In the words of Tim Minchin, “I really like Christmas”. More specifically, I really like Christmas presents. Yet more specifically, I really like giving Christmas presents. Christmas presents get a pretty bad rap in contemporary society. They’re portrayed as symbols of greed and selfishness that cause parents around the world to jump through unaffordably expensive hoops, burying themselves under mountains of oppressive debt to appease their tyrannical kids. While there’s an absolutely valid argument that the holiday season puts pressure on parents to spend money that they can’t always afford to part with, it’s a blatant misconception to imagine that every parent bought by a loving parent for a loving child is a sacrifice to the Gods of Avarice.
The truth is that a lot of kids presents on the market are not only surprisingly educational (even the ones not marketed as educational) but can strengthen the bond between parent and child as you discover and play with them together. Any of these oft-requested presents will not only enrich your child’s life but bring you one step closer to them.
Many parents regard video games as a damaging vice that turns children into antisocial monsters, but nothing could be further from the truth. Gaming, as part of a balanced diet of indoor and outdoor activities, can be a fun way for your children to develop their concentration and cognitive skills. So long as you keep gaming sessions to a reasonable time (an hour or less), and ensure that they play wholesome and age-appropriate games parents have nothing to fear from consoles. Many two player games also offer parents a great opportunity to bond with their kids. If you’re unsure which are the right games for you and your kids, anything with “Lego” in the title is a safe bet. Which brings us to…
Lego has a great many educational benefits for children of all ages. As well as encouraging logic skills and creative problem solving it also allows kids to let their imaginations run wild. For older and more mature kids, Lego ways is a more architectural spin on the interlocking blocks. Parents can go by the book and show their children the joys of watching a Millennium Falcon or Batmobile take shape, or they can shake things up and let their kids “freestyle” so that their only limit is their imagination. Lego’s versatility makes it appropriate for virtually any age. Indeed, there’s a whole subculture of adults who never let go of their childhood Lego obsession. So long as you don’t step on it, these unassuming blocks can facilitate hours of fun and learn together.
Many parents shy away from action figures as they may lead children towards play that encourages violence or crude gender stereotyping. But the fact is that you can influence your kids’ outlook by joining in on their play. You can encourage them to value and empower female characters, seek non-violent ways of saving the world from the bad guys and use their favorite fictional characters as a framework upon which you can model positive social values.
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