Brain Boosters: Give Non-Toy Educational Gifts This Year {2018 Gift Guide}

During the Holiday season, parents often get carried away indulging their children’s wishes and desires for getting the latest video game

or hot toy. But if your budget allows it or if there are family members who will be also purchasing items for the kids, you may want to consider picking up

something for them that will enrich their education and schooling.  Here are 12 gift ideas to consider that could amplify or supplement every subject your child may be learning about in school:

Social Studies: A Globe – Having a globe in the home is an excellent way to teach your children that the world does not consist of the narrow confines of their town or block.  After they receive their new globe, at least once a week, have them spin the globe, cover their eyes and point to a random location. Then head off to Google more about that location, its climate, topography, culture and traditions. It’s a great way to instill a value and interest in travel and keep them focused on doing what they need to do to travel on their own to exotic locations some day.

Try this Amazon best seller, an illuminated 8″ World Globe for Kids with Standd  with build in LED for a Night View ($29) and Colorful, Easy-Read Labels of Continents, Countries, Capitals & Natural Wonders ($30)

Science: A Microscope – Getting a child an age-appropriate microscope is a great way for them to explore the basic molecular elements of various household items.  They can use it to check out everything from a carpet fiber, to a dead beetle to their own eyelash. One of the fastest, if not the fastest, growing job sector is science, technology, engineering and math.  Owning a microscope could enhance an interest in the science field, which will ultimately mean more job prospects for the future.

Amscopes’ 48-piece beginner biological microscope kit offers 120X, 240X, 300X, 480X, 600X and 1200X magnifications and is a better grade than the toy scopes but less costly than professional grade ones. It’s down from $61 to $30 on its website.

Physical Education: A Ball or Bike – One of the reason there is a childhood obesity epidemic in the United States and other regions of

the world is that in this digital age, children spend most of their spare time playing video games or watching TV indoors. Something like a bat and ball,

basketball or bike will give you as a parent and the kid an opportunity to get out and get moving. A gift that encourages physical activity could help combat or delay the onset of childhood obesity.

For a younger child Strider’s 12 sport balance bike is great for an 18 month to 5-year old. ($107) For kids up to 9 years old, try Royalbaby RB14B-6B BMX Freestyle Kids Bike ($93+)

Math:  A math App or annual subscription to an online math enrichment program – If you have an iPad, iPhone, Android phone or

desktop or Library access to a computer, you can find apps or other online programs that are tutorials and created to help children improve their math

skills. Many programs around now include fun games that help kids learn while enjoying their experience. If it’s not so much like school and similar to fun games they already play, you may get them hooked!

For younger kids, I like ABC Mouse for younger kids which right now is $59.95 for a year, a savings of close to half off for the Holiday season and when they got older, we purchased and use and love IXL math for up to 12th grade to keep our kids ahead of the class. It is $13.95 but well worth the investment in a child!

Reading: Books – It is said that each child should have a library consisting of 1,000 books in their bookshelves. These days, some parents are more likely to amass a large collection of DVDs and movies for their kids than books. However, reading teaches children about comprehension and helps them in reading  composition later in life. Also, their vocabulary and grasp of terms and complex concepts improve the more they read.  You can even get  them those silly Diary of a Wimpy Kid or BigNate  comic books, but make sure you try to find a book series with chapters in it too.

I recommend investing in a subscription service like  Epic! and get access to thousands of books each month for $7.99

Art  The often forgotten about part of STEAM education is the Arts. Stimulate a budding artists mind by investing in some pencils, charcoals, and a sketch pad and/or easel so they can create.

For your younger artist, I like Paw Patrol’s Carry Along Art Case ($11)

Music Music education is disappearing from schools as states deal with budget deficits and music lessons can be expensive. Fortunately, there are online programs and apps for free and low cost that can  help guide a child interested in learning an instrument. Invest in an instrument for the Holidays. We rent to owned instruments at the largest US retailer for musical instruments, Music & Arts.

For your singing Nightingales, let them explore their singing skills and have fun with everyone Lucky Voice Blue Mic Karaoke Kit ($80).

Christmas, Hannukah, Ramadaan or whatever holiday celebrated in December can be educational and include gifts that will help better your child in school. And they can be loads of fun too!

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