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Here at Together Families, we connect Early Childhood Educators, Teachers and Parents. We encourage the sharing of ideas, knowledge and experiences to help build stronger and healthier children and families.

Thrifty Holiday Gifting

Thrifty Holiday Gifting for Young Children

It’s the holiday season and for many of us, that means shopping time. And while the true spirit of this time of the year resides in our hearts and in our time spent with loved ones, there is also a great deal of time spent for gift giving…especially for our little ones! But truthfully, there are some things that are priceless AND timeless that we tend to forget about. So here are a few not so costly items for our little ones that might not have made the gift list this year, but could definitely stand to be revisited.

Bubble wrap: A great sensory play activity. Many children love the popping sound that comes from this classic package accompaniment! It also serves for great texture play and art if added with paint to print! Be mindful of age and maturity, though, as this is plastic. Adult supervision is highly recommended.

Play dough: Store bought can be fun but homemade is where it’s at! There are lots of easy recipes (one being as basic as flour, salt and water) but the results will be magnificent! Many children love molding and using their imagination to create with play dough. If you’re really looking to spruce things up, add a scent like peppermint to get into the holiday spirit!

Books: For some, this may already be on the list. But because literacy is so very important for our young children, it would be silly not to include them on this list! A great way to bond with our children, it also serves as building a level of independence when children are given a wealth of story books, time and space to look at books on their own. It builds a positive relationship with reading that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

The cardboard box: Never underestimate the power of four “walls.” The cardboard box is arguably the most creatively classic toy for young children. How many times have you purchased a large gift and found that your children gravitated to the simple mechanism for imaginative play? A rocket ship, car, fort, and so much more can be created with a little time for play. If you want to get fancy, add some paint to start an ongoing art project.

Time: Time is of the essence and is the essence of the relationships that you build with your children. And they love it! Your undivided attention (even if short) can be all that they need in feeling loved and building confidence. For some parents, even a simple 20 minutes of play-based time led by your child will make a difference in their mood and temperament. Plus, it’s what the holidays (and every day) are all about!

Ashley Jefferson is the early childhood enthusiast and play advocate originally from Boston, Massachusetts. She currently serves as a family and early childhood consultant through her work in the classroom, play groups and local Atlanta events. For more information, please visit www.playenthusiasm.com.

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