Not to brag or anything, but I really pride myself on being a thoughtful gift-giver. When a family member, friend, or co-worker unwraps a present and their face lights up, it makes me feel all warm and toasty inside. In everyone’s life, though, there’s always one or two people that are hard to shop for. It can be even trickier when you have a little guy or girl who has unique tastes. A case like this calls for some research, so I tapped into the best resource I could find when it comes to getting the dirt on what kids really like– our Cloverleaf teachers! Emily, Jason, Jen, and Jessie spend 35+ hours each week with our kiddos. They know what toys, products, and games the students most value– and which ones have staying power. I hope this list sparks some ideas for the remainder of your holiday shopping!
Cloverleaf Students’ Top 10 Favorites
1. The Original Perplexus– This colorful maze game challenges players to use visual and fine motor skills to navigate a tiny marble from beginning to end. Bonus: All the pieces are contained, so there’s no mess to worry about!
2. Cardboard Building Blocks– These “bricks” are simple, but provide hours of fun! Our students enjoy building forts or castles, stacking them into tall towers, and even use them to make obstacles in our Sensory Room.
3. Liquid Timers- While our students are partial to the one they call “green honey” (pictured), there are several colorful timers to choose from. We use these at Cloverleaf as visual engine helpers to keep students’ engines running just right. To find the one that will delight someone on your shopping list, just search “liquid timer” on your favorite search engine.
4. K’Nex– It’s no secret our students love to build. K’Nex steps things up to a more advanced construction level for older kids. Of course, if you have a little one (age 3+), they also have K’Nex Kids sets.
5. Exercise Ball– These over-sized balls aren’t just for adults! Our students love to use them as an active seating option when doing table work or in circle time. They also have great fun using them to play catch or to just roll around on!
6. BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.– This web site has amazing educational content in videos, quizzes, games, and more. The year’s subscription may seem a little pricey, but if you have a burgeoning scientist or geography buff on your hands, they will find plenty of safe and fun entertainment here.
7. Fidgets- From rainbow wooden puzzles to liquid-filled stress balls, our students love fidgets. At Cloverleaf, we encourage students to “fidget to focus,” if that helps them stay engaged during circle, times of oral instruction, or when waiting their turn. The most popular fidgets are like the one pictured, that give multiple sensory inputs.
8. Legos– As if I could talk about kids’ favorite toys and NOT mention Legos! These incredibly popular bricks spark children’s imaginations like nothing else I’ve ever seen. They’re a builder’s dream.
9. Medicine Ball– Another adult exercising tool our kids love! Partial to the soft vinyl covered medicine balls, students request to play with these when they need to calm or boost their engines. The weight provides great input and heavy work when catching, throwing, or rolling.
10. Train Set– Our students love, love, love our school train set. Beyond building the track and moving the trains, the kids get very involved in planning the city around the track. Disagreements inevitably pop up (for instance, whether the fire station should be closer to the school or the hospital), providing great opportunities for problem solving and compromise. (Helpful hint: If you are buying for more than one child, make sure you buy more than one engine car!)