By Kristin Littrell, CFCA correspondent
If you’re like me, you may still be looking for a few gift ideas for family and friends. As a mom who works to integrate diverse items into our family’s toy chest, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite gifts with you.
These gifts are perfect for the preschool to elementary school-age child, who will have fun while learning more about the world.
Our hope is that those experiences at an early age grow into compassion later in life for people all around the world.
1. Memory game: I never forget a face
For preschool children working on memory and matching skills, this memory game, “I Never Forget a Face,” is perfect. The children featured represent diverse ethnicities and cultures, introducing appreciation of diversity in a beautiful way.
2. World map puzzles
Most children love puzzles, and there’s a world map puzzle perfect for every age range. For the younger child, there’s a wooden puzzle or a 33-piece puzzle.
For the older child, there’s a 48-piece puzzle, or even a 200-piece puzzle.
Regardless of the puzzle’s size, children are sure to find the bright colors and large world intriguing. They might even learn some geography along the way!
Books are always a great gift for kids, and we highlighted a few good choices in this previous blog post.
One favorite: A Country Far Away
4. Tag reader map
If the preschooler in your life has a Leapfrog Tag Reader (a great early reading tool), this interactive Tag world map is a great gift choice.
My daughter loves listening to children around the world tell her about their country (the country name, the language they speak, popular food, etc.). It’s her go-to choice each time she gets out the Reader, and it’s fostering an awareness and interest in the wider world.
5. Place mat
Another gift we’ve highlighted before is a simple world map place mat. If your kids are anything like mine, it will spark many good conversations.
Bonus: If you’re also shopping for older kids (middle school to college age) here are three quick ideas for them:
1. Consider buying jewelry or other accessories through an organization or business such as Noonday Collection, which empowers women artisans around the world.
2. Books are my favorite stocking stuffer, to give and to receive! Select a book that highlights another culture. A few of my favorites: “The Kite Runner,” “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” “What is the What,” “Mountains Beyond Mountains,” and “Nine Hills to Nambonkaha.”
3. What college kid doesn’t like coffee?
There are many high-quality fair trade options out there, like Juan Ana coffee, which purchases its coffee beans from small farmers, some of whom are parents of CFCA sponsored friends.
Enjoy choosing thoughtful gifts for the kids in your life, and let us know if you have other great ideas for kids!