Fun and Educational: 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Children & Teens

By: Thea Young, 11th grade student
Still searching for Christmas gifts for your child and/or other children in your life? We’ve got you covered! In this article, Calvary Christian Academy leaders share their top toy and game recommendations that are not only fun for kids, but also have educational value!

If you have any additions to this list, be sure to leave a comment. 🎁

Over 2,000 years ago, humanity received the greatest gift through the birth of Jesus. God’s generosity toward us is what inspires many to bless others with gifts during the Christmas season.

As a parent, one of the best feelings is seeing your child's face light up when opening their new toy on Christmas morning. Well, what if that present not only blew them away with excitement, but also had educational value? Now that's a parenting win!

Educational toys and games can encourage intellectual and even spiritual growth in children, sparking a willingness to learn more and explore subjects further. They can also improve motor and sensory skills, which are critical to a child’s development.

It can be difficult determining which presents are of age-appropriate, educational value without investing a significant amount of time researching. But we’ve got good news! Leaders from CCA’s campuses have done the heavy lifting for you by handpicking their favorite gift ideas that incorporate learning, critical thinking, and fun into the perfect present for your child(ren).

  1. Keva Planks (Ages 3-4)

     
    Recommended by: Jan Lashbrook, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Early Childhood Director

    Building brain power plank by plank. Playing with wooden building planks gives builders first-hand experience with balance, leverage, geometry and principles of physics. KEVA planks are loved around the world by museums, educators, parents and kids who all call KEVA their favorite building toy for its endless ways to play and ability to captivate all ages.

    “These toys spark imagination and help with fine motor skills, which are so needed for a child's development!” –Jan Lashbrook

  2. Hi Ho Cherry-O! (Ages 3+)

     
    Recommended by: Erica Seymore, CCA North Miami’s Assistant Principal

    Kids can have a blast picking pretend fruit from the trees on the game board and filling their buckets. The spinner lets them know the number of pieces to pick – or put back. Kids can have such fun picking fruit to fill their baskets, they don’t even realize they’re practicing math skills, such as counting, addition and subtraction

    “This is the first game that I learned to play as a child. It is a great game for counting and early math skills, using fine motor skills, and developing social skills as a part of group play.” –Erica Seymore

  3. Step2 Best Chefs Kids Kitchen Play Set, Interactive Play with Lights and Sounds, Toddlers 2-5 Years Old, Realistic 25 Piece Toy Accessory Set (Ages 3-4)

     
    Recommended by: Denise Slade, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Assistant Early Childhood Director

    Entertain your kid for hours with this realistic molded-in sink with faucet, large countertop, refrigerator, and oven with working doors. Supports role play, developing social skills, making sense of real-life situations. Includes realistic lights and sounds and 25 kitchen accessories.

    “This toy encourages imaginative play” –Denise Slade

  4. Magnetic Tiles (Ages 3+)

     
    Recommended by: Isabela Guizan Zink, CCA Boynton Beach’s Assistant Director

    Vibrant and amazingly versatile, these high-quality magnetic tiles are just the right size and magnet strength for little hands and perfect for cool learning activities, fun experiments and countless hours of open-ended play.

    “These tiles are so versatile and there are many activities children can do with them.” –Isabela Guizan Zink

  5. Spanish Bingo (Ages 5+)

     
    Recommended by: Stefanie Chadee, CCA Hollywood’s Upper School Assistant Principal

    Start Spanish language-learning early with bingo! Kids practice pronouncing and remembering basic Spanish words as they play a fun game of bingo. Kids engage their memory and language-learning skills as they play. Every round introduces new basic vocabulary, from household objects to food and clothing items. Instructions for several game play options are included to increase the difficulty as kids improve!

    “This game will help build Spanish mastery!” –Stefanie Chadee

  6. Blokus (Ages 7+)

     
    Recommended by: Dawn Vitulli, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Elementary Principal

    Stake your claim and protect your territory by fitting as many of your pieces on the board as possible while strategically blocking your opponents! Perfect strategy game for the whole family – less than a minute to learn with fun challenges for all ages!

