Kate’s Corner
Dec 04 2015

  That Time of Year…

Each year I am asked for gift ideas for young children.
While this is not a promotion for a specific toy, label or manufacturer, here are my suggestions:


Babies love picture books that are vinyl, heavy cardboard or cloth -washable. Infant books should be small enough to be held in little hands, have texture and simple pictures. If there is sound in the book be careful of batteries.

Toddlers like books with bright pictures, labels and story text with high interest themes; animals, vehicles, family…
Look for rhyming books and personal stories i.e. pets, gardens, new baby..                                                     Consider board books and vinyl for young tods.  Make sure books user friendly for small hands and sticky fingers.

Preschool readers are learning letter names, sounds and words – reading is very personal and very big. They like related stories i.e. Clifford, fairy tales, specific authors, current interests i.e. Spiderman, books in different sizes and books that rhyme. Preschoolers still love bright, colorful illustrations and books that have different textures and sounds.  Find books that are about children who are 4 years old.

Music and Dancing

Children of all ages have music preferences and older children are dancers!  Bring these in as special gifts; a favorite c.d, musical instruments, favorite movie or artist, concert tickets or dance lessons.  Find out what favorite songs are parts of your child’s classroom.  they will love to have this music at home too ~~ they will teach you the songs and their favorite dance moves.

Outside toys

Get out & play with shovels, pails, sleds, saucers, snow boards and all of the gear that goes with them.

Snow pants, boots, a big fuzzy scarf, fun hats and crazy mitts, helmets and snow goggles are great gifts.

A personalized fancy mug, box of hot chocolate and bag of marshmallows are fun.  How about a fancy blanket or throw to be cozy in when a little one comes in?

Footballs, basketballs, Frisbees, jump ropes, stompers and hockey pucks are not just for spring!

Inside toys
Consider what your children already have in the house before buying another toy that will add to the clutter and chaos of toy bins and toy corners in every house.

Blocks are classic – look for blocks that you don’t have, buy animals, vehicles, ramps and small people to create new ways to play. Look for everything from Constructs to Legos to Bristle Blocks ~ watch for recommended ages because of choking hazards for little ones.
Stack sets, puzzles, peg boards, lacing cards, magnets, science kits, children’s kitchen & cooking sets,  shape sorters, dress up clothes, props & organizers, puppets, posters, and musical instruments are always hits.

New dolls or stuffed animals are great for all ages.  If your child has a favorite doll, consider doll clothes, a highchair, crib… if there are many trucks and cars already, how about a garage, airport, ramp or store for them.

Begin to play simple games with toddlers; sort colors and simple shapes.  Build to preschool games of memory, bingo and games that require turn taking and following instructions.
Look for games that don’t have batteries, are simple to complex, easy to follow and will hold your child’s current interests.   Keep pieces, board and instructions together.  Play with them.

Children need to start board games by being quickly successful i.e. if a Memory game  has 20 matches (40 pieces) eliminate 10 of the matches so you only play with 20 pieces at a time, eliminate more matches for younger children and add matches as they become interested and successful.

Arts, crafts and supplies
Children (and adults) love new crayons and markers.  Gifts of “school supplies” are wonderful – pencils, pens, colored pens, erasers, dry erase boards and markers, rulers, staplers, scissors, paper of all kinds, bulletin board for a bedroom, Dollar Store teacher supplies, a planner, posters, colored folders, boarders, stickers, labels, alphabet and number lines, calendar, pencil cases, bins and books for the class.
Craft supplies- colored construction paper, felt, yarn, google eyes, glue and glitter, play dough and cut outs, pipe cleaners, stencils, fake money, stickers and the organizers to go with them.

Special Day Coupons                                                                                                                                                     No matter how old the child is, give them the gift of your time.  A membership to the Zoo, Explore & More Children’s Museum, Theatre of Youth tickets, the Art Gallery, High School, College or Pro Sports Days or a special community activity is an excellent gift for young children – but only if you go too.  Dress up the coupon with a book, hat, poster, small toy ~ anything that matches the special day.

But when all is said and done and gifts are given and received, children will play with the boxes, bows and ribbons.   You know it’s true!