A few years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season. I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually on every Friday in November and December. These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child. For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, you can visit this page.
If you have a child who enjoys drawing, Extraordinaires may be just the gift for him or her. This unique kit encourages Design Thinking by providing Character cards (Extraordinaires), Project Cards, Think Cards, an Idea Pad, and a case. (Included supplies vary, depending on the set.) Children can choose an Extraordinaire and a Project to design for that character. Empathy is encouraged by suggesting the designer should first study the Extraordinaires card closely to learn anything that might be helpful in creating a personalized design for the character. Think Cards can be used to help the designer consider improvements or tweak that can be made to the design. Inventing a “backstory” for the character is also recommended.
We have used the Buildings Set and the Design Studio in my 2nd and 4th grade classes. The students really enjoy choosing from the unusual cartoon-like Extraordinaires, and quickly become close to the fictional characters they’ve selected. These sets definitely spark the imagination – especially for children who love to invent, draw, and/or write.
There are currently three Extraordinaires sets available at different price points. There is also a free app available that allows designers to see and share projects. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you can download a sample project for children to try.
If you want your child to spend more time “unplugged” and creating, Extraordinaires is definitely a worthwhile gift option.