Monday, November 30, 2009

Building Affinities with Holiday Gifts

Unless you spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend on a remote island, you have been bombarded with all sorts of ads, emails, and media stories about the start of the holiday shopping season. Whether you were lined up at the local mall just after you finished your turkey dinner, or will do your shopping online, or even if you are one of the hardy group who hits the stores on Christmas eve, there are some things you might want to keep in mind when shopping for the children on your list.

We believe that having an interest in a particular subject helps to build competence and confidence in children. Whether it is dinosaurs, trains, birds, flowers -- or any other subject -- doesn't matter. What is important is that a child has a chance to study a particular topic, to read about it, to think about it, and to become an "expert"on it in his classroom and in his family.

Gifts that foster a child's affinities, or give him a chance to explore new ones, are far more important and lasting than the latest robotic pet that will entertain for an hour or two before being set aside. Think about what interests a particular child -- and what might start an affinity or interest that will stay with him for years.
Some examples:
  • A beginners collecting kit for rocks, or stamps, or coins
  • Some real artists' chalks and a pad of good paper
  • Beginners' supplies for knitting or sewing
  • Tickets to a show or a trip (with you) to a museum
  • A subscription to a magazine -- from Sports Illustrated for Kids to Calliope, which explores history
Whatever you decide to give, think about how it can help a child think, grow, and foster new interests.

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