Christmas Gift Guide 2013: EDUCATIONAL GIFTS FOR KIDS
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- Published on Thursday, 28 November 2013 11:00
- Last Updated on 27 November 2013
- Monica Costa
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These days children receive too many toys and presents they unwrap and never look at again. Here is a selection of educational gifts that in my view will have a long life and will be appreciated by the whole family. A lot of London Mums’ preferences this year go for games that encourage language learning.
Multi-award winning KLOO has turned learning a language into a game. Using KLOO’s special colour coded cards, players make sentences and learn words in a foreign language to score points. The longer the sentence and the more words you learn, the faster you score. But there is no need to be a language expert in order to play – you can start playing KLOO as an absolute beginner – just be ready for how fast you pick up the language! Within a few games, players can effortlessly learn hundreds of words and how to make tens of thousands of sentences. KLOO is ideal for all ages from 8 to 100 (and wonderful for supporting children in their studies). The game we loved playing the most with is
KLOO’s Race to Paris. This is great when your children are learning French at school and maybe are not too keen to do their French spelling homework at home. I wish I had a game like this when I had to practice my French at school! All KLOO games have multiple decks of cards to learn important topics like “People”, “Food & Drink”, “Places” and “Everyday Objects”. Learning a language has never so much fun and easy. No excuse any more not to know foreign languages fluently! KLOO have Special Vouchers at the moment that can get you up to 20% off KLOO games or free postage. And I love their Facebook page too where you can share your KLOO experiences www.facebook.com/KLOOGAME. Read more about KLOO in our dedicated page.
This year it looks like we have gone mad for French! But actually games to encourage language learning are all the more important as recent research on the brain scans of toddlers at King’s College London have just proved that there is a “critical window” for learning a second language – 0 to 4 years old, and that the brain is actually remodelled by foreign language learning. So “the earlier the better” for learning a second or third language is certainly true, and listening to a CD is an easy way to expose babies to a foreign language and to its sounds. Ongoing scientific research around the world continues to endorse that learning a second language early in life enhances cognitive development in children and leads to significantly better academic results. Babies are certainly linguistic geniuses, and bilingualism boosts your brain power!
So we selected another product that will help kids learn their French. This CD is especially good if they like singing.
Club Petit Pierrot, London’s Premier French Club was established in 1993 by one of our super London Mumpreneur French Stella Bataille, and offers fun French lessons to children from 8 months old across London (Highly recommended by BBC, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express and Time Out). To celebrate being 20 years old Stella has recently launched a new educational CD – “Learn French: Original songs & rhymes for children“. This CD is the result of 20 years unique research and development especially adapting the immersion method in teaching French to young children. The CD has a running time of 59 minutes and contains 30 original French songs and rhymes, as well as 6 traditional songs which have been completely re-worked for a modern, young audience. It is now on sale on Amazon and can be enjoyed by children of all ages, even from birth. The CD includes a 32 page colour booklet with all the French lyrics and a full English translation, as well as tips from Pierrot on how to play with your child and practise at home. It is suitable for babies from 6 months old and even from birth, but older children will appreciate it too with a mix of songs and musical styles.
Here you another way to learn languages and other school topics by a new funky interactive toy with a smartphone brain! Ubooly has recently launched in the UK and essentially is a fluffy sweet and colourful teddy that is powered by either an iPhone or iPod Touch while a jumbo Ubooly works with the iPad mini. With automatic updates over Wi-Fi and voice recognition, Ubooly delivers interactive content that will keep kids active and learning as they play. Its unique platform teaches, plays and grows with your child and boasts one of the best retention scores in the industry. Children engage seven times longer than comparable toys with fun adventures, experiments, jokes and stories. The ‘Smart Toy’ has translated over 250,000 words – equivalent to the length of nearly four novels, to make the experience as rich as possible, while the content itself is designed by a team of educators and therapists. We absolutely adore it!!! Its voice itself is very sweet and inviting. Plus once added your child’s preferences it will ask what he/she wants to learn and suggests ideas for activities. Very smart indeed. And frankly my 7 year old son and I prefer it to the Furby.
With more than 20 lessons and helper packs available children can learn core skills through games and hands-on activities and choose from a variety of interactive educational lessons including Alphabet, Counting, Oceans, Space, French and much more. Customisable and with speech recognition, Ubooly also tells stories, plays games, sings songs and can interact with other uboolies making play and learning social with other children.
Ubooly learns each child’s name, birthday and interests. Parents can also customize Ubooly with educational “Play Packs” which help kids learn their ABCs, counting, basic maths, a foreign language and more. There is also a whole social element to Ubooly as well where two or more uboolies can interact with each other making playtime and learning shared amongst children.
Ubooly, £24.95 and available in Orange, Green and Pink, is now accepting orders on Ubooly.com and is available across Apple stores.
ART & CRAFT GIFTS
Scotch Magic Tape Dispenser Dog (by Scotch 3M)
If your child loves cellotape and dogs as much as my son, this accessory will be a dream gift for this Christmas without breaking the bank. Ralph is a fab accessory to brighten any creative space as he sits obediently on your desk keeping your favourite Scotch® Brand Tape close to hand – and is also rather cute. Every child dreams of having their own dog, Ralph is far less hassle and makes far less mess! 🙂
It is refillable and designed for two handed dispensing. A great addition for art & craft activities as well as for the office or home. The great thing about the tape included is that you can write on it with pen, pencil or marker.
Fabulous Shoes is a charming collection of minature shoe crafts, to indulge every girl’s obsession with shoes! From classic pumps to sassy slippers, each style has its own distinctive presence and personality. While playing with this amazing kit we felt the shoes were too nice to be ruined as Christmas decorations so we will keep them in a box to display to our girlfriends. Really great not to just learn about the different types of shoes (which a woman needs to know!) but also to really learn manual skills. Excellent pressie for a girl from 7 years on.
We all dream of meeting our fave A-list celebs, and with this kit you can now re-create them in your own home! This cute and quirky kit contains an easy-to-follow crochet book with complete instructions to crochet your way through the walk of Fame! Choose from Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Leo and Kate in Titanic and England’s very own James Bond. Also included is all yarn, thread, stuffing and crochet hook to make an immediate start on Elvis, the King of Crochet! It is a fab gift even for the mums (like me) who never tried crochet before and found that it is not that difficult with this kit. This is equally good for both girls and crafty boys. Available on Amazon for £12.99 (totally well spent! great value for money).
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums