Do you feel a little remorse after heaping the shopping cart with “toy of the moment” stuff from the big-box stores this holiday season? Are you already envisioning a yard sale in nine months, with much of the stuff you are buying right now? Would you rather get your child some educational toys this holiday season, and find toys/experiences that will last more than a moment? How about buying a toy that will help your little wonder and not so little wonder learn?
Now that I have asked these questions, I will point you in the direction of some sage advice. Last year the folks at “Live Science” have come up a great list of toys that help children explore many science fundamentals. From toys featuring old friends and familiar product s like Miss Frizzle and “The Magic School Bus,” and Lego sets, to toys that get at chemistry through cooking and exploration through a working microscope, there are a wide range of toys in every price range. These toys offer toddlers through teens the chance to build robots, do chemistry, familiarize themselves with labs and lab equipment, and fit together gears. As you shop for your family, picture the heap of toys gathering dust and taking up space in one corner, versus some great quality toys that will go far in encouraging them, to pursue science and find real learning satisfaction. While there may some of that dusty heap, I am going to plan to offset it with quality items.
As the holidays quickly approach, does the thought of gift buying leave you uninspired? Would you like to make your holiday more meaningful with your family? Consider making presents with your children, for family and friends.
Before you accuse me of falling of my rocker, let me just say that these crafts are doable even for the un-crafty sort ( like me). Sherry Osborn’s article, “100 Homemade Gift Ideas, at the “About Home” website, offers many ideas that appeal to different sensibilities. They are sweet and often upcycled from common household items-buttons, pens, and even old cabinet doors. They make especially cute gifts for teachers, family, and friends who may have everything else already.
If crafting isn’t your thing, perhaps baking or cooking gifts for others is more appealing. The article “Exceptional Homemade Edible Gifts,” by Carroll Pellegrinelli, at the “About Food,” website, lists some mouth watering delicious treat ideas for edible gift giving. Let’s just say chocolate figures into many of the recipes that are listed. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Whether homemade crafts or homemade treats for gifts, homemade anything shows a lot of heart. Anyone can purchase a necktie, calendar, or gift card for a loved one. But these ideas and their finished product possess that lovely and special quality that the standard mall gift does not.
With working together on these projects and giving from the heart, it may just lead you back to what’s essential about the holiday season. And that is definitely another win-win!