We have entered the stage of QUESTIONS. If I am honest, we’ve been at that stage for a while now. And I am constantly stumped — why is the sky blue, but how does the touch lamp actually work, and how many volcanos are there in the world?
Thank goodness for Google. But half of the time I reply with “What do you think?” The theories kids come up with are so creative. Just thinking through the answer to these kinds of questions fosters more curiosity and critical thinking.
This holiday season I am thinking about gifts that will stimulate and satisfy the most curious minds. These gifts are aimed at ages 5 through 7.
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My son is really into robots. We got the Wonder Workshop Dash for his birthday over 6 months ago and it remains one of his favorite and most played with toy. Coding is a different way of thinking and these toys expose children to that kind of logic when they are young and their brains are primed for learning new types of languages — coding, like music, is a type of language. The great thing about Dash & Dot are the Apps and accompanying challenges your child can do. Boost is a Lego version that looks really great that has similar features. The Ozobot is so cool — you actually draw the code and write the programs with markers on paper!
Building Toys & Projects
Nothing quite captivates curious kids better than an open invitation to create and experiment. My favorite open-ended building toys are Lego, but I think we have enough fo those right now! I am thinking about the Lego Chain Reactions project book which uses some of the bricks you already have and the building block tape would be a huge hit at our house. Hands-on activities that involve planning, trial and error, and critical thinking are the most engaging. All of these are things that help stimulate kids to get started on an afternoon of strategic problem-solving!
For pre-readers, I like books with great illustrations that are interesting enough to entertain and help circumvent screen-time, which tends to go up this time of year. Each of these books is on different topics, but they have a few things in common. They can be great as read-aloud but are just as entertaining for kids to study on their own, they are full of amazing illustrations, and not only do they answer some of our kid’s questions — but even better, they stimulate more questions.
Life on Earth: Jungle: With 100 Questions and 70 Lift-flaps!Life on Earth: Human BodyFood Anatomy: The Curious Parts & Pieces of Our Edible WorldNature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural WorldExploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and BeyondAtlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe
Games are great gifts because really you are giving an experience — a fun family game night, yet it is still something you can wrap and put under the tree. These games stretch kid’s imagination, their critical thinking, and their spatial reasoning skills.
I hope you and your little curious minds have an imaginative and creative holiday!