My husband and I have done our best to buy toys for our grandson Eli, age 4, since the day he was born. We buy toys that will spark his curiosity, challenge his mind and prompt him to love learning. The more he learns, the more fun we have, and the more fun we have, the more Eli learns. That’s what I call a win-win!
With Christmas not far away, you may be wondering what gifts will spark the joy of learning in the children and grandchildren in your life this holiday season. Eli and I had fun coming up with the following gift guide for kids ages 3 to 7 — toys that are really fun to play with, and that educate too. (For your convenience, I have posted pictures and resources for each of these toys at EverydayCheapskate.com/kidgifts).
SCHLEICH ANIMALS: Made of solid soft plastic, these animals are incredibly detailed and beautifully made. These animals are so lifelike, yet designed for small hands and rough play. The attention to detail is exceeded only by the reasonable price point. With each addition to his collection, Eli learns all about that particular animal’s natural habitat, what it eats, how it raises its babies plus a few fun, if not silly, facts. Check out the entire collection to see just how beautiful these animals are.
LeapPAD: This adorable learning tablet from the folks at LeapFrog is like candy to a kid who loves to learn and is not intimidated by electronics. Eli received a LeapPad 2 for his birthday and what a great toy it is with five apps included and 4GB for limitless learning fun!
ART DESK AND CHAIR: This sturdy art desk and cute matching chair is just packed with cool features. It has a large work surface. The hinged desktop compartment doubles as a white board. There are two large storage compartments on the sides for coloring books and paper and plenty of room to store markers, paints, crayons and pencils. The push-button battery-operated task light is an unexpected fun feature. Requires assembly but don’t worry, it’s easy.
RAZOR (A KICK SCOOTER): This kick scooter is just the best ride for beginners. We love the way it gets a kid onto wheels without the experience being too scary. And storage is a cinch because this scooter folds up to fit into a handy bag.
CASH REGISTER: Eli and I spend endless hours playing zoo, toy store, mall and grocery store. And what better way to learn about money and math than with a great cash register? The Learning Resources Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register is quite lifelike, comes with a good supply of pretend money (the credit card for ours has mysteriously disappeared). It is solar-powered with LCD display.
USA MAP PUZZLE: This beautiful wooden puzzle map is so much fun and for the younger set, somewhat challenging. But that’s a good stretch for a young mind! And once the placement comes easy, you can add the capital city and other facts for each state.
Would you like to send a tip to Mary? You can email her at mary@everyday cheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. Include your first and last name and state. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 23 books, including her 2012 release, “7 Money Rules for Life.” You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2099, Cypress, CA 90630. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.