The holiday shopping season is here! Below are some of my top picks for children this year. Every item listed helps to promote literacy!
1. Word on the Street Junior
Out of the Box graciously sent me a requested copy of Word on the Street Junior to review. I was immediately impressed with the game after playing it one time. Players are divided into teams which helps to promote cooperation, negotiating, and group decision-making. Each team takes turns selecting a category card (examples: another word for big or, something that is folded ). The team brainstorms words that would fit into the category and then decides on a word to play. They then spell out the word pulling each letter a lane closer to the edge of the game board. The first team to pull eight letters off the board wins. The game promotes vocabulary development, spelling practice, strategizing, and working together. On top of that, it’s great fun! The game is recommended for ages 8 to adult and retails for $22.99.
2. Blank Books, Puzzles and Calendars
Bare Books has an amazing assortment of blank hardcover and board books just waiting for a young author to fill. There are lots of shapes and sizes. You can also get blank puzzles and calendars too. The best part is that they are super affordable. I had a hard time making up my mind which ones to order and ended up with a super assortment that will last me for quite some time. Partner a few of these books with some fun markers or pens and you have one great gift. This is a great gift for all ages. Books range in price. Most are under $3.
3. Magazine Subscription
Yes, magazine subscriptions were on the 2011 list. However, I think that this is such a fun gift that keeps on giving all year long that I’m recommending another magazine this year. KIDS DISCOVER will be delivered monthly for a year. Each ad free issue centers around one social studies or science theme. Each issue is filled with bold pictures and interesting reading. I used this magazine when I was a classroom teacher with my students. The magazine is geared for ages 6-12. A one-year subscription is $19.95.
4. Cookbook and Personalized Apron
There are so many literacy skills that can be nurtured in the kitchen! Earlier this year, I reviewed several cookbooks. One of my favorites was Kids’ Kitchen by Fiona Bird and Roberta Arenson. The box includes 40 fun and healthy recipe cards. The deck of cards is divided into five color coded sections: Eggs ‘n’ Beans, Fantastic Fruits, Milk ‘n’ Dairy, Spuds ’n’ Grain and Vital Vegetables. All of the recipes are vegetarian and include meal ideas to go with each recipe. There are also multi-cultural recipes. I’m so impressed with the nutritional education that comes with each recipe. The Breakfast Friends recipe states that, “ it’s loaded with protein and carbohydrates that help to power you up for an energetic day.” Not only will kids learn how to cook nutritional dishes, but they are becoming empowered with healthy eating tips and practices. I also like that the recipes are printed on heavy-duty cards which works well with kids in the kitchen. Your child will learn how to make: Apple Volcanoes, Tropical Milkshakes, Mellow Yellow Rice and Picnic Kebabs as well as 37 other dishes. Pair this with a personalized apron from Etsy and you have a fun gift to give. Kids’ Kitchen costs $19.99 and is recommended for ages 8 and up. Personalized aprons from Etsy are also $19.95. Thank you to Barefoot Books for sending a requested copy of Kids’ Kitchen for me to review.
5. Little Passports
Little Passports is a subscription service that delivers a fun package to your door each month. Join Sam and Sofia as they travel around the world and learn about different countries in the World Edition or sign up for the USA Edition and learn about two new states each month. Each package contains lots of goodies including pictures, letters and souvenirs. You will also have access to online activities and resources. The World Edition is recommended for ages 5-10 and the USA Edition is recommended for ages 7-12. Subscription packages start at $10.95 per month. You are able to subscribe in monthly, 3-month, 6-month or 12-month plans. Below is an introductory video.
6. Lunchbox Love for Kids
This is another gift that keeps on giving all year long. Lunchbox Love for Kids are made by Say Please. Send one of these cards in your child’s lunchbox each day. Cards contain an interesting or fun fact on one side and an encouraging message on the other. They come in a handy carrying case that easily slips into your purse so you always have them on hand. Each volume comes with 12 cards (10 printed and 2 blank) for $2.99. Recommended for all readers. Thank you to Say Please for sending me a requested copy to review.
7. Make Me a Story
Make Me a Story by eeBoo consists of a magnetic playboard, correlating magnets and an easel for standing. Your child will be able to create elaborate stories while manipulating the magnetic pieces across the scene. This would also make a great activity to take on a trip. You can select from different themes including Forest Adventure, Fairytales, Animal Cottage and Robot’s Landing. The magnetic playboard is recommended for ages 5 and up and retails for $13.95. You might also be interested in Tell Me a Story and Write Me a Story also by eeBoo. All three help to build literacy skills! A special thank you to eeBoo for sending me requested copies to review.
8. Felt Mailbox Play Set
I absolutely love pretend play for developing literacy. This felt mailbox play set includes a felt mailbox, drawstring mailbag, shipping box, three postcards, two envelopes, six stamps, six address labels, and six messages. An extra bonus is that it’s handmade in the USA. This one is for ages 3 and up and retails for $44.95.
9. Easy Daysies
I love the name of this one. Easy Daysies is a magnetic schedule for kids created by a mom and educator. The Everyday Starter Kit has a double-sided board with two different scenes and magnets of daily routines. This one is going on my gift giving list for my son. You can also purchase add-on kits for getting dressed/bathroom routines, chores or extracurricular activities. It’s recommended for ages 3-12 and runs $25.99. Here’s a peek at how it works.
10. Chalkboard Mats
I love when I can promote small businesses. Here is an Etsy find. Chalkboard Mats by BAM Crafty Mommas are reusable and portable mats that you can roll up and take almost anywhere. One side has a cute fabric print while the other side is magnetic fabric. There is a loop to hold chalk. I can see this being very useful while waiting at a restaurant. I would say this would be for ages 3 and up. Each mat costs $10.00.
So, would you like to have a few of these items? I’m giving away 2 Bare Books, 1 Write Me a Story and 1 Love Notes volume to a lucky Growing Book by Book reader. Giveaway Guidelines
It’s super easy! Just leave a comment on this post. There you go! Entries will be accepted until 11/27/12 at 9:00pm (CST). The lucky giveaway winner will be randomly selected the week of 11/27/12 and announced on this site. I will contact the winner via email also. The winner has 3 days to respond with a mailing address or else another winner will be selected. We can ship to USA addresses only. Good luck!
Still need more ideas? Check out my list from last year. Happy shopping! What is on your shopping list this year?
*Though I did receive requested review copies of some products, all reviews are my own opinions. I only select items for this list that I would want to buy myself.
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