Easter is a couple of weeks away and we’re rushing around trying to decide what to fill our little one’s baskets with this year. We know candy and toys are fun and always appreciated by kids, but what about adding an educational gift or two this time around? Gifts like books that teach reading comprehension or sensory play items will make a big impact and show kids that learning can be fun.
Card games provide hidden learning
Card games are a great way for kids to learn while having fun! They’re small and easy to tuck into an Easter basket along with candy and other little treats. Card games such as Uno teach kids about numbers and colors. Old Maid teaches numbers, matching to make pairs of cards. You can use a regular deck of cards or get a fun picture deck of Old Maid for a more kid-friendly version. Go Fish can be played with any standard deck of cards and teaches children numbers, matching and how to ask for something in a public space. Shy kids will benefit from this game just by speaking up and asking questions with their friends, family or people they are comfortable being around.
Books teach reading, mindfulness and life lessons
Books obviously teach reading and word comprehension, but story time is also a good opportunity to bond with your kids. Time together reading with your little ones is not just educational, but also gives you quality time together away from TV or electronic devices. Books also have sensory qualities, as they teach young kids to turn pages and hold an item in their small hands. The experience of sitting with you while reading to each other will make lasting memories for everyone involved.
A small story book is the perfect Easter basket treat. Hard cover books can easily be stacked behind smaller items, while soft cover versions can be rolled up to save space for other goodies. Personalized books make for extra special reading, as they have your child’s very own name running throughout the entire story. Imagine the look of surprise and joy you’ll get when they realize this book was made just for them!
It’s time for slime
If your little one is into sensory play, making their own slime can be lots of fun. There are tons of slime recipes on the interwebs, just do a quick search and you’ll be shocked at how many you find. Is your kid into unicorns? How about glitter? There’s even a recipe for edible pudding slime! It’s easy to make a goody bag filled with the ingredients and a recipe card for DIY slime and pop it into the kids’ Easter baskets. Slime teaches kids to make something following a recipe, which takes reading and focus. Younger kiddos who can’t yet read will need some help with this, but that just means spending more fun time with you. Make sure to get some small plastic or glass containers for slime storage. Once the littles start making slime, they won’t want to stop. They’ll realize they need different colors and add-ins with every new batch.
Unplugged indoor activities
Coloring books, sketchbooks and puzzles are fun additions to an Easter basket that don’t require batteries. These items teach kids to relax, unplug and unwind. Coloring and activity books show kids hand-eye coordination, as well as using colors to make things pleasing to them. Kiddos will feel accomplished when finishing a page, too. Added bonus: when you put their completed pages up on display for everyone to see!
Sketchbooks and journals are great for kids who like to doodle, write or draw outside the lines. Lines? We don’t need no stinking lines! Drawing and coloring without lines teaches them to be free with their creative expression. This can help to build confidence in all aspects of their lives. Grab sketchbooks for the whole family and get everyone together for an after dinner doodle sesh!
Puzzles are another toy where the education is hidden behind just having a good time. Children are just enjoying finding the next piece to see where it fits, but are really learning motor skills, persistence and patience. Chunky wooden puzzles are great for little hands, while puzzles with smaller pieces are good for kids of all ages.
So this year, throw in a little educational gift next to the chocolate bunny and see how it goes! Should be interesting to see if the kids know their new gift is teaching them something or if it’s just good fun. It’ll kind of be like when you sneak spinach into their morning smoothie — it’s delicious AND nutritious, whether they know it or not. These gifts are also great when April showers hit and you’re stuck indoors. When your kiddos complain that they’re bored or tired of (insert their favorite game/show/toy here), stow away the devices and pull out that Easter basket of good and educational stuff!