Christmas is just over a month away! Our tree is up, the snow is on the ground and the first batch of cookies has been baked.
I love Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s birth, the time spent with family and just taking it slow for a few days. One thing I do not like is toy overload. I get overwhelmed very easily and every year I am extra thankful I only have two kids, I know the overload would be more extreme if I had more than two.
We try to focus on educational toys as much as possible, I love an item can be a great gift, a source of entertainment and something to learn with.
Today I wanted to share a few favorite education gifts you can get your kids this year. My own kids are 5 and 8 so I would say this list is best for the kindergarten to middle school range. I try to give age guidelines where possible but they are pretty flexible.
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I couldn’t create this list without sharing books. Yes, we love our library, and it did save us a whopping $23,000 last year, but I still like to own books. This is actually the only thing on my personal Christmas list this year, no surprise there. Here are a couple of book series’ that are sure to entertain and educate your children, the ones I’ve chosen to share all take kids back to some point in history.
The Magic Tree House Series
This series follows Jack and Annie as they go back in time on certain missions. I can’t tell you how much Raeca has learned about history this way, it’s astounding. I first started reading these to my kids when they were about 4 years old and as soon as Raeca could read she was devouring them herself, she has re-read the ones she owns multiple times. Since Ephraim can’t quite read yet he often listens to them on audio.
The Imagination Station Series
Keeping in the going back in history vein, this series takes kids back into Bible history. This series is written by the same guy that writes Adventures in Odyssey, more about that shortly.
The Trailblazer Series
This series takes the reader back to some point in church history. They meet characters like William Tyndale, George Muller, Martin Luther and more. As one who wants to learn more church history, I am planning on sneaking a few of these from Raeca to read myself.
As I was writing the above books I realized I had to include audio on here. We listen to a lot of audio as a family, either as we are eating lunch or when we are driving in the car. Audio is excellent for road trips, we’ve listened to so many audiobooks that way.
The Adventures in Odyssey
This is not a book but actually a radio drama series. Jared grew up listening to these in the vehicle whenever they would go on trips as a family and he and his siblings are still quoting funny lines from here. We’ve listened to a number of them and there is one episode that always takes me back to a certain road trip, I can remember exactly where we were on the road when we were listening to it.
The Little House Series
No matter how many times I try I am not good at reading The Little House Series out loud, there is so much descriptive language I find it a struggle, but the audio series is excellent. My favorites are definitely the first few books in the series, we’ve listened to those multiple times.
This is one of the best audiobooks I have ever listened to. Ultimately this story follows a harmonica and the journey it takes as it falls into the hands of four different children over time. Honestly, no description I write here is going to do it justice. While I am sure reading the book is also great the audiobook is exceptional. This was my kids’ first real introduction into WWII and it sparked some great conversations.
We love to play games as a family, here are a couple I would recommend for gift giving!
This game is a great introduction to coding for little ones. Each player is a turtle and they have to code their turtle through the course to find their gem. This is great for learning step-by-step process for younger children.
We got this game for Raeca for Christmas a few years ago and I think she played around 30 games of it in the first week. It was obviously a hit! In this fun, cooperative game you are working as detectives to try to figure out which fox stole the pot pie. Each turn you are either trying to reveal suspects or discover clues to see what the fox is wearing. But you have to be quick to try to figure out who the thief is before he or she gets away! This is great for learning deductive reasoning, something I remember to be a favorite of mine in math when I was in elementary school.
To be honest, while I am putting this in the “7+” category, Ephraim has been playing this since before he turned 5, circuits are his thing. Circuit Maze gives you a variety of challenges where you need to try to complete the circuit and turn on the lights!
This is a great game for travelling since it is just cards and is easy to pack in a bag. Sushi Go is all about collecting different cards, my favorite educational portion is the counting of points at the end, some of the point variations are a little complex, sneaky math for the win!
This is one of our favorite family games to play at the moment. It is another cooperative game (I have a bias towards cooperative games) where you are trying to save your castle from various monsters. You need to use logic because certain monsters can only be damaged in certain areas and you want to be able to hit them when you can before they move.
You can check out a full list of our favorite games here.
A microscope one of the items we want to purchase for our homeschool this year. Both my kids love science and it is definitely not my forte but I could definitely help them find things to explore under a microscope! I remember using mine a lot as a child, I love how different things look when you can zoom in so close.
This is on our wish list for next year. I am planning on doing a fairly major study of the sky with them in conjunction with getting a telescope. To be honest, I think Jared and I want a telescope as much for ourselves as we do for our children. It’s not just educational for the kids! 🙂 I’m not sure what we would do price wise on a telescope yet, this one has good reviews and is under $100, this one also has good reviews but is over $100.
LITTLE BITS KIT
My kids love science and Ephraim especially loves the Little Bits Kits – they are right up his engineering personality and this Little Bits R2D2 just looks amazing, I imagine he would spend hours upon hours with this.
This is one thing Ephraim has spent hours pouring over. If the Little Bits Kit is too advanced for your children, Snap Circuits are a great step to start with. With these easy, snap-able circuits your kids can learn about electricity and circuits in an easy and safe way.
I could probably keep going but I think this is a good place to stop this list. What are some of your favorite educational gifts? Let me know below!