Contributed by Krista Ewert (visit her blog)
If you are anything like me, Christmas shopping goes into full gear November 1st. I have collected some gifts and stocking stuffers throughout the year but everything should be squared away by November 30th. When I do this, I feel like I have more time and the mental capacity to actually ENJOY the festivities surrounding Christmas.
Last year, was not a great year for gifts. It wasn’t a complete fail but the gifts were more for the WOW-factor and less for longevity—they were trendy plastic toys that were soon discarded and forgotten about. I was disappointed and determined to never go that route again.
My favourite types of toys are collections that can be added to over and over. This works especially well, if you are like us and have grandparents, aunts and uncles who are all asking what little Ella or Jakob want for Christmas. So what are some great gifts for children that are played with year after year?
Here is my list of five great Christmas gifts for primary children.
I started buying these animals as a speech therapy tool for Ella. Her SLP would always bring a bag of animals and play a number of games with them so I decided we should start our own collection. Then one year, we went big and finally bought the barn. These animals are durable, beautiful and will be able to be passed down to siblings, cousins, friends or maybe even grandchildren one day.
One year, we brought Ella a dollhouse. It was simple and discounted but it did the trick because the same year, we told all of her grandparents and aunts and uncles to buy her Calico Critter sets. Calico Critters, also known as Sylvanian Families, are timeless to the point that our tenant the other day, passed down a family of bears that she had been given as a child. The girls play with them over and over.
I feel like this one goes without explanation. It can be a big investment but provides hours of entertainment and incorporates important role-playing and speech skills. My recommendation is to get a sturdy wooden one such as this Kidcraft retro kitchen but Ikea also has a pretty decent one as well.
Thomas trains are also a timeless treasure. I remember my smaller cousins having a huge collection of Thomas trains. The nice thing about the track is that you can always be changing up the routes and once again, when people ask you what they can buy for your kids you can always tell them, a new train. They are also interchangeable with Brio and pack away nicely.
It’s expensive but it LASTS FOREVER! Our son has bins and bins of Lego because not only has he received Lego time and time again for Christmas and Birthdays but he has also inherited my husband’s Lego from when he was a child as well as my own. He’s not the type to keep his sets together so it means hours of using his imagination to create and re-create.
I hope this has given you some ideas. As the kids get older it gets a little tougher to buy toys they will enjoy for a long time, but they also get more grateful for gifts that they can’t unwrap or hold in their hand such as a donation gift or an experience. For example, one year we bought a water filter for a family in Africa, where they cannot access clean water year. This year, we will go the experience route and have bought hockey tickets for my son. A memory, I am sure he will never forget!