‘Tis the season… but what to give?

Gifts for Teachers (and specialists and administrators!):   As parents we are so grateful for the hours and hours teachers spend planning and working with our children, but deciding what to give to show our appreciation can be confusing.  Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

  1. Two words: GIFT CARDS.  In my opinion (and many, many teachers’ opinions), unwrapping a gift card is pure happiness.  The BEST?  When you go in with a group on a gift card.  Last year, I was able to buy a pair of designer jeans and a necklace with a group gift card… a very merry Christmas, indeed.  Other ideas would be for coffee, local lunch delivery places, or Amazon.  You absolutely cannot go wrong with a gift card.  Last minute?  These Amazon gift cards can be delivered via email.
  2. Something warm:  A USB hand warmer will warm their hearts.  I understand this one seems silly, but hear me out.  TEACHERS ARE ALWAYS COLD.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your kids.  Classrooms often range between the temperatures of cold and freezing.  Outdoor recess or supervising the car line in the morning or afternoon can be plain miserable.  I used to plug this model into my computer to charge and then put it in my pocket when I went outside (if your budget is a bit higher, this model looks great and can plug into a phone for when they’re on-the-go).  Want something to keep teachers warm and make them giggle?  Try this toasty hand warmer that they can use while at the computer.  They’ll be the envy of the school, I promise.
  3. Speaking of warmth:  Many teachers need coffee to stay alive during the day.  But coffee in that freezing classroom?  Just like teachers’ hands, coffee quickly becomes cold, too.  This mug warmer is affordable, and it’s the best seller on Amazon.  Cheers to that!
  4. The Holy Grail of teacher supplies: There is something mysterious about Papermate Flair pens that makes teachers lose their minds. Borrow one and forget to return it?   You will be hunted down.  These limited edition colors are on sale and are guaranteed to be a hit.

Educational Gifts for Kids:  Out of ideas?  I could go on and on, but here a few ideas.

  1. A MUST HAVE:   Unifix cubes! These aren’t under my tree this year (we have 3 sets), but I cannot imagine a home without them.  Unifix cubes are my favorite, FAVORITE educational tool.   In math, I have used them with my own kids for patterning, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication,  division, and even algebra.  In reading, they can be used for counting syllables and sounds.  You can use a marker to write letters or digraphs on them to build words (you can also buy them with letters already on them).  I’ll write a post about their magic in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m linking this set because it has an activity book for parents (and don’t forget Pinterest).
  2. Give them the world!  Okay, it’s just a globe… but it seems awesome.  This globe from Oregon Scientific will be under the tree this year for my Kindergartener.  I have high hopes that it’ll keep him (and his brothers) engaged for hours.
  3. Engineering for my littles: I chose the big Marble Run set for my kids for this year.  The company states the toy will help develop “hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, creativity, color and shape recognition, spatial imagination ability”.  I’m also going to argue it is a great tool for building problem solving and executive functioning skills.
  4. Family Game Night: Melissa and Doug Suspend is one of my favorite gifts from last year.  It’s secretly educational but so fun.  It is amazing for strengthening executive functioning skills like planning.  I also use it to teach my kids “still body”, meaning they need to take a deep breath and feel calm before placing a piece.  I highly recommend it.



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