With Thanksgiving behind us, and the holiday season in full swing, I thought I would share a few of my choices for literacy related gifts this year. Every year, my children receive a pile of books on Christmas morning. But, I also try to find literacy related games and activities that they can engage in throughout the year as well. Here are items I’ve either previously purchased for my children or purchased this holiday season:
Tell Me A Story – Mystery in the Forest –For ages 3 and up – I found these in a specialty shop in Providence, Rhode Island last year. Beautifully illustrated, these cards provide a wonderful opportunity for children to create open ended stories. Throw them in your bag and have them with you when you have to wait somewhere.
IlluStory Make Your Own Story Kit – Recommended for ages 6-9 – I first purchased this product for my son last year for Christmas. We received 18 book pages, 2 cover pages, 10 washable markers, a story web planner, instructions, order form, and prepaid envelope. After my son wrote and illustrated his story, we mailed it in the prepaid envelope and after a few weeks, we received a color-copied, professionally type-set book. My son was able to design the cover and write an About the Author biography page as well. You also have the ability to create the book entirely online. This makes a fabulous family keepsake.
Create Your Own Pop-Up Books – Recommended for ages 5 and up – Similar to Illustory, this product allows a child to create a pop-up book. Pop-up books are very engaging, especially for boys, and this kit provides a simple way for a child to make his or her own pop-up book! I actually purchased this as an activity for my son to complete this past summer. The set includes 2 hardcover pop-up books, stickers, 8 markers, and pop-up designs. Children can add drawings or photographs. There are also illustrated instructions which include story starter ideas and pop-up ideas.
Books Make Me Happy: My First Reading Log
Recommended for ages 4-8 – I found this in my local toy store just a few weeks ago and picked it up for my son for Christmas this year. The cover isinviting, a picture drawn by a child, and is what first drew me to it. It is a reading log, which provides a great way for your beginning reader to begin to record books he or she enjoys. But it has questions and fill-in-the blanks to make reading an interactive activity. Parents can use this information to dialogue with their child about what they liked best about a book or to critique it. A fantastic way to instill a love for reading in your child.
University Games Brown Bear-Panda Bear, What Do You See? Game –Recommended for ages 3-8 – I just bought this for my 3 year old niece and my daughter for Christmas this year. Based on Bill Martin’s book, this game introduces children to the magic of story creation. It also helps with memory and sequencing skills. I can’t wait to play it with the girls!
Kohl’s Cares for Kids Books/Plush Animals –All ages – I first became aware of Kohl’s Cares for Kids program a few years ago when my son received a gift of a book. I was hooked after that. I love when I can buy gifts for my kids and help needy children in the process. Last year Kohl’s offered Curious George, and my daughter received a book and stuffed Curious George that she still sleeps with. This year, they are offering one of my favorite series, “If You Give a. . .” by Laura Numeroff. You can purchase each of her books for $5 a piece and the corresponding stuffed animal for an additional $5. Since the inception of Kohl’s Cares for Kids® in 2000, they have turned their $5 books and plush into more than $102 million for children’s initiatives nationwide while providing affordable books for millions of eager readers.
I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for great literacy related games, toys, or activities. What do you or your kids love?