We all know kids are drawn to electronics, but as Psychology Today points out, too much time staring at electronic gadgetry can be
detrimental. It seems their brains can be altered physically as well as emotionally, changing how they process information — and not for the better. With that in mind, why not make the next round of gifts gadget-free? Here are some ideas that are fun, educational, and affordable.
Music to Their Ears
Whether your child is a budding Mozart or just makes a joyful noise, music lessons can be a boon. It can be instrumental (pun intended!) in developing their math skills, coordination, discipline, and even can improve their short- and long-term memory. Used instruments are a budget-friendly option if your child already has a favorite instrument in mind, or if things are undecided consider renting so your youngster can make a test drive. Lessons might sound like the expensive part, but guess what? You can get lessons for next to nothing. Check around for group lessons, rec centers, and faith organizations for opportunities near you. Even the Salvation Army is an option for music lessons, particularly for brass players.
Pop Some Tags
Kids love to pretend play, and it’s jam-packed with benefits, encouraging abilities like creativity, problem-solving, language skills, and social development. Why not build your kiddo a prop box, filled to the brim with imagination-sparking fodder? Head to your local thrift shop and see what you can find! Hats, glasses, jewelry, scarves, and all sorts of goodies can be had for a song. Fill a trunk or storage tote with your gatherings and wrap it up for under the tree. It’s a low-cost gift with oodles of fun and learning packed inside, and you get some feel-goods for spending a bit of your money at a charity. It’s a win all the way around!
Fit for Fun
Exercise has important benefits for everyone, including kids. In fact, the perks are an important part of their development, helping them to learn motor skills, avoid stress and depression, and learn leadership. Kids who exercise are less apt to experiment with substances and more apt to be fit as adults, so when you get children involved with fitness activities, you set them up for a lifetime of better health and wellness. Unfortunately, all those benefits come with a price, since sometimes the equipment can be costly. But fear not — there are plenty of used sporting goods stores throughout the country, like Play it Again Sports. Or, you can shop online with retailers like SidelineSwap. Whether you’re looking for team sports options like lacrosse or solo fun like snowboarding, there’s something out there for every age and interest. The gently used goodies will leave you with plenty of funds for whatever else you want to put in their stocking this year!
Hit Up Kohl’s
When it comes to a broad selection of learning-oriented toys and gear, few retailers can beat Kohl’s. They have everything from athletic gear and art supplies to STEM and pretend-play toys. They also offer free shipping when you spend $50 or more, and The SmartShopper notes with Kohl’s saving tips you can stretch your dollars even further. Special clearance events, promos, cash back — you name it, there are several ways to save! And if you’re doing your shopping on the last-minute side, you can place your order online, then pick up for free in the store.
This year, plan to give your kids things that are fun and educational. Encourage them musically, spark their imaginations, keep them fit, and snag some learning-oriented toys with dollar-stretching savings. It’ll be the best holiday season ever for you, your kids, and your wallet!