Holiday Gift Ideas!

This educational holiday gift guide is a curated list of materials that my family has personally used and loved! When I choose toys for my children I focus on open-ended materials, games, and toys that encourage outdoor play.

Block Play

If you have my Wild Math Kindergarten or Wild Math First Grade Curriculums then you know that I am a huge proponent of block play! Block play is one of the most powerful ways children can build all kinds of math skills including visual-spatial skills, geometry, fractions, subitizing, quantity, counting, etc.

 

Playing with PicassoTiles Marble Run (though they are the size of golf balls, not marbles)

Magnetic Tiles. I have found the more tiles you have the better! We probably have at least four sets for two kids. The more they have the bigger and more creative they can be. That said we added to our collection over several birthdays and holidays! We have several brands and they are all equally good!

Picasso Tiles Marble Run These were such a great extension to our magnetic tile set.

Magnatiles: Pentagons and Rhombus I love these because they add more geometric shapes and increase the types of 3D shapes can create! You can also use them when studying polygons.

Playmags Dome set Add curves and spheres to your magnetic tiles.

 

Playing with wood unit blocks and wood train tracks.

Unit Blocks (minimum 2 sets) The classic. Again, quantity makes a difference here. I have found these blocks on Craigslist so keep an eye out and then so you are able to affordably add more blocks to your collection. A large collection is much more attractive to children and they can do so much more with them! These blocks are all mathematically designed based on a single “unit” block. This allows children to use fractions and substitute/trade blocks using fractions without them even knowing! Other places to get large heirloom quality unit blooks are Community Playthings, Lakeshore Learning, Vermont Wooden Toys. (Not affiliated to any of these). Many of these companies also sell pieces individually. So if you want more of a particular block you can order them.
Sumbloxs (not an affiliate) are mathematically accurate number-shaped blocks you can teach all kinds of math concepts from addition to fractions!

Keva Blocks Great for budding architects. Each piece is the same size and they challenge kids and adults to build in a completely different way than other types of blocks. I find older 7-12-year-olds really like these.

Wood marble run Introduce physics and gravity into block play! Do not get if you have young children as the marbles are a choking hazard.

Wood trains

My kids like to recreate subways and train stations that they have seen in big cities like New York using Unit Blocks like above with the train tracks and battery-operated trains.

Huge set of affordable wood tracks

Battery-operated train car from Brio. My “older” kids love using these to build subways with unit blocks.

Outdoor Toys and Materials

Morakniv knives These are great knives. Straight blades are safer than hinged ones. My children started using knives with the blunt tip style as preschoolers under close supervision. Around 7/8 they are able to use a knife safely without supervision. At 8 and 11 they really like to carve.

Spoon carving kit

Large Garden tools and Small Garden tools These are essential if you garden and need to keep kids busy

Beakers are a great addition to the mud kitchen/play area and encourage math and measurement skills.

Sleds If you live in a snowy place these are essential. We need to get new ones every couple of years (too many crashes!)

Rope for fort building/lashing. It may seem strange, but giving children open-ended materials such as rope and duct tape really allows them to be creative and is better than any toy!

Swing Swinging is so good for children’s sensory development!

Hanging triangle climber We bought one of these when Taro was 6 and hung it inside for gross motor play in the winter!

Tree or rock climbing holds If you have a place to put these it can be really fun!

Swurfer surf swing This is another indoor gross motor toy we have that both kids have really enjoyed! We alternate the swing with the climber to keep it interesting!

Toys that encourage math-themed play

Balance Scale. A classic! Kids cannot resist when you set this out with various materials inside or out! Weights can be a fun addition to the scale: Ounces/pound and/or Grams

Learning Resources Pretend and Play Cash register. Inspire imaginative play such as stores and restaurants. Add some play money and a checkbook. A great way to practice not only how to write a check, but writing number words!

Wooden Pattern blocks Inspire your child to make all kinds of patterns and designs. Bonus: You can use these in your homeschool when working on geometry!

Magnetic pattern blocks with a Magnetic metal tabletop easel For some reason, these always inspire the most creative designs and get the most use. I love setting these out for my kids to discover. Maybe it is the magnetic easel that makes them so attractive?

Sidewalk Chalk Hands down the easiest way to do some math outside!

Large outdoor 100 chart I love using these maths from Kindly Wild Company indoors and out. You can even hang them on the wall. I also love the ABC mat and 10 frame mats!

 

Creating with Magnetic pattern blocks.

Favorite Board Games

Board games are a favorite inside in the winter and outdoors in the summer! I love board games for encouraging mathematical thinking and practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division without worksheets!

Sleeping Queens

Yahtzee

Blokus

Set

Balance Beans

Zeus on the Loose

Tiny Dot game

Prime Climb

Payday

Money Bags

Haba Secret Code 13+4

 

Playing Blokus in front of the woodstove.

Ticket to Ride Europe

Ticket to Ride First Journey

Splendor

Catan

Catan Jr.

Forbidden Desert

Stratego

Santorini

Above and Below

Carcassonne

Imhotep

Reading

Here are some of our favorites from Wild Reading and homeschooling:)

Phonics Dominos There are short vowels, digraphs, and silly sentence versions!

Moveable Alphabet We have used ours for years! I bought it for my oldest and we still use it!

Magnetic letters These are great to use outside as they can get wet. I store mine in a plastic craft organizer and use it just like the moveable alphabet.

Magnetic poetry really big words

Sidewalk Chalk

 

Using the moveable alphabet

Science/STEM

A quality microscope- I suggest investing in one that will last from age 7 to high school! We have an Amscope.

Beginning Rocketry kit My kids loved building and launching rockets this year!

Snap Circuits These are fun and a great way to learn about electricity and circuits!

Illuminature book– 3 colored lenses reveal night, day and plants in colorful illustrations in different habitats. Both my kids loved this book! There is also anatomy, atlas, and dinosaur versions!

 

Experimenting with the microscope

For more of my recommended games, math materials, and outdoor learning materials including the ones on this gift guide visit my Amazon storefront at www.amazon.com/shop/wildmathcurriculum

Interested in learning more about Wild Learning curriculums or would like to purchase it as a gift for a friend, family member, or teacher? Find out more by visiting discoverwildlearning.com.

*Wild Math participates in the Amazon Affiliate Program.

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