As the excitement for Christmas continues to build, the day itself is now less than two weeks away. Amongst all the nativity plays, carol concerts and food preparations, many will still be braving the hectic high streets for some last-minute gifts and stocking fillers. Buying for your children is particularly difficult to get right because what might be the talk of the town one day will be forgotten and cast aside the next. Therefore, it is worth putting a little more consideration into getting gifts with longevity; something useful that they can continue to use for weeks, months and even years following the festivities.
There are a variety of factors that may affect how you buy educational presents for your children, including age, interests and ability. Contrary to popular belief, children enjoy learning and thrive when presented with gadgets, gizmos and toys that require brainpower for use. This can be something as simple as building blocks for nursery pupils to the simple coding of toy robots, establishing a basic understanding of simple codes. Here at St Peter’s Prep School, we’ve put together a short gift guide to help any struggling parents in the approach to Christmas, with a focus on educational gifts that are not only entertaining but can also encourage them to learn.
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but buying your children new books for Christmas it not only a great present that can further their literary development but can also keep them occupied in the days following Christmas itself. When the weather is cold and family have been and gone, it’s nice to have some quiet time in front of the fire, without the help of the television. For younger children, you could even consider buying books slightly more advanced than their current level to motivate them to improve as quickly as possible in the new year.
Another way to keep young brains engaged over the Christmas holidays is through buying puzzles, encouraging children to complete the puzzle as a team and think about the best ways of tackling the task ahead. Similarly, board games require children to think about tactics, consequences and decision-making, whilst word-related games can help to extend their vocabulary, particularly for children of a young age. Again, this is a great way to spend some quality time together as a family without turning on the TV or having heads buried in phones, computers or tablets.
This present may appear not the most exciting upon first opening, but it makes for a great stocking filler and can be the perfect way of assisting children with their homework over the holidays. It’s surprising how much motivation can be provided by new pens, pencils, case, notebooks and folder and, in addition, children will be able to use their new presents every day in school. Buying your child a diary can help them to keep track of their feelings and experiences, or even note the birthdays of friends and family, which gives them some responsibility and encourages the early development of organisation skills. Other useful presents of this nature include calculators, highlighters, post-it notes, rulers and a drawing board for revision.
Here at St Peter’s, we understand that there is more to the schooling experience than just fantastic academic results. Opening your child’s mind to new experiences and broadening their interests is of utmost importance and can be a great way of building character, as they have to commit to practise and be dedicated in order to succeed. Whether they’ve expressed an interest in anything musical or not, Christmas is a great excuse to explore potential talents for your child. Consider an instrument that is slightly easier to learn if they have no previous experience, and organising lessons for the new year can be a great way for them to get a head start.
For a slightly bigger present for your children this Christmas, tablets are a great mix of both fun games and educational apps. While there are various negatives associated with tablets in terms of screen time, the value in terms of the interactive learning environment should not be overlooked. As with many gadgets, toys and gizmos, as long as you establish time restrictions, there is no reason your child shouldn’t be able to make the most of all the benefits they can offer. You can read more about how children can make the most of technology, here.
These are just some present ideas to provide inspiration for your last-minute gift buying, so as to be sure they offer some kind of educational developmental benefits to your child. This will also ensure they make the most of their presents, and that they are not cast aside and forgotten about before the New Year!