    “Board games are a great way to have family fun while encouraging children to develop logical and analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.” –Dawn Vitulli

  7. Electronic Simon Says (Ages 8+)

     
    Recommended by: Pam Walker, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Lower School ESE Director

    Can you remember the flashing light sequences and repeat them correctly? As you get better, the level of difficulty increases. The classic 80's game of quick action, memory and recall is back and has a sleek new look and improved performance.

    “This game will help with memory mastery!” –Pam Walker

  8. Otrio Wood Board Game (Ages 8+)

     
    Recommended by: Kris Hughes, CCA North Miami’s Principal

    Playing Otrio encourages players to cultivate their reasoning, strategizing and critical thinking skills. It is the perfect activity for family game night or as a travel game.

    “Board games are a great way to sneak in learning while having family time. This interactive tic-tac-toe type game promotes critical thinking and strategic skills.” –Kris Hughes

  9. Daily Devotions for Brave Boys (Ages 8-11)
    Wonderfully Made: Girl Devotional (Ages 8-11)

     
    Recommended by: Onesis De La Cruz, CCA Hollywood’s Discipleship Coordinator

    “Daily Devotions for Brave Boys” addresses the timeless themes that every boy meets on the path to Christian manhood. With each turn of the page, your son will come to know and understand how God is working—every day—to grow you into the faithful, brave boy He created him to be.

    "Wonderfully Made" is perfect to read with your child or to allow an early reader explore the hidden treasures of Bible scriptures. Easy text helps to make your daughter’s Bible time as accessible and inviting as possible.

    “These devotionals are very practical and will help kids grow in their spiritual lives.” –Onesis De La Cruz

  10. Rush Hour (Ages 8+)

     
    Recommended by: Aaron Mills, CCA’s Head of Upper Schools

    Rush Hour is the classic traffic jam logic game and one of the all-time most popular STEM toys and gifts. Contains 40 challenges from beginner to expert, a game grid, cars, and a game-go storage bag. Playing through the challenges builds reasoning and planning skills and provides a great stealth learning experience for young players.

    “I loved this mind boggler when I was younger and am still challenged when working to complete the puzzles today! And there are at least three expansion packs to keep the puzzle sleuthing going!” –Aaron Mills

  11. Acoustic Guitar Starter Set Bundle and The Fender Play App (Ages 8+)

     
    Recommended by: Dr. Jason Rachels, CCA President

    This full-size guitar is perfect for beginners and experienced players alike, with a dreadnought shape that produces a pleasant, warm tone. No need to purchase any additional accessories, this all-inclusive set comes with a carrying case, extra strings, a strap with a pick holder, a tuner, pick guard, cleaning cloth, capo, and pick set.

    Fender Play® is your one-stop online guitar teacher for starting your guitar, bass, and/or ukulele learning journey. Created by the most trusted name in music; you can expect a robust, guided curriculum to jumpstart your playing ability as a beginner or intermediate player.

    “Whether you buy your child an acoustic or an electric guitar, the Fender Play app will provide them with the opportunity to learn at their own pace in a very interactive way. I wish this had been around when I was learning to play guitar back in college.” –Dr. Jason Rachels

  12. Gravity Maze (Ages 8-15)

     
    Recommended by: Ashley West, CCA Fort Lauderdale’s Elementary Discipleship Coordinator

    Gravity Maze is a gravity powered maze game that comes with 60 challenges of increasing difficulty, from beginner to expert, and makes a great birthday or holiday present for kids who like puzzles, smart games and challenging activities. This game is built to develop critical thinking skills and tie into STEM subjects like science and engineering. Playing through the increasingly difficult brain teaser style challenges will sharpen your child’s mind by improving logical reasoning, spatial reasoning and planning skills, all through fun gameplay.

    “This gift exercises a child's brain, helps them develop critical thinking skills, and provides hours of screen-free entertainment!” –Ashley West

There you have it! We hope these gift ideas help you as you wrap up your Christmas shopping and allow the children in your life to experience the joy of learning in an exciting new way.

If you have any additions to this list, be sure to leave a comment. 🎁

Merry Christmas!
 
 
Thea Young is an 11th grade student who attends CCA’s Fort Lauderdale campus. Thea is very involved with the community and loves to help others around her. She is involved in several fundraising organizations locally, and in school. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, yoga, and playing the guitar. Thea hopes to major in communications, public relations, or psychology when she attends college.

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