Christmas is around the corner again, so I’ve been doing some online window shopping for educational Christmas gift ideas. Of course, they also have to be cool gifts – as in, the kind of gifts I would love to receive myself. Here’s what I found…
The Coding Educational Gift List
Okay, I obsess a little about coding because coding is like the new “R”. We talk about Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetics being part of the essential foundations for every child. Now, we should probably also add ‘Rogramming and make it the 4 R’s.
Bloxels Star Wars caught my eye because, well, it’s Star Wars! And because I’d seen something similar somewhere. Kids can build and design their own games using the gameboard then test them and play them on the free app. They also have a Bloxels Original if Star Wars is not your thing.
Age Suggestion: 8 to 13 years.
How it works:
- Build your game art, rooms and characters with a gameboard and 320 colorful blocks.
- Bring your designs to life using the in-app camera. Snap a photo of your creation and upload it to the free Bloxels Builder app.
- Go from blocks to “bloxels,” and play! Once you digitize your creations, you can test your game and edit it within the free app, then get ready to play!
Age Suggestion: 8 years and up.
I was pretty impressed with littleBits when I first heard about them. Using them to re-create R2D2 from Star Wars? Take my money already!
littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit allows kids to create their own Droid and bring it to life using littleBits electronic blocks. Using the free Droid Inventor app, they can control their Droid, give it new abilities with easy block-based coding, and take it on over 22 missions.
Age Suggestion: 5 to 8 years.
Botley is for the younger kids. I like it because it’s a cool way to teach the concepts of coding without relying on a screen. These days, it’s hard to find the balance with screens, especially for the little ones. Anything that manages to do teach young kids vital skills without having to fall back to a screen has my tick of approval.
The other thing I really like about Botley is the hidden features that kids need to figure out to unlock for themselves. We have loads of toys that tell kids exactly what to do and how to do it. It’s refreshing to have a toy that encourages kids to figure out for themselves what they need to do.
Age Suggestion: 8 years and up.
Code Master had me at “boardgame”. I’ve written before about the benefits of playing board games and I’m always on the lookout for board games that are also educational because I’m kiasu like that. I like to kill lots of birds with one stone (see, kiasu – two birds are not enough).
I also like it because it’s created by ThinkFun. They have created some pretty cool puzzles games that we have enjoyed playing with in the past. If you like this, then you should also check out Hacker Cybersecurity – also by ThinkFun.
Age Suggestion: 7 to 12 years.
Just because we’ve always loved LEGO and feel it offers many benefits to children’s development. The LEGO Boost Creative Toolbox looks somewhat reminiscent of the LEGO Mindstorms but updated to offer even more features and options for creative innovations.
A couple of years ago, there was a study that found experiential gifts to be better than materials ones. The incidences where materials gifts were equally as potent were when those material gifts were tied to experiences. For instance, the gift of a guitar that the receiver is able to enjoy through music creation.
Subscription boxes are one way to gift wrap experiences…
Age Suggestion: 6 to 12 years.
How does it work?
Every month, your child will receive a Bitsbox (in sequence) that explores a new computer science concept through kid-friendly themes. These are the first four kits:
- Box 1 – Coordinates & Basic Commands. Level 1 introduces 2D coordinates and Bitsbox’s Stamp, Fill, and Text commands. Includes a Welcome card, an “Apper Keeper” binder, 12 animal-themed app projects, stickers, and a Level 1 Grownup Guide.
- Box 2 – Variables & Simple Methods. Level 2 teaches variables and Bitsbox’s Move, Rotate, and Size commands. Includes dividers for your “Apper Keeper” binder, 13 robot-themed app projects, progress stickers, and a Level 2 Grownup Guide.
- Box 3 – Conditionals & Interactions. Level 3 highlights conditional statements and Bitsbox’s Tap and Drag functions. Includes 11 fantasy-themed app projects, progress stickers, and a Level 3 Grownup Guide.
- Box 4 – Functions & Timing Commands. Level 4 demonstrates the concept of custom functions and Bitsbox’s Repeat, Delay, and .tap commands. Includes 9 flight-themed app projects, progress stickers, and a Level 4 Grownup Guide.
Age Suggestion: 6 to 10 years.
Send your kids on a virtual tour around the world with the Little Passports Subscription Box. Each month, they will discover a new country with new cultures through hands-on activities.
Age Suggestion: 4 to 14 years and up.
Raddish – Kids Cooking Subscription Box provides monthly themed cooking lessons that teach kids a vital life skill – how to prepare and experience new foods. What I really like most about this kit is that it gives children the experience of cooking in their own kitchen, using their own equipment.
What you receive with each kit:
- 3 Illustrated, step-by-step Laminated Recipe Guides
- Collectible Apron Patch
- Conversation Starter Cards
- Quality Kitchen Tool
- Complete Grocery List
- Online Bonus Materials: dietary modifications, playlists, and lesson plans
Melscience offers some of the best science kits we’ve ever worked with. In these kits, you will find all the equipment and reagents you require to run the experiment (minus the usual household stuff, such as milk, tea, cola, etc.)
These were a couple of the experiments we did. We received one kit a month. Each kit contains two to three experiments with enough reagents to repeat each experiment twice):
Check out what other experiments you will get to perform.
I like Melscience because the experiments they send are not the ordinary run-of-the-mill simple science experiments that we were already doing on our own.
The Creative Educational Gift List
Art Therapy has been said to be beneficial for our well-being. If you examine the activities that help us flourish in life, many of them are creative/artistic by nature. In an era where well-being is often threatened, I also like gift ideas that promote well-being.
Age Suggestion: 7 to 15 years.
I confess that I have a fascination with the Rube Goldberg machines. Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science and Building Kit provides a variety of simple materials that allow kids to create their own mini Rube Goldberg machine.
Art and Craft Kits
Jewellery Making Kit – when G1 as younger, he went through a phase where he really enjoyed making his own jewellery. His aunt bought him a jewellery making kit for his birthday and he put it to great use making gifts for friends and family members.
T-shirt Design Kit – Put together some fabric art materials and let your child come up with his own creative designs. You can bundle fabric markers, puff paints, tie-dye colours, beads and sequins, and iron-on appliques with a few plain t-shirts to create your own kit.
More from Amazon:
For more educational gift ideas, do visit these past posts:
- Fun Educational Gift Ideas
- Thinking Games to Challenge the Mind
- 10 Cool Thinking Games and Brain Toys
- Osmo – Where Screen and Physical Play Meet
- Little Bits – Legos for the iPad Generation
- Educational Jigsaw Puzzles