Thursday, December 5, 2013

PassionI promise that this is the last gift guide of the year! Yet again I am teaming up with other kid bloggers to share our Top 10 gift choices. The category for this week was Pretend Play, and the category for the next week is Arts and Crafts, but here is the truth – my daughter is not artsy and she didn’t spend a lot of time in pretend play even when she was younger. I am happy that she is now actively participating in choosing her own gifts, even if it means fewer surprises for her. She is all about books, games, and building toys, and you can click on the links above to my other gift ideas. In this post I am going to talk about the gifts that are nourishing her other passions.

Creativity Gifts

Creativity

Beautiful DoodlesSmarty is not a child who will spend hours drawing. Actually, she is rarely inspired by an empty sheet of paper. She is more likely to draw when a “visual prompt” is given. She especially enjoys drawing if several people draw at the same time from the same visual prompt and then compare the results. This is why she likes Beautiful Doodles book from a big series of Doodles for Kids.

Christmas Mad Libs

Our daughter always enjoyed playing with words. Last year she discovered Mad Libs. Even though she was still a reluctant writer then, she would write pages of Mad Libs and then entertain all of us reading the stories back. Mad Libs is a series, and you might find something that appeals to your child. She just got Hanukkah Mad Libs as a Hanukkah present, and we are getting her Christmas Mad Libs as part of her Nicholas’ Day gift. I am still waiting for her to start writing her own!

ClayMany kids love cutting, pasting and painting. Smarty is not a big fan of these activities, however, she really enjoys creating with clay. This Fimo clay can be baked and hardened if desired. We read a couple of books about modeling with clay, and it’s interesting to see how her clay artwork is getting both smaller in size and more detailed. This Christmas Smarty is getting a pottery tool set to help with fine details.

 

Rainbow Loom

A Rainbow Loom mania hit our house big time when we finally unpacked this birthday present. Smarty quickly mastered basic bracelets and then started watching Rainbow Loom YouTube channel. She learned from it how to make “fishtail” bracelets and spent most of Thanksgiving break equipping all of us with Rainbow Loom jewelry – it’s a good thing that the present came with extra packs of bands. It’s good to see her so excited and proud about making something useful from start to finish.

Curiosity Gifts

Curiousity

Smarty loves science, and we always tried to encourage her with science experiments and books. In general, I am not a big fan of science kits as I believe that most of science experiments for young kids don’t require special stuff. Still, I will write about two types of kits we have in the house.

Big Bag of Science

We got this Big Bag of Science kit when Smarty was 4, and we still didn’t use all of it. In general I find substances included in this kit somewhat “gimmicky” – it’s hard to explain to a young child why they work the way they do. You also have to supervise your child closely if you want to extend the life of your kit. The best part of the kit is the plastic tubes that they could be reused later in the experiments with household materials.

Light Whiz Kit

We have several ScienceWhiz kits (courtesy of grandparents), and we like them more than the first kit. For once, each kit comes with a colorful book that provides a lot of details about experiments. Second, they are compact enough and still hold enough “oomph” for a couple of dozen of different experiments with most of the components available for reuse. Some of the pieces could be of better quality, but overall I am satisfied with value for money spent.

Exploratorium

One of the best gifts that you can give to a young curious mind is new experiences. We do our best to travel and to visit museums, performances and state parks. As a gift for Smarty’s birthday we got a membership in her favorite science museum – Exploratorium in San Francisco. If at all possible, consider giving your own Smarty an “experience gift”.

Gifts for Imagination

Imagination-001

As I said, our daughter doesn’t play pretend much. Perhaps it’s a plight of an only child who needs a playmate with the same imagination, but even during playdates she doesn’t like to play with dolls or have pretend tea parties. There are things, however, that get a lot of use.

Playmobil Puppet Theater

As a proper German child (my daughter even has a German passport), she has a lot of Playmobil – mostly presents from her German side of the family. Her favorite Playmobil set is this Puppet Theater that arrived as a gift when she was only three. We put it away then, but she is getting into stop motion animation now, and this theater is perfect for setting up her own stories. I expect it to get a lot of use next year.

Doctor Kit

We had a similar (somewhat simpler) doctor kit from Learning Resources since daughter was 2 years old, and it still sees a lot of use. Smarty enjoys playing both a doctor and a patient, and lately added a writing pad to her kit to mark her observations and write prescriptions.

Z-Bow

Smarty calls herself a “boyish girl”. She likes playing with boys, and loves climbing the trees with our neighbor. She also loves playing with his arsenal of Nerf guns. She has her own, but it’s a single shooter. When she had to choose her own birthday present because one of her classmates (or, rather, his parents) gave her an Amazon gift card, she looked at many options and finally opted for this Air Hunter Z-Curve Bow. The reviews on Amazon were positive, and I am looking forward to “hunting” with her.

  • Want More Amazing Gift Ideas?

  • The Best Gifts for Kids: 50+ Unique Lists of Gift Ideas

    Please visit our 2013 Gifts for Kids page, Gifts for Kids Pinterest board and Top Ten Holiday Lists Pinterest board to find gifts for your family.

