“What do we get them this year?” It’s a question that goes through the minds of many a parent at Christmastime and on birthdays. 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 or the birthday cake is long gone. 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?
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.
Fun Educational Gifts for Kids
Check out these websites and suggestions for gifts that incorporate both fun and learning:
- 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! This very cool kit is a complete introduction to stop-motion and film making. With over 290 pages of step-by-step tutorials and hundreds of illustrations, your child will learn how to write screenplays and draw storyboards; how to make a character walk, run, or talk; and finally, how to edit scenes and add voices and sound effects. The Stopmotion Explosion Kit 2.0 comes with a 1920 x 1080 resolution camera that connects to your computer for remote shutter, onion skinning, and easy upload, with an internal microphone for sound recording. Perfect for older children and highschoolers. (A less expensive alternative is to use online tutorials and put together a kit of modeling clay/dough, animal and people figurines, and other inexpensive props as a gift.)
- Wikki Stix Alphabet – Even the youngest children can have fun learning the alphabet with these Wikki Stix to make letters. Wikki Stix Alphabet will not only help your child study the mechanics of letter making but will also introduce him to some rudimentary letter/object correlations. Wikki Stix comes with letter cards for guided practice.
- 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.
- 2-D Quick Home Planner – Use the architect-created Home Quick Planner to design floor plans and then experiment with layouts by rearranging symbols that represent the walls, fixtures, furniture and appliances in your dream home. Home Quick Planner includes 700 precut, 1/4-inch scale, reusable peel and stick furniture and architectural symbols for every room in the house including living room, dining room, kitchen, den and bedroom furniture, kitchen cabinets and appliances, an extensive assortment of bathroom fixtures, windows, doors, walls, lights, outlets and switches plus a 5,600 square-foot floor plan grid.
- 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.
- Top Secret Mission Spy Case – Kids learn problem solving skills and how to look for details with this awesome spy kit, which includes a compact listening device with highly sensitive mic to amplify distant sounds, pocket-sized sound recorder to make secret recordings, handheld tele-microscope with powerful magnifications, and spy power watch for time-sensitive missions, all in a handy attaché.
- 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.
- Discovery Channel Store – This store gets its origin from the t.v. channel by the same name.
- Learning Express – This website specializes in gifts for children 12 and under.