Gift Ideas FROM Teachers

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We talked to local teachers to find out what toys and games they’d love their students to receive this holiday season.

Preschool ideas:

Playdough, Mr. Potato Head, stringing beads, Lite-Brite and scissors all help develop fine motor skills.

Building toys like Lego and Lincoln Logs are helpful for creativity as well as fine motor skills.

Snail’s Pace Race teaches color, counting and taking turns without competitiveness.

Spelling Bee Bingo reinforces letters.

CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders teach basic counting skills.

Sum Swamp teaches basic math skills.

Dice games help with recognizing patterns and counting.

*Teacher Tip! – When playing board game, have your kids follow ALL of the rules ALL of the time, and make sure to let your child lose about half the time.

*Teacher Tip! A small white board is an easy, inexpensive gift that most children love. In addition to letting your child play with it independently, keeping it close by when doing reading homework in later years can be really helpful.

Elementary ideas

Grades K-1

Hullabaloo gets little ones moving.

Uncle Wiggily for number fluency.

WOO! introduces simple addition and spelling concepts.

Coggy encourages visual-spatial skills, critical thinking and logic.

Grades 2-3

SET family card game is great for higher level thinking.

Tenzi and Slapzi encourage dexterity, quick thinking, and interaction.

Perplexus improves hand-eye coordination and spatial relations and develops motor and dexterity skills.

Rory’s Story Cubes is a creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play.

Grades 4-5

Rummikub encourages family interaction and logic.

Qwirkle encourages visual thinking and planning, strategy. A LouFamFun fave!

Blokus develops logic and spacial perception while kids learn to be tactical.

Ivan’s Hinge patterned challenge cards invite curiosity, logic, determination and refines visual spatial skills.

*Teacher Tip! Bring the classic board games back into the home. With the electronics explosion we are experiencing in our world, conversation between parents and children has been reduced tremendously. There seems to be a decline in language and vocabulary skills in the past 5-6 years that could be attributed to too much screen time. Playing a board game encourages lots of healthy dialogue! Not to mention the added benefit of learning to take turns, win and lose gracefully and think strategically.

*Reading Intervention Teacher Tip!!! Books are the best gift of all. While electronic books are awesome and easy to access, I have noticed in the past few years that some of my beginning readers struggle with turning pages, reading the left page before the right page and understanding directionality of print. Having an adult read a real book with or to a child naturally establishes these early concepts of print. It also encourages lots of rich conversation – so healthy!

Note: Amazon affiliate links were provided for visual aid. These games and toys are available at many retailers, including local independent toy stores, so be sure to check your favorite store.

By Guest Contributor: Dana


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