    A Giveaway

    I am giving away this ScienceWhiz Chemistry kit to one lucky winner

    ScienceWhiz Chemistry

    This giveaway is open to US and Canada residence, and will close on December 15. The winner will be notified by their entry email on December 15, after she/he is confirmed as entering correctly. The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email before another winner is selected.

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  • 40 comments:

    Jhyrel Pommells said...

    This is wonderful! Thank you! I'm always looking for new ways to inspire creativity in my child!

    Debbie Ingold said...

    Selena loves, Science, Nature, and the World around her.

    MKB said...

    One of my children loves reading the other art!

    More Than A Mom said...

    Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! It would sure make a great gift for the kids :)

    These ideas above are also so helpful.

    An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

    I gave the kids the Christmas Mad Lib you pictured with another Christmas one this week - they have been loving it. Dover Christmas Sticker Scene books have been another big hit for the week, even with the older girls - I like them because they are no-mess, somewhat reusable, and very inexpensive.

    Ticia said...

    My kids each have their own thing. The boys are big on Lego, but Batman also like Science kits. Princess likes crafts and craft kits. Superman is my mega Lego fan.

    maryanne @ mama smiles said...

    You write the best gift guides!

    Lets see - my kids' passions, so far are:

    Emma: reading, reading, and more reading. Mostly fiction these days, as well as a craft books she then picks projects from and the occasional non-fiction book. She is into mysteries at the moment.

    Johnny: drawing and math. He says math is "more fun than playing."

    Lily: sensory play.

    Anna: Whatever her siblings are doing.

    Jenn said...

    Nora is big into science, math and art. Her favorite projects incorporate all 3 (which in kindergarten is pretty easy to do!).

    Beth is my dreamer. She is big into dance, art, music and the land of make believe! She may only be 4, but she can already create some very entertaining stories!

    Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said...

    I love your gift ideas! My two oldest children, both boys, are really into Sports Cars right now and they love to build things with Legos.

    My 3-yr old loves her pretend kitchen, playing with her baby dolls and building with her Duplo Legos.

    All of my children love drawing, coloring and playing with Play Dough also.

    Jeanette Nyberg said...

    I love that you have these separated by themes. I actually love those creative books with the prompts in them. I think many times, kids feel lost when staring at a blank paper and need a little nudge!

    Amy said...

    Nature, art, books

    phxbne said...

    singing, drawing and travelling

    Ana said...

    Stella love everything pretend especially playmobil. I am originally from Germany so we always buy more on our travels to Germany.

    kellyr78 said...

    My son enjoys science, math, playing football, art and cares a lot about animals.
    kellywcu8888ATgmailDOTcom

    Kelly said...

    These are wonderful ideas!
    Kelly at LIttle Wonders' Days

    Sara said...

    My son is passionate about books and dinosaurs

    gretablau said...

    my son loves nature, science and minecraft!!

    Julia said...

    My son loves science and rocks.

    Jessica said...

    My oldest loves reading, digging in the dirt, and building. My youngest's passions include reading, trains, dolls, and bubble baths.

    AMY said...

    My oldest daughter loves singing and acting and my youngest daughter loves drawing and anything art related.

    Wild N Mild $$$ said...

    My son likes to build things.
    Jennifer Rote

    legojeepdude said...

    Legos!!

    VG said...

    science - dinosaurs, anatomy, etc

    Angel said...

    One loves Science, the other History and the youngest horses.

    Manhattan Image and Style said...

    This is awesome!! Traveling, art and science books are the best! :)

    Feel free to visit my blog as well! You will find topics such as health, self-image, personal growth and motivation between others! <3

    Diana
    www.ManhattanImageandStyle.com
    New Video Post: NYC Holiday Window Tour

    Dolphin Girl said...

    My son loves reading, my daughter dance. They both love science.

    Kathy D. said...

    Science is my weak spot in homeschooling. These kits look great!

    Tracy said...

    My children's passions are art, reading and building.

    Meddy said...

    Science.

    Sarah Issac said...

    My youngest daughter loves to paint, my eldest daughter is a talented French horn player and potter, my eldest son loves building things and the ocean, my youngest son is a little outdoorsmen and loves to fish!

    bkittie said...

    Both of my kids enjoy writing.

    Amanda said...

    I have one child who enjoys pretend play and one pretend who is more real based. He takes from books and movies and plays like what he knows. My daughter makes it up and she goes along. My son can get frustrated at my daughters "not real" play style.

    A Learning Journey said...

    My daughter loves science, nature, arts and crafts, reading, dancing, and singing. She would love to win this kit, because we are doing a few chemistry experiments this year in science and it would be a great help. Thank you so much for the chance to win.

    Mammamayor said...

    They always are trying to build things, make things , natbelinsky@verizon.net

    Jennifer R said...

    My son's are very creative with building, drawing, and writing. They do enjoy their science classes at school so I think they would enjoy this prize package.

    Unknown said...

    My nine year old loves science. My seven month old just wants everything in his mouth!:)

    Wendy said...

    My kids love everything from art to science.

    Steph at From the Burbs to the Boonies said...

    My kiddo is in 2nd grade and loves science and math so this would be perfect for him! He tells me he wants to be an inventor :)

    Amanda said...

    My kids both love animal science, but we are studying chemistry next semester. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    r said...

    reading and drawing!