Gifts for encouraging creativity do not come with batteries! They usually are not related to a movie or cartoon character. They are basic, simple tools for child’s play. Good toys will last through several children, possibly even for the grandchildren. When it comes to children’s toys, quality is far more important than quantity. Do not fill your house to bursting with cheap plastic junk. If your child has a lot of toys already, you may want to consider giving him toy-storage items, or tables, or furniture to fill out the play area. Of course, you should encourage him to donate some of his toys to Good Will or the Salvation Army, so a less fortunate child can have a Merry Christmas, as well.
Best Toys for Dramatic Play
|Dramatic play is crucial for your child’s development. If you could have only one play area in your home, this should be it. Through dramatic play, your child can practice and imitate your behaviors, but in a safe environment. Through dramatic play, using a toy kitchen, or dress ups, or puppets, your child can express himself freely. He can practice different scenarios, develop vocabulary, and rehearse actions so that he will feel more confident when he is around others. You can play with him, and help him to understand new or scary situations. If someone is sick, you can have your child pretend a teddy bear is sick and needs to see the doctor. You can then bring out the toy doctor kit, and let your child examine the bear. Then when your child does need to see a doctor, it won’t be quite as intimidating to him. The same technique can help him understand a variety of issues, like moving to a new neighborhood, or how to share toys at preschool.|
If your child already has a toy kitchen, then you might consider adding:
Best Gifts for Art
|If your child doesn’t have a desk or easel yet, now’s the time. The easel makes paper and crayons available to your child any time. You can set spill-proof paint jars in the tray only when you are going to be there to supervise. The same goes for markers, scissors and all other art materials. You will be teaching your child how to use the materials, but not how to draw. Let him make large pictures, with bold colors and squiggle shapes. As he grows, you can begin to move the art materials out of your kitchen and into his play area. If he breaks a rule – colors on the walls or cuts his hair – then you remove the art materials from the playroom and continue to supervise their use in the kitchen. As art materials are consumable, you’ll be replacing them throughout the year. Things to buy include paper, crayons, markers, scissors, fingerpaints, tempra paint, and glue.|
Great Gift Ideas for Encouraging Music
| Most children love to bang on the drums! If your nerves can handle it, get your youngster a good quality drum or drum set. Put on some music and encourage him to play along. Try a variety of music. Try Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring , Copland: The Music of America, Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture right along with whatever popular music you prefer.
Some smaller drum toy sets come with a tambourine, maracas, a harmonica, and a triangle. If you don’t think you can handle the drums, consider getting a Recorder instead. Continually add to your child’s collection of music CDs. Look for some Sing-A-Long DVDs, as well. Maybe your child won’t learn to read by seeing the words scrawl across the screen, but he will become more aware of words.
Great Table Games and Activities
Table games help develop small muscle dexterity – important before letter-writing can take place. Games also teach taking turns, sportsmanship, following a few simple rules, and stewardship. Here are a few classic games and puzzles for you to consider:
Great Books for Your Young Child
I’ve posted several lists of good children’s books, but here are some beautiful seasonal favorites –
Great Outdoor Toys for Winter
Toboggans, ice skates, snow shovel, snow crayons, sleds, even small skis if you think your youngster is ready.
Best Block Toys
Blocks are a perfect toy, and will last for generations. Consider adding to your child’s basic unit blocks set, or add one of the many interesting accessory options, such as those pictured below:
Last, but Not Least, Gifts for Sensory Play
You don’t need to buy many items for the sensory area. Your child will explore found objects like pine cones, sea shells, rocks and bugs. Some items you’ll purchase in the grocery store, like shaving cream, rice, pudding or playdough. But there are a few gifts you can find that will add interest to your child’s sensory play. These are:
Don’t over-stimulate your young child with too many gifts. It is better to give your child your attention than toys. As you help him build with his blocks, or teach him how to play a board game, you are showing him that he has value. You show him that he is loved. And that is the greatest gift of all.