Holiday Gift Ideas for Toddlers and Preschoolers
by Susie Beghin, RECE, Founder of Alpha’s Discovery Kids
As the holiday season approaches, parents of young children, especially those with infants and toddlers, may find themselves swept up in the whirlwind and stress of preparations, gift buying, and festivity planning. As a parent myself, I understand that we’re often tempted to rush through the holiday preparations – the shopping, the decorating, and the meal planning – and, in the process, we can sometimes forget the profound significance of being present. The act of slowing down and being fully engaged with our little ones is, perhaps, one of the most special gifts we can offer them.
At Alpha’s Discovery Kids, we’ve always emphasized the importance of presence, and understand the magic of a child’s first few years of life is irreplaceable. These are the years when their brains absorb knowledge like sponges, and their hearts open wide to the love and warmth of family. For parents of young children, it’s a chance to slow down, savor the little moments, and enjoy the glow in their children’s eyes as they discover the magic of the season.
With the constant demands of work and daily life, these special moments with our children are a gift beyond measure. Whether it’s a quiet evening by the fireplace, a snowball fight, or simply enjoying a warm cup of cocoa, focusing on the present moment and embracing the joy of togetherness creates lasting memories.
That said, for many families, the holidays are also a time for gift-giving. But it’s easy to get swept up in the latest toy trends and gadgets. Interestingly enough, it’s often not the flashiest or most expensive gift that young kids want; it’s something that engages their developing minds, encourages creativity, and fosters fun. Being mindful when buying gifts for our children can go a long way in ensuring they are gifts that keep on giving.
So, instead of scrambling to buy the latest fad, consider gifts that align with our 4 Pillars of Learning.
- Language & Literacy:
Beyond age-appropriate books, consider toys like sandpaper letters or magnetic letters that make learning the alphabet an engaging experience.
- Sandpaper Letters: These tactile tools help children connect letters with their shapes, enhancing early literacy skills.
- Magnetic Letters: Perfect for introducing young ones to the alphabet and word-building in an interactive way.
- STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math):
With a wide range of options, here are some ideas to explore:
- Science – Magnifying Glass: Spark your child’s curiosity with a tool that opens up the world of exploration.
- Technology – A Digital Microscope: An engaging combination of technology and science, allowing young minds to examine the world up close.
- Engineering – Building Blocks: Wooden building blocks are a classic toy that nurtures creativity and spatial skills.
- Arts – Art Supplies: From playdough to various types of paint and paintbrushes, these tools help children express themselves creatively.
- Math – Math Counters and Math Cubes: Fun manipulatives that make learning math concepts enjoyable.
- Physical Activity & Nutrition:
Encouraging physical activity and promoting healthy nutrition for young children is not only vital for their well-being but also a wonderful gift in itself.
- Riding Toys – These encourage physical activity (whether a bike or a riding car)
- Pretend Play Food: Encourage imaginative play and teach young ones about nutrition with pretend food sets.
You can never go wrong with gifts that encourage mindfulness.
- Be Kind Cubes: These cubes offer a fun way to teach children about kindness and empathy, important attributes that align with the pillar of mindful awareness.
- Sensory materials or tables: The materials encourage children to use their senses and evoke a sense of calm.
Remember, the best gifts for young children are those that nurture their development and foster their growth through the joy of learning through play.
Practicing mindfulness during this season is a gift we offer both to ourselves and our little ones. So, let’s take it slow, savor every moment of this season, and treasure the magic of the present with our children.