My poor kids.  I like to give presents that are fun but that have some educational quality to them. When Connor was 12 or 13 he started asking before opening his presents was whether they were fun or were they School? I usually answered with a, “yes”. I still like giving presents that are both.

I thought I would share some of our greatest hits for fun, educational presents.

For Toddlers –

Lauri Travel Tote
We actually had two of these, one for the car and one for the classroom which only came out for blanket time for the twins. My twins loved this toy and we used it for years.

Rainbow Blocks
These blocks weren’t around for my kids but I bought them for my niece and nephew and they loved them.  I always think blocks are a good idea.
Pre-School and Early Elementary

Play Grocery Store
For K and 1st, the twins only played math games and didn’t do any formal math until they tested into 2a in Singapore (although I had them start in 1b).  They thought math was fantastic and the best thing ever.  We used a grocery store similar to this.  I put “prices” on all the food, gave them real coins and fake dollars, and printed out simple forms for them to write the prices of the food out to add and let them play.  The twins and I would play together for about 20 minutes and then they would spend 30-40 minutes playing with it on their own. They learned money, adding and subtracting and how to give change all through play.  It was great.

Coloring Playhouse
There are several versions of this.  We have had the Playhouse and the Castle.  This is the toy I would buy when I needed for the kids to be occupied for long periods of time.  Last year, I bought this for my niece and nephew for Advent and then had new markers, stickers, gingerbread men crafts every other day for all of December.  My sister told me it was a complete hit and kept her kids busy during a sick spell at their house.
Upper Elementary

Snap Circuits
If you don’t have Snap Circuits, don’t wait any longer.  We still pull these out for Elementary kids who are visiting.  We have had several different kits throughout the years.  There’s even an Arcade Game kit.

Keva Planks Contraptions
Connor rolled his eyes as he opened this toy one Christmas but within an hour the entire house, including grandparents, were playing with them.  Then I was asked why I only bought one set.  We used this to build Roman buildings, Jamestown, The Taj Mahal, the Egyptian Pyramids and a marble run that started on the kitchen counter to the kitchen table, chair and then floor. This became the toy they played with while I read Story of the World and they would build something from our reading.

Art Paper Dispenser
For my little artist, Caileigh, this art dispenser was pure gold.  Along with art supplies all in a basket, she was thrilled.  It saved some of the muss and fuss and we actually used it to make some history timelines as well.
Middle School
Little Bits
For those techie kids, Little Bits is a wonderful thing.  Connor loves these.

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction
I took the supply list in the beginning of this book and made an “Awesome Box”, as the kids call it.  We have several of these books and all the kids, their friends, their Dad, his friends and all of the men in the family love them.  They are addictive and fun.  Be warned that building can get messy and normal looking pens may explode ( just enough to startle you).
**** check out my blog on Making Christmas Memorable!

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