Gift Ideas for Kids

Christmas Gifts for Children that Inspire Creativity and Critical Thinking

We are asked all of the time for gift recommendations for children.  Well, we are glad you asked!

When you are thinking about purchasing things for children these are some tips to remember:

  1. Less is more.  Children are overwhelmed with so much these days and they really don’t need a lot of “stuff” to be happy.  Always choose to spend a little more on quality gifts rather than striving for quantity.  Plus, you will thank us at clean-up time! 
  2. Think materials NOT toys.  Materials are open-ended.  They have no right or wrong answer and there is no one way to use them so they meet children’s changing interests and developmental needs as they grow.
  3. No batteries. Kids are wired to create, tinker, and problem solve.  They need to spend their time working with materials that allow them to grow their brains and try out their ideas!  
  4. Choose items that will inspire creativity.  Music instruments, art materials, animal figures, people figures, dolls, and items that support imaginative play are always great choices!  
  5. Pick things that extend critical thinking.   Puzzles, builders that connect, and board games will do wonders for your child’s critical thinking development.   And, BONUS!, they also have the added benefit of nurturing family time since they can be enjoyed alone or with others! 

PRO TIP:  Whenever possible buy things for your children that are not promoted by commercial characters.  These companies primarily exist to make money off of children and rarely offer quality products that have any real benefit for them.  Are they all bad?  No.  Are they necessary?  Not a bit.   Are there better options?  For sure!  Besides, there is something wonderful (and a lot that is important) about young children being who they are rather than trying to be a random princess or comic book hero.

Here are a few gift ideas to help get you started (Affiliate links included. They do not change the price of the item for you, but do benefit the school):

Wooden Blocks

Building with blocks enhances children’s problem-solving abilities, mathematical thinking skills, scientific exploration, as well as language and literacy. We love these specific blocks, however, there are so many great wooden blocks sets available.   

Porcelain Tea Set

There’s something about owning and being responsible for something delicate and breakable. A porcelain tea set can be used for children to play with each other, a tea party for stuffed animals, water play, and more. 

Wooden Horse Barn

This set is great for two children to play together or for independent play. You’d be surprised how this barn and fence can be used during play with other characters and favorite toys as well as with the horses. 


Fairy Land Set

Another sweet item for imaginary play, but this one can also be set up outdoors. Set it up under a tree, in a flowerpot, or on the back porch. Moving and arranging these small items is part of the fun too.  



Wooden Marble Run

Given space and time, children move deep into their play. This marble run gives children the opportunity to explore math and science concepts. Follow the directions that come with it to build different runs or even better, don’t use the directions at all and let your child guide the construction. 



From capes and baby doll blankets to fort walls and dancing butterfly wings, these silks can be ANYTHING and are so magical. 



These specific Knex are a great building tool for Primary aged children (Grades 1-3). We recommend letting your child build and create with them however they like instead of following specific directions. 


Baby Doll

These baby dolls are some of our favorites! This brand offers many varieties and characteristics. 

Do you have any other open-ended gifts that you’d recommend for children? 

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