Before my daughter turned six, all she wanted were things that sparkled and glittered. She still does, but now that she owns everything sparkly made within the past five years, she’s learned to branch out to less colorful, cognitive play things, like board games. It does require us, as parents, to expand our patience and play the games with her countless times, and to let her win, sometimes. We have also learned to make it fun: My husband and I play Apples to Apples (Disney edition) like a game within a game, us against each other and wife vs. husband–a game to see who knows our daughter better. A funny moment was when she was the judge for the word ‘trustworthy’ and the cards he and I put down were ‘fireworks’ and something that actually related to trustworthiness. She looked at the cards with a serious expression and said, “Hm, these are both really good,” and proceeded to choose ‘fireworks,’ which was my card. It was such a funny moment as my husband sat there with mouth agape. Why did I put ‘fireworks’ down for ‘trustworthy’? Because I had no cards related to trustworthiness, and out of all my cards it was the sparkliest, which I thought would intrigue her. And I was right! haha. She is the most trustworthy to choose the pretty cards, and fireworks was pretty trustworthy to her. No matter what the word is, she will always choose the princess card and anything cute or pretty; so when it’s me against him as our daughter plays the judge, it’s ultimately about who has the prettiest card.
Anyway, here are some things she has enjoyed this year and I hope may give you ideas for the girl in your life who is of similar age.
- Board games. The junior games are perfect introductions to learning the adult versions. Monopoly has so many themes, I’m sure you can find one to your kid’s liking. And chess! Have you watched The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix? I never learned to play chess, or any board games for that matter, and the show has sparked my interest. I started reading about how to play, but reading about a game is confusing and I couldn’t wrap my head around all the different moves without physically seeing how they would play out. If I get the chess board, my daughter and I can learn together. [Monopoly Jr., Apples to Apples (Disney Edition), Scrabbles Jr., chess board]
- Book sets. My friend recently held an Usborne book party online and I bought my daughter several sets since she’s now able to read chapter books. She especially enjoys reading the non-Disney version fairy tales and lift-the-flap informational texts. Another friend and I got to talking about how we grew up reading American Girl books, and how she’s been rereading them with her daughter and found them just as entertaining. She lent me a few sets, and I really enjoyed Kit’s story, especially because it takes place during the Great Depression and it resonated with today’s economic climate and social unrest in a kid-friendly way. Each girl has 6 short books, and if you can get a hold of the collection that’s all in one hardcover, it’ll be easier to keep organized as you collect all the girls’ stories, as I’m sure you will. ;) [Usborne: Questions and Answers, Usborne: book sets, Usborne: Anne of Green Gables, American Girl: Kit story collection]
- Digital camera. You may not need to buy one if you have an old one lying around, even if it be 10 megapixels–they wouldn’t know the difference. My daughter and I used to visit museums and gardens before covid, and every time we’d go, I would take pictures with my phone. She started asking if she could take photos too, so I’d give her my phone and she’d walk around taking random photos with me standing nearby feeling uneasy she might drop the device. I recently found an old digital camera collecting dust in my closet and I gave it to her to see if she’d play with it, and she’s been having so much fun recording stories with her Barbie dolls, and one time she took photos of my husband throughout the day and it was funny to see her unique angles and candid shots of her father going about his day–on his computer, washing the dishes, organizing the garage, watching football, walking, etc. When we’re able to go out in public again, I’m sure she’ll have fun taking photographs and videos with her own device. [Polaroid 16MP Waterproof digital camera]
- Scooter. The ones made for kids nowadays has two wheels in the front and one wheel in the back. This is supposedly more intuitive and helps them navigate and control the scooter better as the child leans in the direction in which he/she wants to turn without needing to turn the handles. [Micro Kickboard]
- Terrarium kit. Any craft kit is a good gift as long as it’s within their interests: unicorns, jewelry, fairy gardens, etc. I found this terrarium kit on Etsy and it’s perfect for my daughter as her recent interests have turned to fairies and gardens. [Terrarium Kit, Big Gem Diamond Painting kit, Enchanting Craft Kit, Crayola Glitter Dot Key Chains]
- 3D puzzles. I found this product online and it seemed fun as it comes with a book. There are different stories from which you can choose. [Storytime toys]
- Osmo for the iPad. If you’re okay with screen time, Osmo has fun, interactive, and educational activities that uses the child’s work to translate onto the screen. It’s fun to watch drawings come to life and math becomes play. [Osmo Genius Starter kit, Studio Disney Frozen 2, Math Wizard Bundle Game]
- Sparkly shoes. I had to include one sparkly gift. ;) I’ve learned that quality and cost doesn’t mean anything to my daughter. In fact, the cheaper and tackier it is, the more she’ll like it and actually wear. I’ve then learned to embrace her unique fashion sense and give up the notion of making her look normal in public; because the truth is, most girls her age dress in tulle and sparkles and that is, in fact, normal. [glittery dress up shoes, printed ballet flats, leather padded sandals, toddler lily ballet flats]
- LEGOs. Surprisingly, I have been the one interested in LEGOs this year (due to covid confinement), and my daughter has learned to help me organize pieces and read visual instructions as I’ve built my “small” Harry Potter collection. She has her own LEGO sets and now she’s able to build them completely on her own. [Dolphins Rescue Mission]