I have two boys, one six and the other eight. When I ask them what they want from Father Christmas, the eight-year-old wishes for a specific Lego set, and he knows already it’s price from his own research either on the Internet or in the toy shops. The smaller one asks for something that we deny him the rest of the year: a goldfish, hoping that Christmas is the right time to finally have a real pet. He has a long history, in his six years of life, of wishing for pets, and until now he has only had electronic ones, but I think a nice, lively fish is now possible.
Both like to build things and to play games, especially if we play with them, and they play a lot with each other. This weekend they decided to build Lego caravans with the big Duplo set that they had when they were younger. The caravan idea came from their father, who would like to buy a caravan, and they are excited by that idea. It’s very interesting to have a caravan for travel, and they simulate the situations and even the facilities that the caravan will have, like a swimming pool and a terrace.
The youngest is fascinated to watch his brother building, very quickly, a highly-equipped caravan. Playing is also telling a story and creating a reality. Girls also like to play with a narrative, of course, and enjoy Duplo and Lego, too.
Electronic toys are always very attractive, but the danger is that they can encourage a child to isolate himself. However, it’s almost impossible to resist all of the interesting things that we see on the market, and some are educational and can also be played with as a family.
One Christmas I found a big Playmobil pirate boat in a second-hand shop, big with lots of details, like gold coins and hidden places just like we would imagine such a ship to have. It was in very good condition and the price was affordable. The boat was a success that year and is still used. In the middle of so many cars and pieces of Lego, it has a presence.
I think that if I had two girls instead, I would buy a very beautiful doll’s house. I already asked my eldest son, while looking at the Lego catalogue, if he wasn’t interested in the Dracula’s house, which, in the middle of all the spaceships, seemed more interesting, at least to me.
I asked a friend of mine, who is also a primary school teacher, what ideas she could give me for Christmas presents for this age group, and she gave me some suggestions:
- Games and objects that help the child to investigate, like binoculars or a compass. I think she was thinking how important it is for a child to participate in open air activities, to have contact with nature and also develop social skills.
- She also gave me the idea of a collection book, or a thematic sticker book and also experiment sets or material that helps children to make small experiments in an organized way using their school skills.
- A digital camera – they love to take photos.
- Games like Monopoly; it’s interesting to play with money. Uno is also a good game.
- Electronic diary
- Musical instrument and music lessons
- Dance/Ballet classes
- Martial arts classes
- Nice boxes to keep their toys
- Cooking books for children and something fun for them to cook
- A plant to take care or seeds with material to grow one
- More expensive than normal, “cool” or beautiful clothes
- Books with narratives and also reference books like an encyclopaedia or an atlas; see our booklist for kids.
- A personal present, like a picture frame with a photo of the child, could be also a very good way to show that they are a little star in our world.
- They also like to know about the origin of their names and their family history; an album for photos of the family could also be a good idea.
- A pet and an iPad mini – those are the wishes of my two sons.
By Albina Nogueira
Albina Nogueira has been a primary school teacher since 1992, and a mother, writer and illustrator since 2006. She currently lives in Switzerland, but her homeland is Portugal. She is the author of Letters to Grandparents and Hairdresser. To find out more, visit: her blog or see her books on Amazon.