Got inaanaks and pamangkins that will be knocking on your doors over the next few days? If you’re planning to be a Santa Claus to these little kids but you don’t have enough time to scour through their parents’ Newsfeeds for leads on their latest cartoon faves, then we have some tips on how you can make gift-giving more memorable and educational for these young ones!
We all went through childhood but admit it – it’s hard to think of what to give to kids if they’re younger than 10 years old. Christmas break has just begun at work and I’m one of those ninangs that are on a last-minute Christmas gift shopping mission this weekend. Because kids are not our forte, we consulted an expert on gift-giving, Smallville Montessori’s directress – Bloss Villafuerte, just before our trip to the store and here’s what we’ve got:
THE BEST GIFT
The best gift isn’t necessarily based on a child’s favorite cartoon character or animal. According to Teacher Bloss, it’s “something that can be open-ended”, something that they’d still be interested in even though a cartoon gets discontinued or whatnot.
“The gift can be something that they’d enjoy because it can have multiple uses – making it more interesting for the child. At the same time, it can target different kinds of skills depending on how they will use or manipulate the toy. It will be less likely for them to lose interest with the toy right away,” shares Teacher Bloss.
THE GIFT CHECKLIST
There are three things to consider when choosing a gift – safety, quality, and age appropriateness. Here’s what Teacher Bloss told us to check when buying gifts:
For Infants/toddlers – 1 to 2 years old
What to consider:
“Sensory and motor skills development are very crucial for the child’s first few years. Gifts to consider would be toys that would engage them in strengthening their hand muscles and gross motor development,” reminds Teacher Bloss.
- Toddlers are not yet aware of choking hazards. Avoid toys with small pieces because they tend to put things in their mouth.
- Go big! Best to get large, easy-to-grip toys for their feeble hands.
- Ensure the quality and sturdiness of the toy. Kids this age tend to drop things as they are still developing control over their strength.
Samples: Large blocks, stacking cups, lacing large beads, mosaic peg boards, jumbo nuts and bolts, large tongs with pompom balls, shape sorters, play tunnels, activity walker, bowling set, and soft balls.
Where to buy them: SM Store section for babies, Toy Kingdom, Toys ‘R Us, Baby Company, Chicco
Preschoolers – 3 to 5 years old
What to consider:
- Is the toy/material too easy/too hard for the child? Kids tend to get bored and lose interest immediately! You can check the labels of toys for age appropriateness.
- Can the toy help expose the child to various concepts and skills? This is the perfect age to help them achieve developmental milestones under the cognitive and social domains. Get toys that can help them remember colors, shapes, letter sounds, and numbers.
Samples: Magnetic letters and numbers, finger puppets, white board for kids, puzzles, boggle game, wooden blocks, children’s books, non-toxic paint or watercolor, community helpers role playing set, and train set.
Where to buy them: National Bookstore, Fully Booked, SM Store section for kids, Toy Kingdom, Toys ‘R Us, LEGO Certified Store PH, Craft Central, Hobbes & Landes
Middle childhood – 6 to 8 years old
What to consider:
- Is the toy interesting or entertaining enough for their age? They begin to be more governed by logic and reasoning at this stage.
- Make it challenging! Kids are now ready for more complicated games by this age.
- Help them be more grounded to reality. Their preschool stage may have been dominated by fantasy and pretend play for creativity and imagination. This time, help them develop problem solving, critical thinking, logic, and reasoning.
Samples: Memory game, puzzles, Rubik’s Cube, chess set, Pictionary, Scrabble, science kits, alphabet bingo
Where to buy them: National Bookstore, Fully Booked, SM Store, Toy Kingdom, Toys ‘R Us, Gaming Library, Hobbes & Landes
But out of all of these, we’re sure nothing beats the gift of education. We learned all these things about kids just with our short conversation with Teacher Bloss. What more if we spend more time at Smallville! If you want your child to enjoy while learning, visit Smallville Montessori Preschool in Circulo Verde near Eastwood City. They’re currently offering early bird discounts for their Playschool, Nursery, Pre-Kinder, and Kinder classes for S.Y. 2020-2021. For more details, visit their Facebook page by clicking this link.
Merry Christmas, everyone!