Thursday, December 07, 2017

#HGG2017: Gifts for Families


Sometimes it makes sense to give a family gift instead of individual gifts to each family member. This is a great idea if you are visiting over the holidays, or if you are trying to cut down on the amount of "stuff" you buy and gift (and receive) overall. The best part is a family gift is something the whole family can enjoy together. They get quality time and an experience they can share and remember. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great activity to get a family working together on a single goal. When choosing one, keep in mind the ages of the children, and the the family's interests.

Djeco Observation Puzzles
These puzzles are really two activities in one. They are, first of all, traditional jigsaw puzzles that families can work on together. But once the puzzle is complete, it's time to find all of the items that are pictured around the puzzle's edge. Jigsaw puzzles help develop fine motor skills, problem solving, and cognitive skills in children, and they are fun for everyone. We received the "Enchanted Forest" puzzle from this line. It is a 100 piece puzzle, available in specialty toy stores and select bookstores across Canada. MSRP $19.99, and recommended for ages 5 and up. The imagery is colourful, fun, and very detailed.



Wrebbit3D Puzzles
I've been wary of 3D puzzles in the past, worried about stability and difficulty. But after working on this Wrebbit3D Urbania Cinema, I am a fan. Wrebbit3D's puzzles are built on a sturdy foam core, have beautiful detail, and, while quite challenging, this was a really fun activity for Michael and I to do together. He has now officially asked to buy more of these so he can complete the Urbania collection set.



Wrebbit3D is a Canadian company, based in Quebec. Their puzzles are all designed and produced in Canada, using non-toxic polyethylene foam, and they are built to last. Have a Harry Potter Fan? Wrebbit3D has a line of six Harry Potter puzzles, including this streetscape of Diagon Alley.


They also have a new 116 piece Christmas Village, which includes 5 separate buildings.
Wrebbit3D puzzles are available at specialty toy stores, including Mastermind, and are recommended for ages 12 or 14 and up. They are definitely challenging, but with parental involvement a 9 or 10 year old would enjoy.

Board Games

Board Games are great options for family fun, and Hasbro has a fun collection, with new options coming out every year.

For some potentially embarrassing family fun, with guaranteed laughs - Speak-Out: Kids vs. Parents Edition. Players divide into teams and attempt to read out phrases while wearing a special mouthpiece. One team member reads, while the other one tries to guess. Each turn is 1 minute long and you try to speak and guess as many as possible in that time. A full game includes every player getting the chance to both read the phrases and guess their partner's impossible pronunciation. Phrases include such gems as, "This playroom is a pigsty" and "Paprika and butter on my popcorn." Parents choose from a deck of things they might say to their kids, and kids choose from a deck filled with things they might play.

I find I spit a fair bit when playing this, and no, I will not provide the unflattering photographic evidence. This is a riot!


The game comes with 10 mouthpieces - 6 child-sized and 4 adult-sized, with 200 double-sided phrase cards, and a one-minute sand-timer.  Available at major retailers across Canada, with an MSRP of $19.99. 4-6 players, ages 8 and up.

I would also recommend any edition of Monopoly. There are junior versions, versions with Pokemon, Star Wars, Disney characters, and more. The games may have slightly different game play, depending on the version you choose. but they all provide fun learning opportunities - counting, making change, turn taking, strategy, and more. This one is a classic.

Experiences

Instead of gifting an item, you can choose to give an experience instead. Consider gift cards to cover a family outing to the movies, for instance. Cineplex and Landmark cinemas both offer electronic gift card purchases online, and Cineplex also lets you order a regular plastic card for delivery.

You could also gift passes to a local attraction, or even gift a family membership, depending on your budget. A family membership to the Toronto Zoo, Ontario Science Centre, or Royal Ontario Museum are great options here in Toronto.

LifeExperiences.ca is another resource for purchasing and gifting family experiences at a variety of locations across the country. Consider a horse-drawn carriage ride in Vancouver, or Battlesports Archery Dodgeball in Toronto.

Another option would be live theatre. Mirvish and Young People's Theatre in Toronto both offer gift certificates in any denomination. This is a great option to give the gift of theatre without having to actually choose the dates and shows for your recipients. With the gift certificate they can make choices to suit their specific interests and schedule. Check what is available in the area where they live.



What would you add to this list? Have you given or received any great family gifts?


Disclosure: I have received complimentary review product for some of these items. No financial compensation has been received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own or those of my family.

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