How to choose the right gift for your child

Most parents are buying gifts for their children in this holiday season; it is a great opportunity to give your children gifts that last throughout the year.  Choose toys that can help kids develop important skills like imagination, creativity, problem solving and confidence.   The following are some tips on what to choose for your children.

For pre-school students you might want to consider puzzles to help build children’s critical thinking and reasoning skills. Also building blocks can help in development of motor skills. To spark creativity and imagination, consider arts and crafts kits and toy musical instruments.

Elementary school-aged students are beginning to understand and use strategy and probability skills. To foster this development look for board games and educational computer games, these type of games encourage children to pay close attention and practice listening and concentration skills. Science kits, chemistry sets and telescopes help develop critical thinking skills.  Consider project-based toys such as model airplanes, ships or jewelry kits to help improve fine motor skills. Not only do these projects reinforce motor skills, but they also teach children to follow instructions, and have a project they can work on for days.

Middle and High School students may enjoy science kits which are more advanced.  Advanced science kits provide opportunity for children to experiment, be creative, and follow directions. Parents should give gifts that encourage a combination of group and individual play such as team sports like baseball or soccer and individual activities like reading, scrap booking or journal writing. Help your children improve their vocabulary skills with board games.  At this age, students may be set in their ways, so if parents want to encourage learning through play, pay close attention to their habits and hobbies. Whether it is music, reading, or painting, match toys to your children’s interests and encourage them to become the best at whatever their interests may be.

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