Gifts With Lasting Appeal

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We all want to give great gifts whether they’re for a teacher, birthday, Christmas, Hanukkah or any other occasion. Time and money are limited so how do you make a lasting impression with your gift giving funds? I like gifts that have lasting play value and reflect the thought I put into their purchase. Buying prizes and resources for more than 100 family literacy events has given me a lot of experience spotting games and books that are winners.

One of my favourite books to give to children between the ages of 3 and 7, young babysitters or teachers is Herve Tullet’s book Press Here. It’s interactive and deceptively simple. The narrator invites the reader to press certain colour dots on each page or shake them to make changes to the next page. I guarantee children of all ages will want it read again and again because it’s magic!

Regardless of where I go or what age group I work with, one game stands out in my collection of resources. Spot It by Blue Orange Games doesn’t involve reading (apart from the instructions) but it is a great way to build vocabulary and focusing skills. There are several ways to play this game but players must spot the matching picture between cards. No matter what 2 cards you turn over there is only ever 1 picture match. It is a great travel game but adults should be warned that kids are great at this game and will likely beat you!

Everything old is new again and this is so true about puzzles! I usually take a 100 or 200 piece puzzle to events and it never fails to draw a crowd. Parents and children are naturally drawn to the table and don’t leave until the last piece has been placed in the puzzle. There is a lot of learning that goes on at the puzzle table from problem solving to fine motor skills as well as some great conversations. Families can take on much larger puzzles if they have room to leave them out on a table and spend some wonderful time together in the process.

Teachers receive a lot of gifts each year but let’s face it they don’t need another coffee mug. Consider giving them a great book or game for the classroom or make a donation in their name to support literacy like the London Public Library’s A Book for Every Child® Campaign.

Books make fantastic gifts for anyone and staff at book stores or the Library are happy to help with suggestions. You really can’t go wrong with a puzzle as a family gift or games by companies like Blue Orange or Thinkfun. They produce great games like Swish, Smart Mouth and Zingo that have lots of play value for the dollar. Don’t be afraid to go beyond the usual movie inspired game when giving gifts. I guarantee the recipient will enjoy it longer and remember who gave it to them.

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