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Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Simple, Last-Minute, Stocking Stuffers for Fun and Learning

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Surprise your young child this holiday season with some simple and inexpensive items as stocking stuffers or small gifts that will delight their curiosity and enhance “hands-on” learning. Remember the delicious childhood pleasure of reading under your covers with a secret flashlight? Here are 8 suggestions for similarly simple gifts: 

  • A child sized, hand-held magnifier. This is a great gift for a curious child to study bugs, butterflies or snowflakes in the backyard.
  • A large, plastic encased thermometer.  This can be placed outside her bedroom window so she can become the family “weather girl.” She can check the temperature before getting dressed, and let the family know if they will need mittens and hats that day, or if it’s warm enough for a swim!
  • A child-friendly horseshoe magnet. He’ll feel like a scientist discovering all the things around the house that will be attracted to, and repelled by, the magnet.
  • A deck of playing cards. Cards can be used for all sorts of games to improve math skills, in a fun, interactive way. Some examples: have your daughter identify and match numbers on the cards, or play “War” together for the concept of more-than and less-than.
  • A small, suction cup bird feeder that can be attached to the outside of a window. This allows your child to get a close view of the birds that will come and feed, and feel the responsibility of having a pet when it’s time to refill the feeder.
  • For about $3-5 you can get an environmentally safe bag of “Snow in Seconds” or a tube of “Insta-Snow Powder” that magically turns into “snow” when your child adds water.
  • A jar of soap bubbles. Wave the wand to create bubbles and have your son quickly count them before they pop!

And don’t forget that small flashlight for lighting the way to the bathroom at night—or for reading under the covers after lights out!


#1 Jackie 2011-12-20 19:14
These are definitely some fun ideas for the last minute shopper like myself! You should suggest a few ideas to this list of Creative Stocking Stuffers for Kids > http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/Erin/creative-stocking-stuffers-for-kids

I have been referencing it in my shopping but I, of course, love options so thanks for these ideas!

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?