I’ve been doing some last minute gift shopping since we were on a long trip until late last week. We usually don’t do a whole lot for presents. This year the boys have one game for all of them combined (and a chess clock if you count that). We usually focus on books and practical gifts. But the games and puzzles we’ve bought over the years do add up. I thought I’d put together a list of some of our favorite gifts in the past in case you’re stuck for gift ideas this late in the season.
We absolutely love these 3D sphere mazes. We’ve collected almost all of them and our children have played hours with them. I would think they’d get tired of them, but they don’t. Any guests we have is usually drawn to them. They range in difficulty from fairly easy to extremely challenging. And if your family is into reading aloud like our family is, these could really help a fidgety child sit still.
Handheld Logic Puzzles
My children have really enjoyed logic puzzles like Kanoodle, IQ Twist, or IQ Link. These are great because you don’t need batteries. They slip easily into a purse or travel bag and can be played anywhere. They’re also versatile because they have challenges from easy to hard, so a small child can play the easy challenges, but an adult will still be challenged with the harder ones.
Set is a great visual perception card game that the whole family will enjoy. It is great for family play because children are often quicker than adults to see visual patterns. Swish is a game similar in style that we’ve also enjoyed. And the see-through cards are so much fun to handle.
Ticket to Ride is a great family board game. It’s not too complicated for young kids to learn. My youngest son could play it when he was seven. But it still takes some strategy and is fun for adults. It also teaches geography at the same time.
Fastrack is a fun fast game for all ages. I discovered this game recently while we were on a trip and quickly bought it for my son’s birthday. It’s been a huge hit. Our whole family loves to play this game. The goal is to be the first to shoot all the discs through the slot to the other side. But you need to be quick because your opponent is trying to shoot them back at the same time. It’s easy to give younger children an advantage by starting them out with less discs.
Our family makes these building planks. If you’re looking for an open-ended, imaginative toy, check them out.
These are fun games that will test your observation skills while teaching you about the world around you. These come in a variety of subjects and levels. So whether your child is interested in Nature, or Inventions, or History, (or ?,) there is sure to be a Brain Box for him. There’s even some for the preschool crowd.
Doodle Dice is a simple game to learn. You roll six dice that contain simple doodles, and then you try to make doodles that match the cards. No drawing skills needed! My youngest son loved playing this game. It contains enough strategy that I enjoyed playing along with him.
Your children will love matching the colored tiles to the patterns in Magnetic MightyMind. And the fact that the tiles are magnetic keep young children from jostling the tiles once they’re put in place. The challenges start out easy and end up challenging even for adults (my favorite kind of puzzles).
I’m not exactly sure what it is about Leap Frog Memory Mate, but little children love it. Maybe it’s the sturdy cardboard pieces, or the shiny storage tin, or the familiar pictures, but my son (and now my daughter) loves it. It was a favorite of my son’s for years and he carried it around everywhere we went. Now my two-year-old daughter loves playing with it, too. The cards are supposed to help teach your child a foreign language, but so far we’ve never used it for that since the cards we have are for Spanish and we’re more into French here. They are, however, a great tool for teaching your own language. My daughter does not tire of going through all the cards and having me say each object. And I’m sure she’ll enjoy playing memory with me as she gets older. This is another game where kids usually beat their parents!
We’ve played Shuffleboard at get-togethers and it was a lot of fun. This is a fun family game that everyone will enjoy. Shh! I have this one coming for the boys.
I’ve saved the best for last. Books make the best gifts! If you need ideas you might want to check out the following posts:
While I love giving gifts, I hope that giving gifts doesn’t become the focus of the season. May we all remember the true reason for Christmas.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.