Holiday Presents That Help a Child's Development


Recently the education specialists at Primary Children’s Hospital put together a list of gifts that can educate in several areas.

“We should be looking for gifts that encourage creativity, critical thinking, some strategy and planning, cooperation with others and also that are physically active,” said Jody Triptow, education specialist at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Build their creativity

There are plenty of gift options that help a child’s imagination go wild. Building blocks, kinetic sand, musical instruments, sewing and knitting kits.

Coloring books are also good to give young children who are still developing fine motor skills. But blank art pads can help with all kids of all ages.

“Art pads don’t limit you to one particular picture or one way to color things. It just encourages a little more creativity,” Triptow said.

You can expand on the art supplies by giving gifts of chalk, clay, charcoal or origami – items that are beyond the typical crayons and paint.

Think critically

There are puzzles for all age groups and difficulties. You can find the appropriate one or even get a 5,000 piece puzzle that the entire family can work on together.

Triptow said a terrific gift for this category are also some all-time favorites: chess and checkers. Board games also help nurture critical thinking as well.

Cup stacking, where cups are rapidly stacked in pyramid shapes and then quickly collapsed, is another option. She said it adds some pre-planning and critical thinking in the execution of the actions.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Handle Stress This Holiday Season

Physically active

It’s important to keep the body and mind fit. So choose presents that also help their activity level.  Bikes, sports equipment, and games like marbles all help in different intensity levels.

You can also give gift cards to places such as trampoline parks, rock climbing gyms, and ice skating passes.

Safety is still a major emphasis with any kids and activity. Make sure they have the appropriate equipment with any sports.

Foster their intellectual interests

These are the ages where children discover what interests them. So build on that by giving gifts around those areas. Or even, give passes to places that specifically talk about those topics.

If they love animals, then go to zoos and aquariums. If they love space and exploration, there are museums that educate and enhance those interests. Utah has no shortage of learning centers spread throughout the Wasatch Front.

For more helpful tips on providing a healthier environment for your family, visit