such thing as a perfect gift, but there is a perfect little one – YOURS!

                                                                                                                “Some gifts are big.  Some gifts are small.                                                                                                         But the ones from the heart are the best gifts of all.” T. Razoria