Wednesday, December 16, 2020

😷🎄Unplugged Gifts for the Young and the Young at Heart in My Family (Part 1)

If you feel like the kids in your family are still spending too much time in front of their screens, may I make some gifts suggestions that might help them unplug and have fun at the same time? 

First up are activity books. I always put activity books, coloring books and crayons in the kid's stockings. That week off from school sounds like fun, but it can also mean a lot of time watching TV, playing video games, or falling into a internet rabbit hole. Here are some activity books I have purchased this year.

Activity Books
These are all filled with holiday related activities - word games, puzzles, dot-to-dot and more. I don't give sticker books because they take no time to use and once the stickers are finished, the book is tossed aside. I have a nephew who loves Legos, so for him I found The Lego Games Book, and I just might have to join him in some of the challenges, after all, they really look like fun to do.

One of the things I've noticed is that if you open a puzzle and begin working on it, kids will join you. It's a great time to just chat and find pieces. Good conversations about secrets, wishes, dreams, problems, and even the names of a few crushes have occurred over a puzzle. These are three of our recent favorites. They aren't the most well-made puzzles, but they are fun because of the book name recognition and there were some nostalgic conversations about well-loved old favorites. 

National Geographic Kids
Another of my nephews loves National Geographic Kids books and these are the ones I have chosen for this year. They are full of interesting facts, games, quizzes, and of course, National Geographic signature fabulous photography. They keep him busy for hours, and he will return to them again and again because there's just too much to take in all at once. But don't get the impression that these are "boy's books" because girls love them just as much and brothers and sister have been known to sit together and pour over one of these books. 

Nature Books
I began giving one of these Kate Messner books to my youngest nature-loving niece every year since she was 5 (she's 8 now) for Christmas. This year, I will be giving her the newest addition, Over and Under the Rainforest. It is written in the same format as the first three - an adult and child visit an environment and talk about what they observe. They are informative and have inspired us to take a few similar walks of our own locally. 

My Kiddo is also a nature-lover. Right now, she's teaching in China, where she goes on nature walks similar to the walks we took when she was young, and that I take with my niece now. I don't usually send presents to China, but I did this year because she can't come home yet. I chose the backpack because it's great for day trips, and I loved the nature print. There's plenty of room for everything including lunch and a water bottle. I added the notebook, which helps the reader draw what they see, and the Windsor & Newton watercolor paintbox to add color to the drawings, then I included a new pair of binoculars because she said her old ones are broken. 

Some of the kids in my family love to cook, and like puzzles, being together in the kitchen is a great way of getting closer to a child. They are also fans of shows like MasterChef Junior, the Kids Baking Championship, and Chopped Junior, as well as adult cooking shows (because even a kid knows that Ina Garten is a cooking goddess). This year, I found two cookbooks I like. Cooking Class: Global Feast! is perfect for one of the beginners in the family, and one that I hope will introduce her to new tastes and flavors even if some the the recipes aren't super authentic. The other book, by Christina Tosi of MasterChef Junior fame, is full of the kinds of rich, gooey treats she is known for, and sometimes we all just need a dessert made from breakfast cereal. The tween I am giving it to follows Christina Tosi's Bake Club on Instagram almost as religiously as I follow Neal Katyal's Courtside.

Do you have a Star Wars fan to buy a present for? Well, I do and last year, I gave him the first Star War Origami book and a pack of origami paper. It proved to be a lot of fun and even though he didn't make everything, it did keep him busy. So this year, I am giving him Star Wars Origami 2. There are 34 more projects and it is perfect for a 12-year-old fan. Beside clear and easy-to-follow instructions for all the projects and basic origami terms, there is also Star Wars trivia throughout as well as Matchups to test your movie knowledge, and detailed descriptions of characters or objects for each project. In addition, the projects are listed in order from easy to very difficult, and a big bonus is the 72 uniquely printed papers to really bring your origami Star Wars world to life. 

The Baugh's are nothing if not a large family, so I'll be continuing my unplugged gifts for the kids of all ages that I am related to in another post. I love picking out the perfect gift for people, and even if it isn't as perfect as I think it is, if it's close enough to make someone happy, that's good enough for me.   

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