10 Smart Holiday Gifts That Will Delight Your Child and Build His Character Too

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Wouldn’t you agree that when you buy a gift for your child, you want it to light up his face?

At the same time, you don't want to contribute to the build-up of toys and general stuff that seems to clutter most children's rooms today, nor do you want to contribute to what I call the Spoiled Brat syndrome. 

The Spoiled Brat syndrome is when a kid gets so much that he expects more and more and never learns to appreciate anything, least of all YOU!

Below is a list of ten gifts that will delight your child, teach him life skills that build his character, and I guarantee, they will not ruin him!

These gifts are perfect for holidays, but they can be given on special occasions too.

1. The Proverbial Book

Most young children enjoy receiving a book as a gift. For a special occasion, and when your child is a little older, buy either a beautiful edition of a book with leather binding or consider a fancy edition of the book with a slipcase.

If your child is younger, then choose a cleverly illustrated book like Mother Goose by Silvia Long or Aesop’s Fables by Chronicle Books. For a gift, I would NEVER buy anything but a classic. Make it special!

Learning to read difficult literature is key to a good education, and the best place to begin is with the classics. The classics also bring your child face-to-face with good and bad characters, and he’ll learn right-side-up morality: the good guy wins. 

2. Brain Cells at Work

No child ever tires of putting together a puzzle, and how wonderful it is for the budding brain cells. Your child will develop his reasoning and problem-solving skills, he exercises his hand-eye coordination, he builds his sensory/motor skills (lots of pinching, picking, and putting tasks involved), and he feels happy when he accomplishes his feat.

The latter also helps to build his confidence, otherwise referred to as "self-esteem." Who would have thought your child could gain so much just from putting together a puzzle?!

The wooden puzzle sets by Melissa and Doug are all-time favorites too for younger children. 

3. Rainy Day Activities

Rainy days and long summer nights are always perfect times for playing board games. Depending upon your child's age, you can get him various board games that he'll enjoy playing with his siblings or friends or with the entire family.

Think of games like Chutes and Ladders, Checkers, and even chess. Board games are perfect for building social skills, especially the graciousness a child needs to learn when he wins and when he loses. 

4. Discovering Where Timbuktu Is

Children love playing cards. If you'd like to contribute to your child's education, buying a card game that teaches him the countries of the world or the fifty states and capitals is perfect.

Tragically, most children don't learn much geography anymore. You will soar in his memory years later when he has your card game to thank for the fact that he can name all the fifty states and their capitals, something few Americans under sixty can do. 

5. Playing Queen for the Day

 A jewelry-making set is a present better suited for girls because girls love their jewelry! Making jewelry is a lot of fun; it's creative, and the jewelry can be given away as gifts, so children also learn the much-appreciated virtue of generosity. This kit is complete, and the price is reasonable too: Girls Jewelry Making Kit


6. Rocket Man

And boys love rockets. Actually, all the children will have fun making this rocket from something as simple as a soda bottle and baking soda. The kit comes with instructions, all the supplies you need, and it's easy to do.

The Water Bottle Model Rocket is suitable for children six through early teens. The water rocket is another activity that if fun to do with other children and encourages cooperation.

7. More Than Just Another Puzzle

Children love brain games. Rubric cubes are a lot of fun, but the wooden brain puzzles are even better. Your child will spend hours trying to figure out the problem, and a child who stays at it long enough will eventually figure it out.

Patience is the name of the game with this kind of puzzle, and patience is a virtue that is essential to life success but often overlooked. A brain puzzle is a perfect way to learn a little patience.

Warning: only buy one puzzle. The kits with multiple puzzles will distract your child’s attention, and he’ll be less likely to figure out how it works. In spite of the additional puzzles, he’ll spend less time trying, too.

8. Stencil Kit

A stencil kit is probably not the first gift that pops into your mind when thinking of a gift for your child, but the truth is that children love to stencil. It's another activity that your child can do ensemble, alone, or even while traveling, and it'll keep him occupied for a good length of time.

Children will naturally compliment each other’s work, too, which is another opportunity to learn generosity and kindness towards others.

9. A Musical Adventure

Many children miss the story of Peter and the Wolf, composed by Sergie Prokofiev. Peter and the Wolf is a classical composition that introduces the musical instruments of a symphony through the story of Peter and the wolf.

Children love to listen to this piece, and they may even show an interest in a particular instrument, which is a great way to get them into the world of classical music.

Musical training will teach your child many virtues, including discipline and perseverance. It also gives him an interest that will elevates his character rather than debase it with more crude forms of music.

Peter and the Wolf is the perfect place to start and the ideal gift for your child.

10. The Gift of Andrew Jackson

When all else fails, there's always the 20 dollar bill. Children love to receive money, so don't feel bad if for some reason you can’t buy something. The 20 dollar bill could turn out to be his favorite gift!

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It's also an excellent way to introduce your child to the value of a dollar and how to spend it wisely on something worthwhile.

The best way to deliver this gift is to buy a money card from your local gift shop and then go to the bank and get a crisp twenty-dollar bill to insert in the card. 

The Don’ts of Buying Children’s Gifts

If you are buying a gift for someone else’s child, you want to be sure to follow these guidelines:

  1. Do not buy any toys that make noise (the parents will never forgive you!)

  2. Do not buy anything electronic (parents are struggling enough with their children and technology)

  3. Do not buy candy (unless you are willing to foot the dentist's bill)

Other than this, if you follow the ideas in the above list, you will not only make yours or someone else’s child very happy, but you’ll contribute towards helping them become better people too. 

Are you wondering what kind of books you should read to your children? Get your free download: Ten Books Every Well-Educated Child Should Read.

Elizabeth Y. Hanson combines her training in alternative medicine, “Love and Leadership” parenting coach certificate, plus 17+ years working in education to provide you with a unique approach to raising and educating your children.

A veteran homeschooler herself, she now has two successfully homeschooled children in college.