Several 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 (except for 2019) on every 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, including my 2021 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students.
Way back in 2015, one of my Gifts for the Gifted recommendations was “Time with You.” It bears repeating that whether you are a teacher or a parent the young people you care for, in most cases, really desire your attention more than material objects. This is why I often recommend games that can be played with the family or in small groups in the classroom. Since this post is coming to you so close to Christmas, though, I wanted to let you know of a few possibilities that won’t require package delivery or fighting store crowds. There are some ideas in that post from six years ago, but I have some others you might want to consider:
- Listen to audiobooks together. You can get a subscription to Audible, or one of the others listed in this article. Or you can check them out for free from a school or local library. I use the free Overdrive app to check out mine.
- Work on puzzles together — maybe even while listening to your audiobook! (I got this idea from Nick Offerman, who said that he and his wife, Megan Mullally, do this all of the time.) You can do physical jigsaw puzzles, or free virtual ones like these. When my daughter got to be about 8 years old, we started doing puzzles together in my Games Magazine (there is a children’s section), and we still work on some together whenever she is home from college.
- Travel the world without leaving the house or dealing with pesky luggage requirements. I haven’t tried this yet, but I am eyeing a few of the packages for us for on the Family Friendly page of Amazon Explore, like getting up close with the animals at the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica or visiting the fortune-telling chicks of Dei Gratia Farm. And, teachers don’t forget about the virtual field trips you can do with Flipgrid!
- Geocache! I can’t tell you the number of hours of fun I’ve had with my family and with my students doing this free activity. (The activity is free but you may need to invest in some equipment if you are a teacher, as you need working GPS.) Here is a way to get started. If you are a teacher who needs to stay on campus with your students, a scavenger hunt or an escape room activity can also be great and adapted to be high or low-tech.
I hope these ideas help, and that everyone has a great semester break! I will be back in the new year!