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.
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. 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!
Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Big BoxBrackitz Pulleys 77 PIece Set Educational Construction Set – Learning Toys & Building Blocks for KidsKlutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft KitThames & Kosmos Electricity and Magnetism
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 and their critical thinking.
Of course, all kids love getting toys as well. Some toys will stimulate more curiosity than others. Toys that enhance pretend play is one of the best activities for the development of curiosity, creativity, and pro-social behavior. These toys range a bit, but the one thing they have in common is that they create a setting for pretend play and imagination!
I hope you and your little curious minds have an imaginative and creative holiday!