Our classroom just received a 3D printer through Donors Choose. It has been amazing, and I am certain that it will be getting a lot of use for our Genius Hour projects. During this entire week, I have been planning to recommend this printer in my “Gifts for the Gifted” series because it has impressed me so much. As you can see, however, I changed my mind.
Today is my last “Gifts for the Gifted” post for this year, and I really wanted to make sure it would be helpful to those who are still searching for the perfect gift for a special child. And so, I’m going to suggest something that isn’t revolutionary and isn’t very creative; I suggest that you give that child time.
Many will agree with me that time is valuable, and something that seems to slip through our fingers all too easily. But how often do we consciously make the effort to “be in the moment,” and to show children how important it is to us to just be around them?
I can tell you without a moment’s hesitation that the fastest way to connect with children is to let them be heard, and to assure them that you are listening and find their thoughts and contributions valuable. I do this for my students and for my own daughter. I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of all behavior issues could be traced back to the lack of time an important adult has spent: listening, explaining, playing, and laughing.
How can you give this gift in a meaningful way? If you are a parent, look at websites like DIY.org or Design Squad for projects you can do with your child. If you have some down time during the next two weeks, try my Winter Break Challenge. When your child does something well, like bringing home a great report card or succeeding in a competition, don’t give him or her money or a trip to get ice cream. Take your child ice-skating or to play miniature golf. Learn a language together with Duolingo or go to a museum and discuss the art. Bake together, read a book with each other, or work on a scrapbook of memorable photos.
This post may come across as preachy, or you might be disappointed because you are looking for something tangible to put under the tree. But I really can’t emphasize enough the difference it makes when children realize how much you enjoy being with them. Helping them to realize how much you value them as people can be the most important gift they ever receive.
If you are looking for other gift suggestions, please check out the rest of my “Gifts for the Gifted” series. Always keep in mind, though, that these gifts make much more of an impact if you enjoy them together.