The holidays are nearly upon us, Christmas is right around the corner! I’ve started my shopping, and as I was planning out what my children will be receiving, I thought it might be fun and helpful to share some ideas here with you. I like to try and find interesting, and sneakily educational gifts for my children. My goal is to have a house full of fascinating things to tempt them away from the video games and television when they are looking for things to do. I’ll be doing this as a series over the next week, and I’ll divide the posts by subject matter.
Today I want to share some Language Arts inspired gift ideas.
One of our favorite things over the years has been this Magnetic Poetry.
I bought the kids a magnetic poetry set, thinking it would be a sneaky way to get them to play with words without actually writing. We didn’t make a production of it, just opened the box and slapped all of the words onto the fridge. I put a couple random words together so they’d see the potential.
This is some of what they have come up with. I figure, at least they are playing with words, right?
There are also several add-on kits that you can purchase to add a different element to your poetry. You can get the Magnetic Poetry Kit: Book Lover kit, the Nature Poet Magnetic Poetry Kit, the Magnetic Poetry Kit: Shakespeare and even a Magnetic Poetry Zombie kit. The possibilities are endless (or at least as endless as the size of your refrigerator!).
If you have a budding writer already, and you want to encourage them in their writing, you might consider something like Finish This Book or The Imaginary World Of… by Keri Smith. These books are a great way to help your child come up with new or different things to write about. They are full of prompts that encourage your creativity.
I love that Smith encourages you to “mess up” the book, perfect for those perfectionists who are rattled by the idea of making a mistake, because it’s the mistakes that make this book special. I would suggest that if you buy one of these for your child, buy one for yourself as well. Sometimes our children need to see us being creative! Plus, it’s really fun. 😉
If your budding writer is into fantasy, then you absolutely must get them Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. This book is gorgeous – and it is chock full of fantastic illustrations and inspiration for creating amazing works of fantastical fiction. You may wish to pair it with How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps: Step by Step Cartography for Gamers and Fans, if they want to learn to develop their fantasy map making skills. 😉
If you want a fun way to sneak in some spelling practice, why not try Scrabble Classic? Some days I skip spelling lessons entirely and just play a few rounds of Scrabble instead. This is especially great on those rough days when no one is in the mood for actual lessons. You can even purchase additional Scrabble Tiles to add more letters to your game or even to just practice your spelling words (without the game board).
We’ve also really enjoyed Spelligator and Zingo! Word Builder too. There are so many fun ways to practice spelling!
Does your younger child aspire to write their own books someday? You might want to give them Lulu Jr. Illustory Book Making Kit. This is a really neat kit – your child can write and illustrate their story, then you send it off (or create it online) to have it professionally printed into their very own hard cover picture book, written by them!
If storytelling is a fun past-time for your child, they would likely enjoy Rory’s Story Cubes. These cubes are portable (great for long car trips) and so much fun. You can create an endless variety of stories – either on their own, or as a fun group activity. Is your child stuck on what to do next in their story? Use the story cubes to break through writer’s block! I think my favorite thing about this game is that there is no wrong way to use it and there are no wrong answers. Anything goes, because it’s all about being creative!
And of course, if we’re talking about Language Arts, I can’t skip reading! Some of our favorite books that would make great gifts:
We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) – You really can’t go wrong with the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems. We are huge Mo Willem fans at our house. These are great for budding readers, and just as much fun as read alouds. This is my personal favorite, but we have several and they are all fantastic.
One Day on a Dot – I love this picture book, it tells the story of where we came from, from the Big Bang to the rise of human civilizations with gorgeous illustrations. This is a great read aloud picture book and would make a perfect tie-in with our Prehistory unit study!
Bedtime Math – If you haven’t checked out the Bedtime Math series yet, what are you waiting for? These books are aimed at lower elementary ages and their goal is to make math a fun part of children’s everyday lives. Each two page spread offers a word problem story along with questions to engage children of different ages from wee ones to big kids. These would make a fun addition to your morning baskets!
My Monster Mama Loves Me So – This is my 10 year old’s all-time favorite picture book. We’ve read our copy to tatters. It’s a sweet rhyming story about a little monster child and how much his mother loves him. It’s sweet and funny with adorable illustrations.
The Wild Robot series – This duology (possibly trilogy??) is my 10 year old’s current favorite series. We devoured the first one in just a week and we have just started reading the sequel. The first book introduces us to Roz – a robot who was accidentally abandoned on an island where she has to learn to adapt in the wild. It’s a sweet and exciting story with so much potential for following rabbit trails!
I’m sure you are collecting the Illustrated Harry Potter series just like we are, right? The 4th book – Goblet of Fire was released just last month. These are gorgeous editions. Whether your child is a die-hard Potterhead or hasn’t been introduced to the series yet, you should absolutely have these on your bookshelves!
Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare – Containing six of Shakespeare’s famous plays written in prose for children, this book is beautiful. Exposing children to Shakespeare as lovely tales will aid them later when they read his original works. Knowing the plot and characters will make the language that much easier to understand. The illustrations are lovely, the stories are written in easy to understand language, but they don’t lose any of their power as great stories. This book is definitely not to be missed.
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky – I adore what Rick Riordan is doing with his publishing imprint. This is the latest book released and it is fabulous. Tristan Strong is a boy who is dealing with the death of his best friend when he’s sucked into a world where the stories he grew up hearing from his grandmother have come to life. It’s a beautifully told story about grief and finding the strength to face difficult challenges while weaving African American folklore and a rollicking adventure. This was my favorite middle grade I’ve read this year, and everyone should read it!
The next article in the series will list gift ideas for your budding scientist, so stay tuned!
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