If you are like me—and hopefully, at least in this respect, you are not—right about now you are starting to feel that low-grade sense of panic. The gift giving season is upon us and… you have done little about it. Every year I go through the same cycle: I resolve to start and finish my shopping earlier… and then realize that I am woefully behind schedule as the second week of December comes to a close.
However, if you have a gifted child in your life, then help is here! Every day of my professional life I work with gifted students in some fashion and so last week it occurred to me that I could enlist their help in getting you (and me!) some great gift ideas. The question I posed was simple: Leave aside the big ticket items like iTouches and cell phones,… of all the things we have done together in the past school years, are there any you think might make a really great gift? The answer was a resounding yes. In fact, many of my students even told that they were asking for some of the items below for themselves this holiday.
I offer these ideas below for your consideration because they have met three criteria: (1) each is highly and enthusiastically endorsed by the students with whom I work; (2) each offers a real brain-stretching opportunity that might be especially appropriate for gifted learners; and (3) each is readily available to purchase, most just by searching the name of the product at Amazon.com. (Note: while Amazon might be sufficient for finding the products I’ve listed below, I encourage you to take a gander at the original publisher sites for larger, more detailed descriptions of each product.)
I have grouped each of the suggestions below according to different thinking skills. Those skills include: Word/Linguistic Thinking, Visual/Perceptual Thinking, Strategic/Logical Thinking, and Kinesthetic/Hands-On Activities.
Each game or book below lists (in parentheses) the suggested ages for the player as well as the publisher of each. (Links at the bottom of this article will take you to the appropriate publisher.) When it comes to the age listing, I encourage you to take that with a grain of salt. Although the ages selected might seem a tad young (8+, for example), most are highly addictive to players of all ages. (Just ask my wife who won’t let go of my son’s Air Traffic Control game.) Similarly, the game or activity suggested might easily fit any number of categories, not just the one I suggest.
Let the shopping begin!
Word/Linguistic Thinking.Scrabble! A classic! Perhaps a little too classic? And Bananagrams are great, but they’re so 2011. Why not try other games that stretch the cleverness of your gifted child’s linguistic talents. Try these:
Visual/Perceptual Thinking.Build up your child’s (and your own!) ability to distinguish clues offered by a wide variety of visual stimulae. Who knows, maybe your child will be the next CSI investigator!
Strategic/Logical Thinking.Remember those ol’ logic matrix puzzles you used to do when you were young? They're hardly passé, but many other options exist to help build deductive reasoning too.
Kinesthetic/Hands-On Activities.Sometimes it’s best just to get carried away. Leave time for clean-up but enjoy the fun along the way as you build to solve challenges.
While nearly all of these products are available via a quick search at www.amazon.com, consider visiting these publishers for full details.
Calliope Games @ www.calliopegames.com
Educational Insights @ www.educationalinsights.com
Game Wright @ www.gamewright.com
Mattel @ www.mattel.com
MindWare @ www.mindware.com
Pressman Toys @ www.catalog.pressmantoy.com
Prufrock Press @ www.prufrock.com
Set Enterprises @ www.setgame.com
Think Fun @ www.thinkfun.com