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Educational Christmas Gifts for Children

“What do we get them this year?” It’s a question that goes through the minds of many a parent at Christmastime. The enigma of gift giving for children becomes even more challenging for homeschoolers who wish to bequeath presents that will be useful and worthwhile even once the Christmas glow has dimmed. And while that new English curriculum might be what a homeschooling mother would enjoy seeing under the tree, her children might not be quite so excited. So what’s a conscientious homeschooling parent to do? Where do homeschoolers go to find gifts that are educational in nature, but that children will also enjoy?

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There are many options online for finding the perfect gift for kids – choices that promote learning, while also exciting children at the same time. By shopping from the computer rather than in a store, homeschoolers have many more options available to them, and can individualize gifts for each child’s interests and desires, without sacrificing the element of education. Check out these websites and suggestions for gifts that incorporate both fun and learning this Christmas:

  • Timberdoodle – This homeschool resource includes not only gifts for children, but homeschool curricula, special needs resources, and more. Some great options for gifts from this site include:
    • Stop Motion Animation Kit – Kids learn moviemaking with this unique kit! Includes an instruction book on stop animation movie making, a CD of sound effects, software, camera, and even a sample movie! Perfect for older children and highschoolers.
    • Stick-EZY Letters – Even the youngest children can have fun learning the alphabet with these letters, which stick to almost anything.
    • Magnetic Marvels – Includes 32 activities that explore magnetism, including one in which magnetic putty “eats” a neodymium magnet.
  • Mindware – This excellent website has “brainy toys for kids of all ages”. Shop by age or category. On this site you’ll find:
    • 4-in-1 Cool Tool Workshop – This working tool set allows young carpenters ages 8 and up to safely make projects using a combination drill press, jigsaw, sander, and lathe.
    • 3-D Home Kit – Future architects can design their dream home by creating floor plans, experimenting with home layouts, and then building a 3-D model of their project with these kits.
    • Recycled Robot Kits – Children can make robots out of recycled items such as a soda can, brush, or plastic bottles.
  • Young Explorers – On this site you can search by age (from 0-tweens) or by department, such as “boys best sellers” and “classic toys”. Features a wonderful category on award-winning toys. Consider these educational gift ideas from Young Explorers:
    • Visible V-8 Engine – Children can learn all about mechanics by building this award-winning ¼ size engine that actually works when the crank is turned.
    • Fashion Design Studio – Future designers can create their own fashions with fabric, sewing essentials, mannequin, and everything needed for making clothing for 9-12” fashion dolls.
    • Ultimate Mission Spy Case – Kids learn problem solving skills and how to look for details with this awesome spy kit, which includes night beam binoculars, wrist motion sensor, time stamp, secret message capsules, glow-in-the-dark powder, an ultraviolet light for lifting fingerprints, and more!
  • Fat Brain Toys – This site stocks of 6,000 products, specializing in “the best, safest, and highest quality toys”. Features a “gift wizard”, which allows you to search by the recipient’s interest, age range, or gender, or by the toy’s price range or country of origin.
  • Learning Express – This website specializes in gifts for children 12 and under. Some ideas:
  • Toys to Grow On – Advertised as “the online toy store for developing minds”, this site has lots of educational and fun options for all ages.
Rebecca Capuano

Rebecca Capuano is the stay-at-home mom of three children (one of whom is in heaven) who also makes attempts at being a homeschooler, writer, photographer, scrapbooker, and truth-seeker. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from East Carolina University, and has worked in a variety of capacities (including group homes, day treatment centers, and public schools) with at-risk children and staff, including developing a therapeutic and educational day treatment center for delinquent youth in Wilmington, North Carolina. She currently resides in Virginia, and has written on a variety of topics for both Examiner.com and Home Educators Association of Virginia. Rebecca believes that family is created by God as the most fundamental institution in society, and she is dedicated to helping families nurture their children to become responsible persons of character and integrity. In addition to reading her posts at TheHomeSchoolMom, you can follow her search for truth (and blunders along the way) in family, faith and culture by visiting her blog, seeluminosity.com.

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Comments

  1. Karen Bruns

    Dear all you very intelligent home school warriors out there I have a question or more so in need of some advice. My son has attended a very challenging academic Catholic private school from pre-school until 7th grade. During this last years Christmas time he completely fell apart mentally with extreme anxiety and depression. His grades in most of the core classes dropped severely during the fall semester. He was put on medication and it just made things worse. We were patiently waiting for a psychatrist to see him and put him on the proper medications. He missed so much school due to not going to school that the principal felt it would be best if he would be either be home schooled or do a on-line program. She suggested Connects, ORKA. Due to all the issues with my son I no longer work out side the home. The plan is to have him get caught up for this semester and then return to school next fall. We probably will choose a different private school. Any thoughts on which route would be best for our family, online or home schooling? There isn’t been a lot of support thus far on helping us out. At this point he is still to fragile to go back into a classroom, but that is the goal of the psychiatrist and my son. I would appreciate any feed back that any one would share with us. Also, I was told that the law in Oregon would support is absence due to a medical issue and that he will be able to make up this semester online and continue onto 8th grade. If anyone knows if this isn’t accurate would you also please send me some info. or contact source. Thank you, Karen

    • Dana Burley

      I have had a similar situation with a daughter, age 17. First, check with HSLDA.org regarding laws in your state. I am not sure how this feedback gets to you, but would like to try to help. My experience is, NOT an online curriculum, but, also, it is not my plan for her to return to the private school. My daughter’s health was way more important than pushing her through the grades, on some timeline. (She is 17). There are other supports in place: weekly counseling sessions, community groups (Bible study, etc), and homeschool support groups. Have you found one in your area? Do you have more specific questions? the LORD be with you,Dana

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