Whitefield Academy Blog

Christmas Presents You Won’t Regret Giving

by | Nov 7, 2018 | Christmas, Holidays, Parenting | 3 comments

We’ve all been there. Drawn down the Costco Christmas aisle. Pulling toys off the shelf willy nilly because there’s a $10 rebate. But we have to stop and think: Will 10:00am Christmas morning mom like this gift as much as pre-Christmas mom? A tall task. So we at Whitefield decided to put together the Ultimate Christmas Gift List for all ages.

Here are the requirements for making it on this exclusive list:

1. Low tech, ie few lights or noises

2. Can hold their attention for an extended period of time

3. Works their brains

4. Is fun!

We want presents that will be fun and won’t be discarded an hour after opening.  We also want presents that will stretch those brains that we are working so hard to cultivate.  Our middle schoolers and many of our parents rose to the challenge of finding the perfect gifts to fit these requirements.  Because our list is so huge, we’ve split it into categories by types of gift. A variety of age ranges are sprinkled throughout the categories.


A list of indoor activities, perfect for cold winter days when kids are stuck inside! 

puffy sticker books

Reusable Puffy Sticker Books

These reusable puffy sticker books are fantastic for imaginary play. From animals to princesses, kids love organizing and reorganizing the pictures.  Can even work for road trips. Ages 3-8


Reusable Sticker Mats

In a similar vein to the puffy stickers, these sticker mats are great for spreading out on the floor or a table. They come in a huge variety but favorites include the grocery store, school, and hospital combo. Super affordable too! Ages 3-8

magna tiles


There’s a reason that almost every classroom has a container of Magna-Tiles somewhere.  They’re awesome! These colorful, clear, magnetic shapes help teach kids spatial reasoning skills through building and experimentation.  Your older kids will enjoy building unexpected creations and your little ones will enjoy learning how shapes relate to each other (two triangles into a square) and how magnets work. Ages 3+

my beautiful room

“My Beautiful Room” Interior Design Workbook

Have a daughter who keeps reorganizing the furniture in her room? Then grab this workbook! My Beautiful Room is an interior design workbook that provides a 3D room to pop out and decorate while teaching the basics of interior design. Ages 10+


This toy is one of those heirloom toys that you’ll keep forever and ever.  You’ll also be finding marbles throughout your house forever and ever.  Kids can create an endless number of paths for their marbles to follow, learning basic physics and solving problems as they do it. There are even expansion packs and pieces you can add on throughout the years. Ages 3-10

playful patterns

Playful Patterns

This is the perfect rainy day activity box.  Pop it open and your kiddo will be making colorful designs all while learning shapes and colors. Ages 2-6

Melissa and Doug giant blocks
Giant Cardboard Blocks

The more the better when it comes to these giant blocks. You might regret this purchase on Christmas Eve night when you’re putting them all together, but once the prep work is done, you will have a lifetime of kid-size boats, castles, houses, racetracks and forts ahead of you! Ages 0-10

Rubik's Cube
Rubik’s Cube

If your child isn’t already on the Rubik’s Cube train, then this brain-bender is a must. Print out this solution guide and include it with the present! Ages 8-100



Ok, you’ve probably heard of Legos.  You’ve probably stepped on quite a few of them, actually.  But you can’t deny the appeal of a giant box of colorful Legos for kids of any age.  Grab a classic box like this one or a higher level building set based on Star Wars, a city skyline, or even the U.S. Capitol. Ages 3-100

magnetic mazes

Magnetic Mazes

Completely mess free color sorting and fine motor practice.  Great to flop on the floor with or to bring along in the car. Ages 3-5

perplexus epic

Perplexus Epic

Remember those tiny cardboard and plastic maze party favors with the little metal ball stuck inside? Well this is much better and much harder.  Relish in your ability to get the ball to the finish line, or grab two of these so your kiddos can race each other. Age 8+

magnetic fishing game

Magnetic Fishing Game

These cold winter days can give kiddos major cabin fever.  Having a fun fishing game like this on hand can be a blast for little ones missing the pool.  Fill up the tub and throw in the fish! Ages 2-5

hanayama puzzles

Hanayama Puzzles

These brain-bending puzzles come in a variety of styles and ability levels. Grab a few for a little friendly family competition! Ages 10-100


Here’s a variety of crafty and creative books and supplies for your artist.

Washi Tape 

Washi Tape

This decorative masking-style tape can be used in an endless variety of ways.  Use these rolls to decorate journals, cards, gadget cases or anything else that they can stick to.  Ages 7-18

color by number 

my first 

Usborne Color By Number Books

Whether you have three year old, a seven year old, or you just want something fun to do as a family, the Usborne color by number books are perfect.  They have thick, high-quality pages and fun designs.  The books for little kids use dots of color rather than numbers for some of the pages.  Turn on some music, pull out some colored pencils, and make a family night of it! Ages 3-10

art coloring book 

The Usborne Art Coloring Book

Usborne takes coloring books to a new level with this book. Based on art hung in the National Gallery, every page has a famous piece of artwork and then a coloring book version of the art. Ages 6-12

literary quotes 

Literary Quotes by Kane Miller

A large coloring book with a different literary quote and biographical information on each page. The pages are thick and perforated so they can be torn out and hung up or framed. Ages 10+

Artify Artist Markers

These are good for older creative kids (read NOT washable). They are high quality art markers that are great for shading. Ages 8+


