horizon educational gifts kids childrenWhether you’re shopping for toddlers or for 12 year olds on the brink of becoming teenagers, Horizon Education Center has recommendations for gifts that are both fun and educational. Happy shopping!

#1: Gift that’s perfect for any age

Books! Printed books require no batteries, can easily be shared with others – and treasured for a lifetime. According to Scholastic, 73% of youth say they would read more books if they could find ones they liked:

  • Children ages 6-8 prefer books with characters that look like them 
  • Children ages 9-11 enjoy books with a mystery or problem to solve 
  • Preteens and young teens (ages 12-14) appreciate books with smart, strong or brave characters 

The Scholastic study offers more insights in an easy-to-read image. And, if you’re book shopping for toddlers, Education.com has recommendations.

#2 & #3: Popular educational toddler gifts

We love this Amazon.com feature: they allow you to see a list of their most popular products, including bestsellers in toddler learning toys. Each child is different (and so will like different toys), but we’re highlighting two bestsellers here.

We especially like the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Chair because of its Smart Stages technology that allows for modifications as your little one grows. Three different levels of play provide new songs, phrases and sounds, tailored for a particular age or stage, with an illustrated flip-book and light-up remote control with press-able buttons.

Our second choice is the VTech KidiBeats Drum Set that contains three drum pads and a cymbal. Your toddler can play along with nine different melodies (rock, dance or pop) with four different sounds for the LED-lit drums. Modes of play include free play, letters, numbers and follow along.

#4 & #5: Great educational preschooler gifts

For our preschooler recommendations, we turned to EdutainingKids.com – and we love the nostalgia factor of the Lite Brite Four Share Cube. The old fashioned Lite Brite consisted of a single flat surface, but today’s version contains four surfaces in the shape of a cube so your child can create light-up art by himself/herself or beside friends. Or, if your budding maestro likes to flip back and forth between pieces of art, he or she can work on up to four pictures at once.

Then there’s the Leapfrog ClickStart My First Computer that you hook up to the television, with the television screen serving as the computer monitor. This toy comes with a brightly colored wireless keyboard and mouse, plus games that make learning fun – and provide hints, if needed. If you choose, you can buy additional games. You’ll either need to buy the AC adapter or use four AA batteries and four C batteries; the adapter will probably be more economical in the long run. EdutainingKids.com believes this toy is best for 3 to 4 year olds (or very savvy supervised 2 year olds) rather than the 3-6 age range recommended by the manufacturer.

For more recommendations for preschoolers, see this article.

#6 & #7: Cool educational gifts for 5 to 8 year olds

Send your children’s imaginations to the moon – and beyond! The Fun Explorers Rocket Ship by KidKraft features a working top-to-bottom elevator along with more than 25 movable pieces including astronauts, robots, aliens – and even space vehicles for interplanetary exploration. Two moon craters glow in the dark and the entire toy is large enough for your child to enjoy with friends.

If you’re looking for a more active toy, then Hyper Dash Extreme by Wild Planet is for your family. Its multi-level setup allows the game to be adjusted, skill-wise, which is great, and the game can be played indoors (room permitting!) or out. Players hold on to electronic “taggers” and then follow instructions before hurrying to find the correct targets.

Find more gift suggestions here.

#8 & #9: Terrific educational gifts for 9 to 12 year olds

If you’ve decided that a smart phone is appropriate for your child, here are educational apps chosen by Common Sense Media. You’d rather stay away from apps? Here are Amazon editors’ book choices for your 9 to 12 year old.

#10: Another option

It’s hard to go wrong when you consult with the Parents’ Choice Awards website. Here’s more: “Designed to help parents and caregivers of all achievements and backgrounds make informed decisions about which new products are right for their children, the Parents’ Choice Awards is the nation's oldest nonprofit program created to recognize quality children's media. The Parents’ Choice Awards program honors the best material for children: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites. Parents’ Choice Foundation’s panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and, yes, kids themselves, identify the very best products for children of different ages and backgrounds, and of varied skill and interest levels.”

Want to know more about the Horizon Education Center? We provide affordable quality care including educational and enrichment opportunities to the children in the following Northeast Ohio locations.

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