I am currently living child-free, but I like doting on my nieces and nephews… which means I want to buy them presents but have few ideas about what kiddos actually like to receive as presents. This year I spent some time researching gifts that were more interesting that a toy car or a Bratz doll. Here are a few resources I found to help in my search for presents that encourage kids to think:
A Mighty Girl: A Might Girl is an awesome site devoted to “The world’s largest collection of books, toys and movies for smart, confident, and courageous girls,” and they have this super helpful Holiday Gift Guide that groups gift ideas by age. I can’t even tell you how helpful that is to someone who doesn’t know if 7 year olds play with blocks. They also have book series listed, and a search by character feature which is helpful if you know your little friend is obsessed with, say, Dora.
FatBrainToys: This site sells educational toys that, no joke, I would like to play with. (I mean, have you seen Squigz?) You can also shop by age, which is helpful as I explained above. The categories and some of the ads are gendered, but don’t let that deter you from buying a “boy” toy for a girl, or vice versa! I looked through the age categories in both sections to find some cool treasures like ShapeOmetry, a game that sneakily teaches you quantitative skills.
You can also check out this Squidoo article on gifts for gifted kids available through amazon.
Most of all, remember that it’s not the end of the world if your little female friend really wants a toy kitchen, or your little male friend wants to GI blow stuff up. You can use your time to engage kids in conversation about their toys, why they picked the ones they did, and what they think about them. Use the toy kitchen to teach your little friend about being a chef, and the GI joe to teach your little friend about how the government matters. You can also engage their older siblings by talking to them about why their sister or brother plays with certain toys.
And above all, remember what matters most is the gift of your time, energy, and love.