Tombow Brush Pens

Black soft and hard tip pens that are great for teens trying out calligraphy or creative lettering. Ages 10+

papermate flair

Paper Mate Flair Pens

Felt tip pens in a variety of colors. Great for coloring books, crafting, or creative lettering. Ages 6+

blank books

Blank Books

Have a budding artist or illustrator? These books are far superior to computer paper stapled together.  Kids love getting to make “real” books on their own! Ages 3-12


shine a light books

Shine-A-Light Books

Ok so these books do use a light, a flashlight that is.  These beautifully illustrated books cover subjects from winter to rain forests to the human body, and hidden within the pages are pictures that can only be seen when a flashlight is put behind the page. These are a really fun way to encourage a love of research at an early age. Ages 2-7

coffee table books

Coffee Table Books

Check out one of our past blog posts on the best coffee table books for snowy days.  Your kids will love opening up these books on Christmas morning and will surely be sprawled out across a pile of wrapping paper to work their way through the pages. Ages 3-100

wreck this journal
Wreck This Journal

This book could really go in any of the categories we have listed here.  Going beyond a traditional journal, this journal gives young writers a slew of ideas for how to get creative with their journal.  From painted pages to crumpled pictures, this journal helps young writers and artists think out of the box…or journal! Ages 10-100

Mr. Popper's Penguins
Audio Books

Dust off that CD player and grab a beanbag.  Listening to an audio book is the perfect Christmas morning wind-down activity.  This link has a list of tried and true titles. Ages vary.



Games are such a great way to bring any size family together for fun! These games cover a huge age range.


This 2-5 player game only takes about 15 minutes to play and is fun for parents as well as kids (not like that horrible Candyland…anything but Mr. Mint!!!).  Kids practice matching colors to build snakes.  The person with the most tiles of completed snakes wins! Ages 4-8

fast flip
Fast Flip

Including only cards and a few tokens, this game actually has three ways to play and can be challenging for all ages.  The game can include 2-8 players and is fairly fast-paced, so it’s a good one to break out after Christmas dinner.  Ages 5-10

Settlers of Catan

Settlers of Catan

Affectionately called “Settlers,” this game is a favorite of our middle and high school students.  Four people play (though you may purchase expansion packs for more players) and attempt to settle cities through trading, building, and developing resources.  Each game takes about an hour.  Ages 8-100



This two to five person strategy game is made up of small square tiles placed by each player to create an entirely new land every time you play the game.  Like most strategy games, this one has some expansion packs that you can purchase next Christmas! Ages 8-100

Ticket to Ride

Ticket to Ride

This travel based game has gained huge popularity over the last few years.  Play with two to five players and use your trains to get from one part of the U.S. to the other. Ages 8-100

Sum Swamp

Sum Swamp

A board game for younger elementary schoolers that makes math competitive and fun! Ages 5-7


Grab the real thing with the metal tips for your older kids or the magnetic version for younger kids.  If you get the metal tips, you might want one of these backboards to save your wall.  Great idea for a few games between Christmas dinner and dessert. Ages 8-100


This retro card game is fast-paced and fun as players try to get their cards in order first. It can be played with 2-4 players. Ages 8-100

Zeus on the Loose

Zeus on the Loose

This Greek-themed, strategic card game comes recommended by one of our middle schoolers.  Most strategy games take awhile to play, but this one is just about 15 minutes for 2-5 players! Ages 8-15


Ready to step your card gaming up a notch? Try this game with transparent cards! The game comes with 60 different challenges to try and can be played with two or more players.  Great for kids who like problem solving. Ages 8-15



This ancient game has been hugely popular with our After Care crowd. Invented thousands of years ago, Mancala is a strategy game for two players. Ages 6-100

Move It!

Anyone can buy sports equipment; try some of these creative ways to move around inside this winter.

tumbling mat

Tumbling Mat

Tumbling mats are a necessity when the winter days are dragging on and kids are getting restless.  Use them for traditional somersaults and cartwheels or ride them down the stairs like a sled! Ages 2-10

indoor swing

Indoor Swing

Whether you’re hanging it in a basement or in your child’s room, the novelty of having a swing in the house never gets old! This one can support up to 170 lbs, so you don’t need to be worried about your ceiling. Ages 2+

Indoor Trampoline

Indoor Trampoline

Have some kids who need to burn energy? An indoor trampoline might be the answer.  Get a little one like this, or grab a larger version for the basement. Ages 3+

Stocking Stuffers

survival bracelet

Survival Bracelet

Now this thing is cool.  Six tools in one, this compact bracelet includes a compass, a flashlight, a fire starter, a knife, a whistle, and twelve feet of paracord! Just don’t wear it to school. Ages 12+

fifteen puzzle
Fifteen Puzzle

The perfect handheld puzzle that comes with 31 different challenges.  Fits right into a stocking and is great for car trips or waiting for dinner to be ready. Ages 8-100

schleich animals

Schleich Animals

These super sturdy and lifelike animals come in a huge variety.  They’re the perfect size to stick a few in a stocking. Ages 2+

book light

Book Light

Book lights can be a great low tech option for your little tech lovers.  This particular kind comes in a variety of colors and is rechargeable. Age 4-100

plus plus blocks

Plus-Plus Blocks

These little blocks look like two plus signs mashed together.  They are all the same shape, but its amazing to see the huge variety of things that can be built with them! Some of the tubes come with instructions for building specific things like mermaids, unicorns, or robots! Ages 4-10



Whether they’re timing races or how long it takes to do a puzzle, a kid-friendly stopwatch is always a fun low tech gadget. Ages 4-8

We hope you enjoyed this low-tech Christmas list! All of the links go to Whitefield Academy’s Amazon Smile account where Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase back to our school!


  1. Jill Coates

    Great list! We still have many of these “gifts” still in our house even though our youngest is a Junior at Whitefield.

  2. Vicky Sullivan

    Definitely looking into the mind game puzzles!! Wish I knew about some of these when ours was younger! Thank you!

  3. Corrie Stone

    Love these gift ideas for the grandkids!! Many of these would be great for the classroom. Thank you!


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