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Christmas time can be a complicated time for mommas, especially if you’re trying to live a minimalist, intentional lifestyle. So what can we give a generation of children who has everything? How can we create a culture of minimalism? Here are some ideas based on Charlotte Mason’s philosophy.
For the Naturalist
- A Magnifying glass is a fun for children to use as they explore and learn about the world around them. It allows them to get a closer look at rocks, bugs, and even soil.
- Window Bird Feeder This unique feeder gives children an intimate view of birds, and a fun way to study birds in the winter.
- Indoor Greenhouse Kit allows children to choose what seeds to plant and learn how to take care of them indoors. It can be a fun family activity to then plant them in the garden in the spring!
- Nature Explorer Kit All the important explorer tools are included in this kit! This is perfect for kids who love to adventure.
- Kritter Keeper If I had to pick one nature study item that is essential, this would be it!
For the Engineer
- Lego Technic Idea Book If your child has Lego Technic sets this is a great resource to begin creating original inventions.
- Real Tool Set My son LOVES his tool set. We began collecting old electronics from neighbors and he spends hours taking them apart and making new inventions with his handy little tool set.
- Screw Driver Board This is perfect for little hands still developing fine motor skills.
- Build your own lamp and fan or Robotic arm kit Fun projects for older elementary and teenagers. Build your own appliances and learn how electronics work.
- Bath Pipe Toys Put together a bath toy box with pipes, plastic cups, funnels and sieves.
For the Imagineer
- Play Scarves are great because they can be used as anything in pretend play. They can be tied around anything, thrown, worn, used to build a fort, or even used as water. The options are endless!
- Doctor Kit if you have a family member admitted to a hospital or recovering with a serious illness, this is a great gift for children to play and work through difficult emotions. As a bonus, it can be used as a doctor kit and veterinarian kit!
- Schleich Small, realistic animals are beloved by all children, and Schleich is our favorite. The most affordable way to collect these animals is buying them used on Ebay. Recommended for older children.
- Odin Parker Wooden Animals These beautiful animals are made with sustainable wood and finished with non-toxic paints and beeswax, a perfect option for little ones that love to explore with their mouths.
For the Artist
- Watercolor Everyday This is my favorite watercolor book for beginners. It’s projects are modern and approachable.
- Watercolor Book These are a great gift once children begin putting more attention and detail into their nature journals. Also a wonderful gift for older children as a way to record scenes and architecture while traveling.
- Beginner Whittling Kit Every child loves to work with their hands, even boys! Whittling and carving is is a fun way to get boys (and girls!) engaged with their hands. This Wood Carving Book has a lot of beginner projects.
- Stencil Kit or Wooden Stencils My boys love their shape stencils! Here are some other fun stencils to add to your collection. Stencils are especially fun on long road trips.
- Lap Loom My friend Lindsey at Hello Hydrangea makes high-quality looms and excellent weaving classes. The lap loom is a perfect size for children!
For the Chef
- Play Food A few simple pieces of play food and the IKEA kitchen is a must-have for your young child that love to play pretend.
- The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs and The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs begin with teaching basic skills and knowledge that every chef needs to know. And the recipes are delicious, yet simple. My son loves these books!
- Linen Apron An apron is ESSENTIAL for cooking with your kids! And these are so simple and beautiful.
- Cooking + Baking Set I am in love with this cooking set; it’s high-quality and will last for years.
For the Toddler
- DIY Playdough set (include garlic press, stamps, sticks, rocks, egg slicer) This is, by far, the most used and beloved gift of my toddlers! Fresh playdough and lots of ways to manipulate it.
- Wooden Playdough tools or Wooden Stamps If you want to add onto your playdough kit, these tools and stamps add an extra special dimension.
- Sandbox. Most parents would never dream of giving their child a sandbox, but I promise the hours of therapeutic play is worth it! Concerned about cats? Simply build a netted cover or purchase a box with a lid.
- Stainless Steel Buckets. The best toy ever! My boys use these to play at the beach, collect rocks, dig holes and haul dirt– the possibilities are endless.
- Small Garden Shovels. Another indispensable “toy” for kids to use outside. just make sure you guve them a small plot of land set apart for digging holes 🙂
For the Gamer
- Lord of the Wings: A Bird Trump Game I love the games by Christine Berrie; they’re beautiful, fun, and educational. Also by Christine Berrie: Match a Track, Match a Leaf, and Flower Families.
- Kingdomino This strategy game is fun for the whole family, and for older kids it provides an opportunity to practice multiplication.
- Raiders of the North Sea After reading Viking Tales my boys really enjoyed this game! It creatively integrates history and strategy.
- Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game This game teaches you all about herbs and their properties in a fun way! Get through the forest by avoiding poisonous plants and using herbs to heal and nourish.
- Wingspan One of my family’s favorites! Collect birds and place them in their correct habitat by feeding them the right foods and lay eggs to earn points.
For the Bookworm
- Yoto Mini Audio Book Player is a screen-free audio player for young children. Simply place book-cards in player and start listening.
- Audible Gift card or membership is an excellent gift for kids who love to listen to books. We’ve tried Scribd and Librivox, but most books are read by multiple authors and many of those are painful to listen to.
- Blank Books are so fun for the creative child! My boys will write for hours when they have a blank canvas to record their ideas.
- Blank Graphic Novel is a fun twist on the blank books above. Pages are divided into blocks so children can create their own graphic novels.
For the Child Who Has Everything
- Date coupons. Time is the best gift we can give our children. Every year my husband gives our boys “game night” coupons to use whenever they want a private board game night with dad. The possibilities are endless! Cooking together, hiking, anything your child loves to do.
- Classes. Does your child love swimming? Tennis? Art? Instead of buying toys consider buying them a month of private or group lessons to something they love.
- Museum Membership or vacation. Instead of individual gifts you could give your whole family a membership to local museum or family vacation.
- Donate gift money to charity! Watch a video about a non-profit organization, or look at a website of a local charity to get an idea of what they do. Show your kids the basic needs that people are not getting, and ask them if they’d like to donate their Christmas gift money to provide the necessities of life to others.
- Homemade Gifts. Consider having a homemade Christmas where everyone must make a homemade gift for another person. This may work better for older kids who are skilled in handcrafts 🙂