Christmas gift ideas for grandparents
By Sarah Welland
With a wide range of different toys available in the run up to Christmas, it is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to choose the perfect gift for grandchildren.
At the Good Play Guide, we believe in learning through play and while this of course includes the educational benefits of toys, we also want to highlight the potential they can provide for bonding, having fun and even learning something new with the grandchildren.
Toys that allow you to engage in an activity together can be a surprising two-way learning process as well. While you might enjoy passing on some skills, the children will also relish the opportunity to show their expertise in explaining to you how something works.
There are plenty of exciting toys and games out there that can get you started. Read on for some ideas based around the age of your recipient, to help them get the most out of play.
As a rule of thumb, for younger children, it is important to keep play simple, creative and fun, while older children might be interested in more social, problem-solving activities that allow them to question the world around them.
For 2 years and under:
Puzzles are a great way to get little ones involved in collaborative play for the first time, allowing you to encourage them to fit the pieces and take their turn. The sensory aspect of these fuzzy farm puzzles also adds a sensory element, with different textures for babies to explore and develop their dexterity.
A great way to bond is through helping your grandchild to foster a love of reading. Books like the Busy range that feature interactive parts such as flaps, sliders and tabs also engage a baby’s natural curiosity, encouraging them to reach out and coordinate the small muscles in their hands and fingers. As you read the book to them, they also will start to learn valuable language skills as they hear you sound out different words.
For 2 - 5 Years
Construction toys that you can build with in different ways are great for playing together as everyone can enjoy the art of block stacking, and they offer lots of versatility for creative problem-solving. Chunky, magnetic construction blocks are great for toddlers and preschoolers as they provide stability in their stacking, helping them to develop important coordination and balance. The building ideas and picture task cards included with Magicube allow you to create different sea animals by mixing and matching the blocks.
Trying your hand at baking with children is a great way to foster their interest at a young age. While they may not realise it, baking is brilliant for stimulating the brain as it involves using maths (i.e. measurement) counting, and the understanding of logical thinking when following a recipe.
It also offers a lovely way to bond if you complete the activity together, and the finished product offers a great sense of achievement as well as something sweet for the family to eat and enjoy!
Creative sets that offer the opportunity for storytelling are a great bonding activity as they get you involved in children’s vivid, imaginary worlds. Making up their own stories is one of the most powerful ways children learn to express themselves and communicate.
Mag Play is a set which allows you to construct a creative scene out of magnetic shapes, following the cards or designing your own.
For 6 years and up
Games that encourage us to get active are good fun, set a good example for children and also stimulate our brains by requiring us to react quickly and use our hand-eye coordination.
Hop Skip Jump offers versatility as it can be played both outdoors and indoors and will get the whole family thinking, laughing and moving.
Robot toys such as Artie 3000 are a great way to introduce your grandchild to coding and programming. As children successfully get the robot to create shapes and patterns as a result of their actions, they are underpinning their maths and technology learning with creativity and design, which is an important aspect of STEAM learning.
You can also have fun learning about the technology needed to work the robot. Grandchildren will enjoy being able to show off what they know, building their confidence as they explain how it works to you.
GraviTrax sets are proven to be a hit with both children and adults alike and are a great way to experiment and develop an understanding of key scientific concepts which complement the school curriculum, like gravity, magnetism and kinetic energy.
The sets come with a complex amount of pieces, providing good value as the creative possibilities are endless and resulting in lots of problem-solving to build the tracks.
Choosing the perfect Christmas gift for grandchildren can be challenging when there are so many different types of toys and activities available. It is important to find the balance between something educational and fun that is going to provide value for children as they grow.
However, we think finding an activity that can allow you to play together can be just as beneficial. The simple joy of play is a fantastic common ground for different generations to connect over, allowing you both to reap the social rewards.