Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Gift Giving . . . Age 4 and 5

My own sweet Jake is 4, so I am very much in the middle of this gift giving cycle.  If you feel comfortable enough to ask, do.  Most families with more than one child have these toys.  It is also helpful to have hte mom suggest what he would like.  Be sure to attach a gift receipt in the event you weren't able to ask and they already have the item. 

Since Jake has a much older brother Jake plays older.  If the child you are buying for is a first born, first born male or has a sibling close in age, his toy request will be different than Jake's.

Jake has always played up.  His brother is six years older than him.  Keep this in mind when you are buying for a child with an older sibling at least 3 years older.  Within two years you don't have to adjust the gift for the play up factor.

Age 4

Board Games - This is a perfect time to shore up counting skills, good sportsmanship and strategic thinking.  A favorite in our house is 5 Little Monkey's Jumping on the Bed.  We have played it so many times.  The child has to spin and land on a number.  If he lands on an action, he has to act it out.  If he lands on a spot that feeds to the bed he can get on the bed.  As each turn ends you must press a button.  When the button pops, all the monkeys fly off the bed.  Any remaining are repositioned on the bed and you go back to taking turns.  This type of game levels out the playing field.  The 4 year old can will just as easily as the 40 year old.  Some other games to consider are Trouble and Sorry.  All of these games involve moving a small piece a number of spaces.  That movement really works the fingers and fine motors skills.  It works the three finger hold as is used with pencils.  Another game great for working those fingers is Operation.  Squeezing the tweezers, getting them into that small opening, grabbing the item and removing it without getting the buzz.  It is so much fun, lots of laughs and I swear your heart stops a second every time you hear the buzz.

Electronic learning tablet - This generation of children came out of the womb using iPhones.  They are more skilled at moving around an iPhone than some 60+ I know.  Get them a Leap Frog Learning Table.  The tablet has you use a wand in various point and click options.  It also allows you to draw, color in items and write.  There are many different brands on the market, but I feel Leap Frog has been around the longest and had the best software packages.  Tablets like this enable children to trace letter, working on letter recognition and sound, using the grip and getting feedback if their answer wasn't correct. 

Role Play Costumes - I have been know to buy lots of Halloween costumes for the boys, after Halloween.  They are generally discounted and are usually the favorite costumes of the season that were overproduced.  We have Spiderman, Superman, numerous Star Wars guys, Firemen, Military men and their accessories.  Most play dates for this age will end up with the children in costumes.  This is a great time in their lives where they are establishing good guys from bad guys, and who doesn't want to be the good guy?  Role play is critical to their development and social well being.

Age 5

With Jake having such an older sibling he tends to play in this age group and the next.  You really move to much smaller pieces and so many more of them as the kids get older.  Something we have thousands upon thousands of legos.

Legos - If you need to buy a lego for a birthday gift you are probably looking at $.10 per piece, 340 lego piece set is about $34. Legos can get very expensive.  I recommend getting set that are age appropriate.  Lego has done it right, they get the suggested age and it works. 

Legos works on two level - 1st you have your set - it teaches the kids sequencing with the book.  You must do step 1 then 2 and so on.  You think this comes naturally to children but it doesn't.  The child must follow the order depicted in the instruction booklet.  Once the lego is finished there is the usual admire and awe stage.  This is where the child is putting it up forever, never to be touched, only looked at.  In our home we move through this rather quickly.  There is then the improvement stage, where the child add his own parts to the structure and then onto the demolish and rebuild something new.
 If you were just interested in buying for your own child, I would recommend just buying lego pieces.  The creativity that comes from building you own is awesome.  It allows their mind and fingers to go wild.  There is something so rewarding about building a ship or tall building on your own

Action Figures - These can be Star Wars, X-Men, GI Joe, Halo - any popular action movie out will have action figures.  The level of play that existed with the role playing costumes exist here but it is more advanced.  The 5 year old can determine it is not him, it is his figure.  He can also work more than one man at a time.  Most of these come with a gun, BONUS!!!  There is generally 1 woman in this set.  Before you buy her, know the child, it might not be worth it.  The options here are endless.  Three figures generally makes a good gift.

Experiments - Experienets feed their brains.  Kids love to get a kit, try to make it work and find they are successful.  A very popluar experiment kit is the Mentos one.  You can find that a t most gift stores as well as a toy store. 

Experiments are wonderful for teaching them sequencing, cause and effect, and a great way to learn and explore Science.  Plus, if the child can get dirty doing it ALL THE BETTER!

All of these toys have been huge successes for our boys.  I am certian your will like them too!

Happy Shopping!

Gift Giving - Age 6 - 8 will be next Monday.

1 comment:

  1. Jen Im very impressed by all your knowledge on this subject. Thank you for taking time to care with others who just might need your thoughts. You is smart.