As parents and grandparents, we would like to help children learn through play. The holidays present an opportunity to provide gifts that allow them to imagine, create and explore. But finding ways to make your holiday gift stand out takes some thought about what would make the young recipient happy.
Merchants in your mailbox or computer help you choose just the right thing by flipping through their catalog or visiting their website. From the MetKids (The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store) to Cricket (Cricket Magazine Group) to Discovery Channel Store to Young Explorers, catalogs may help you find just the right gift to make a difference in a child's life by inspiring him or her to read, make music, draw, build, create, imagine and explore.
Spending parental energy on teaching the child good manners, respect for authority and other practical life skills is important. Knowing right from left and right from wrong matters. How to pay attention to an adult leads to basic manners. Entering a room quietly, knowing how to tie shoes, listening to an adult read a story and patiently wait their turn opens the door to learning.
Helping children develop concentration and task commitment along with a love for work is a cornerstone of the Montessori approach. Montessori fosters creativity, self-confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit according to its graduates. Here is what a couple of successful grads have to say:
When Barbara Walters interviewed Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, they didn't attribute their remarkable success to universities, like Sanford or Michigan, but give credit to their Montessori schools. According to Brin, the Montessori approach instilled in them self-direction and self-motivation, an inclination to challenge the status quo and to do things differently.
The Internet has become deeply embedded in our daily lives...even for 5-year olds.
My grandson, who was 5 in August, loves to play games on kids' websites. He is beginning to read what's on the computer screen, as well as in his library of children's books. Today, 71 percent of American households have Web access and that is where many children spend their time at play. That's why an online book club for kids may be of interest to the young people in your life. I encourage you to take a moment to check out a sample kid's story and enjoy the holiday spirit in the midst of the busyness around us all at this time of the year.