With all the whiz bang technology out there, it’s pretty hard to not be distracted by all the flashing lights, buttons, touch screens and so on that are integrated into the latest children’s toys.
And who is to say these toys aren’t fantastic? They’re in line with today’s world and they can be a fantastic learning tool.
But as I’ve been perusing catalogue after catalogue for Christmas presents this year, I’ve been reliving the toys I had a child, and you know what? They are still awesome.
So I’m giving you a moment to relive the classics and consider them as a gift for Christmas this year. Because the learning benefits in these toys are just as amazing, if not more, as today’s educational gadget.
5 classic toys that make perfect Christmas gifts
Yes, that’s right. Balls. Every colour, size, shape and material that you can imagine. My little guy has been playing with an array of balls since he was born. He started with a soft soccer ball and worked his way up. By 12 months he could roll it, chase it and pop it up over his head and bounce it.
As a teacher, I’ve come across many children who have great difficulty perfecting the art of throwing and catching. Why? Because they haven’t practised! Playing with balls increases hand-eye coordination, improves motor skills, gets children active and outside!
When I was little my parents gave me a hula hoop for my birthday. It was pink and I thought it was extra special because it was bendy and I could twist it into an ‘8’’. I moved my hips like anything. It went round and round as I counted.
Not only that, but I perfected using the hula hoop around my arms, neck and ankles. I don’t remember ever getting bored! Another one that’s fantastic for coordination and getting kids moving!
I can hear you thinking ‘as IF my child can sit long enough to do a jigsaw puzzle!’. They can, and they will. I’ve seen the most reluctant learner get so obsessed by completing a jigsaw puzzle that I’ve had to corner it off in the classroom with a “do not touch” sign.
Why? Because it’s a jigsaw based around their interests. Your child is in love with trucks? Get them a truck jigsaw! Maybe dinosaurs or fairies are their latest thing, so get them a jigsaw puzzle of either of those! Just make sure it’s not too easy or too hard.
There are so many out there and, like jigsaw puzzles, you can usually find one to suit your child’s interest, and therefore hold their attention. They are great for a rainy day, or maybe a time when you realise the TV has been on a little too long.
They’re so portable too. If you’re going on a holiday with children, take them just in case you get stuck inside with some cranky, bored kiddies!
I have never met a child who doesn’t like roleplay. And if they’re not keen on getting dressed up, then they are more than happy to be hiding behind a table with a sheet over it, playing with puppets!
You can inspire children with the smallest of prompts – ‘What about acting out your favourite book?’, ‘Let’s pretend we are making a new friend!’ or ‘So we are having a problem sharing and need to solve it? Let’s act it out’. See the learning here? It’s mammoth, and it’s fun too.