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Instead of just giving a gift for a birthday or holiday’s or fill a basket with candy, give an experience. Use what your child is interested in and give them some books to encourage their interest and then give them an experience to go with it. I want to share a few examples of some experiences you can give.
Underwater – Fish Experience
Do you have a kiddo that loves fish, sharks, star fish or anything having to do with underwater life? You may have a marine professional on your hands. Maybe they will become a marine biologist or an oceanographer or even an ocean engineer. Let them have an aquarium such as GloFish 29045 Aquarium Kit with Blue LED light and they can learn how to take care of fish and learn about the different types of fish. Maybe some snorkeling gear such as the Speedo Kids’ Aqua Quest Mask/Snorkel/Fin Set and snorkeling lessons so they can look at the local fish. Of course maybe a season pass to the aquarium with some behind the scene tours is in order.
Then of course grabbing some great books that can help them learn all about animals and plants that live underwater such as the First Encyclopedia of Seas & Oceans. Which not only provides a lot of great information but also includes a link to a website with additional information. This encyclopedia includes information about animals, plants, effects of weather and more. Are you traveling and looking for an activity book? Check out the Under the Sea Jigsaw Book as a great book to take on vacation with you.
Does your child want to help you in the kitchen? Do they love to watch the Food Network or Cooking Channel? Maybe you have the next Chopped Junior Champion, Kids Baking Champion or MasterChef Junior. If they love to cook … LET THEM 🙂 you might not have to cook dinner all the time. The next time they have a bake sale at school or it is your turn to bring snacks, you might be off the hook. So let them start as a toddler, consider a kitchen helper/step stool like the one pictured from ToddlerInFamily for them, they can safely help you in the kitchen. On the plus side it doubles as a toddler size table for eating or doing activities on. We got this one and it is well worth the investment. Munchkin loves to climb, eat meals at and just generally play on it (or under it).
Next get them an apron (“Little Chef” Kid’s 3-Piece Apron Set) and appropriate sized kitchen tools (Silicone Kitchen Utensils Colorful 10 Pieces, Nonstick Cookware Colored Kitchen Utensil set) for them to use. Also, maybe look into some cooking classes in your area to help them learn new techniques.
Next get them some great books to answer questions for them and to learn from. Start them out where their food comes from Book of Growing Food, this book talks about how food grows and knowing where the food they cook with comes from it can help. Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers about Food is great especially for toddlers, this is a fun way to introduce knowledge about food. Start to Cook is such a great starting out cookbook that includes food safety information, easy to follow recipes with great pictures and a great allergy index. This is definitely an experience that can have great benefits for you.
Does your child ALWAYS seem to have paper and some drawing tool always at hand? They can’t leave home without their supplies, maybe they love to stare at art when you go out? You may have an artist on your hands and that can be fun. Give the gift of some art classes and a season pass to the art museum. Find out what their favorite art medium is and find some quality supplies at your local art store.
Then find some great books to teach about techniques and the different artist so they can learn what they like and what they want to do. A couple of great options are Art Treasury which includes projects for them to do based on different methods or ideas. Children’s Book of Art is a great book to introduce them to the different artists throughout the ages. If you have a pre-school or kindergarten aged artist consider Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers about Art. This book is interactive with all the flaps and covers topics as basic as mixing colors which is good for the younger kids.
Computer – Coding Experience
Does your child love to play games on computers? Or maybe they love to take them apart to figure out how they work? With as much technology as we use in this day in age, this can be a good thing. This does not mean however that they need to spend ALL their time on the computer. There are many activities out there that can help them be involved in things that are computer related but get them out of the house or up and moving. There are robot clubs and battle bot competitions.
So get your child involved in a club where they can learn new skills and team work, find out if there are any battle bot competitions near you that you can get them tickets to. There are even board games like Think Fun Robot Turtles STEM Toy and Coding Board Game for Preschoolers that can help teach programming principles in a fun way without being on a computer. Think Fun Circuit Maze Electric Current Logic Game is another one to look into for fun away from the computer.
Then to help with more knowledge check out a few of these fun books that help with computer and coding such as Lift-the-Flap Computers and Coding that explain how computers work and the basics of coding in general. There are different types of programming languages so you want to pick appropriate books. Coding for Beginners Using Scratch is a good one for elementary age kids since this is a commonly used one in elementary schools. There is also Coding for Beginners Using Python which is another very common programming language.
Experiences go a LONG way
By giving them an experience you are giving them something that will stay with them for life. You never know what experience might lead to a lifelong passion. Kids take in a lot and are like sponges and suck up knowledge and the world around them so use that to your advantage.
Here are a few images that show some other suggestions.