10 Timeless Gifts for Kids


Two big plastic bins of Legos have survived in our home for 30 years, dozens of kids, and random household purges. They were one of the few ‘toys’ I gave the grandparents when they asked for the kids’ Christmas lists, given among the requests for binoculars, tool kits, and tractor inner tubes—now those are real genius gifts that lasted years past the remote control cars!

First thing the boys did when they got the complicated Lego space station or pirate castle was to empty all the pieces into the bins, lose the directions, and liberate themselves to the thousand permutations of airplanes and rocket ships. They held car crash contests, built cities, boats, the Great Wall where wars commenced and lasted for days.

Lego-blocksToday grandson Finn dips his hands deep into the box and smiles. He feels rich with the sheer abundance of these iconic little bricks. Finn busies himself building airplanes, and you can almost hear the brain cells multiply as he concentrates.

Legos are a gift that have lasted in our home for decades, and that is why I am putting them at the top of the list. They even make pink Legos for budding engineers attracted to all things girly.

The following ideas are quirky, open ended, and in no particular order. They may not bring the gasp of greedy joy that a plastic whiz-bang does, but they will last long past the holiday season and give the deep satisfaction of a gift that keeps on giving. Even 30 years later.

What are some of your best gifts your child has received? Parents want to know!

1. Legos31WuONoKJHL._SY450_
2. Chalkboard placemats: Kids can draw, practice numbers and letters, write the menu, or doodle as they wait for dinner!
3. Metal lock box and key for protecting treasures
4. Hopscotch play mat: The panels fit together and can be used indoors or outside. A great kinesthetic way to work and play with numbers
20473_zoom15. Hand Trux: Turn little human hands into massive diggers!
6. Alphabet Stamps and stamp pad:artbox
7. Art Supply box: put together a plastic bin with uncommon art supplies: paper punch, glue sticks, Bingo markers, googly eyes, glue, tracing paper, construction paper, lots and lots of TAPE—transparent, duct, and masking—unusual stamps and colorful stamp pads, popsicle sticks, old buttons, a roll of calculator paper, pastels. A good opportunity to clean out your desk!
8. Ukelele: an easy to play instrument that opens the world of self-made music, and we all could use the ability to make our own music through life! The Makala Dolphin Soprano ukelele come in a variety of colors, and has gotten consistently great reviews
9. Give your child the gift of stories! www.brainpickings.org is one of my favorite websites ever for inspiration and thought provoking ideas through literature and art. Their choices for the best children’s books of 2014 are fantastic. The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo, and my personal favorite: Wild by Emily Hughes. Check out the reviews here and preview the books
10. 20232_zoom1-1More music for the curious and scientific: a mechanical music box!



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