(BPT) - The holiday season started early this year, and families are focused on making up for lost time with activities and events and decorating. Between the hustle and bustle, parents and grandparents are thinking about the perfect gifts for the kids in their lives. While you may be shopping early to secure the top gift on every list, some of the most meaningful gifts don’t have to be wrapped in boxes and bows.
“As many families reunite for the holidays, this year brings an opportunity to think differently about how the gifts we give children can be used to promote family bonding and support important developmental and educational milestones,” says Michael Levine, SVP of learning and impact for Noggin, Nickelodeon’s early learning service. “Digital education tools can help families and children bond through games, stories and activities that enhance learning and playtime. They can be complementary to traditional holiday gifts like toys and technology.”
Here are five digital gifts that can add to your family’s holiday experience:
1. The gift of co-play and family time.
Take the time to explore educational content with your kids. Ask questions about what they are seeing and hearing, and interact with the games, programs and content as a team. Incorporate hands-on activities, music and shows with the whole family. Play and family togetherness can leave long-lasting, positive memories for young children.
2. The gift of friendship.
Favorite on-screen characters, like those featured in Noggin programs, become “friends” and trusted guides that model positive social skills for school, home and other environments. Shows that focus on relationships, handling emotions, empathy, respect and peacefully resolving differences provide important lessons that children can carry with them into adulthood. When children play pretend with their favorite characters, they are actually applying their social, emotional and problem-solving skills learned from the relationships they’ve formed with their favorite characters.
3. The gift of positive social-emotional health.
Recent reports have shown that our kids are struggling to navigate many environments and social interactions that were normal prior to the pandemic, but resources already exist to help children relearn norms and build confidence. This year, consider access to high-quality digital programming to support social and emotional development. From activities that focus on how to develop mindfulness to programs that help a child develop a sense of identity and belonging, parents and grandparents can rest assured that young learners are establishing a positive sense of self and ability to interact with others.
4. The gift of reading.
There are new worlds to be discovered through the written word. A monthly magazine or book subscription will give your child something to look forward to each month as well as encourage ongoing learning and reading skill improvement. Remember, high-quality digital programs can support early readers by providing developmentally appropriate literacy instruction through games and guided reading activities.
5. The gift of exploring.
Dance, art, sports, music, writing — the list goes on and on. If there’s something your child has expressed interest in, give them a chance to enhance their skills in a class or series of lessons. Just remember to book the classes before you give them and find opportunities for them to practice what they’ve learned with you.
If you’re looking for something special to top off that holiday gift this year, then consider these gifts that will serve your kids well into the future. For more information, check out noggin.com/kidstogether.