Embark on a fun and festive journey of gift-giving with our Teachers on Call holiday gift guide. We hope this curated list will help spark your imagination, making the season of giving truly unforgettable. Our online and in-person tutoring team have rounded up gift ideas designed to appeal to everyone - from the tech-savvy to the culinary connoisseur and the fashion-forward trendsetter to the fan of unique experiences. Our family guide is your one-stop destination for thoughtful and meaningful gifts that help make this time of year extra special - and of course, it wouldn’t be a gift guide from Teachers on Call if we didn’t include our love for educational gifts, too!
Unlock the world of learning and play with Teachers on Call’s selection of educational toys and experiences that the entire family will enjoy together. As professional certified teachers, our in-person and online tutors believe that fun and learning should go hand in hand with gifts that inspire creativity, foster critical thinking, cognitive and developmental growth. We have outlined eight categories to consider as you search for the perfect holiday gifts for your family.
Read on for our gift-giving ideas to elevate winter break!
The Creative STEAM Corner
Manipulating physical objects is great for fine motor skill development and hand-eye coordination, but they’ve also got some great educational potential. It’s great creative play for the entire family, adults included.
Dog-E is quite the cute electronic pet. It’s educational too with block coding aspects connected to a free app. This life-like robot dog can be trained and virtually fed, and can also have its attributes customized (including farting, which the kids love!). The whole family can store separate profiles and customize Dog-E according to their preferences!
Recommended for children 3 and older, these toys come in colorful plastic shapes that can be assembled and reassembled for hours! Build all kinds of fun shapes and objects - whatever you can imagine.
A love of music is a lifelong gift, and with this band in a box, you can get the whole family involved in setting the rhythm of the holidays. Band-in-box includes tambourine, cymbals, maracas, clacker, tone blocks and a triangle.
Need a launch point for introducing your child to coding? Pixicade helps your child learn to think differently and come up with video game ideas. Create math & counting games, coloring games, adventure games, and more!
Family Game Time
Not only is family game time a great way to spend time together, competitive and cooperative play with others is great for social skills, self-esteem, and language development!
Easier than Trivia Pursuit or Boggle, and great for strengthening memory skills, vocabulary building and thinking on your feet. Spin the wheel and tap the letters as you think of words for various categories in just ten seconds.
Many of the standard Jackbox Party Pack Games are rated T for teen, but this selection of Jackbox Games is completely family friendly, and every Jackbox Game is a ton of fun involving drawing, trivia, and quick-witted thinking! There’s something for everyone.
A game of geography, strategy, and trains. What’s not to love? Players collect and play matching train cards to claim railway routes connecting cities throughout North America.
This Pictionary game comes with a twist: The AI has to figure out what the drawings are! Can you predict which ones it will guess correctly?
Make A Statement with Wearables
Give the gift of both function and flair with these wonderful clothes and accessories that make practical, memorable gifts.
For eco-fashion fans, you will want to check out Preloved, a brand that diverts vintage clothing from landfills and gives it new life as a beautiful product. All the designing and manufacturing is done right here in Canada.
If you have someone who loves the Discovery Channel's Shark Week or sharks in general, they’re going to get a kick out of this warm and snuggly gift! And it’ll be a surefire conversation starter at the relatives’ house (but only because they’re totally jealous).
If you’ve never tried Mabel’s Labels, you're not only missing out, but likely missing stuff! These label gift packs are fabulous for organizing winter outerwear and other accessories that might get misplaced, so you’ll never have to worry about mixing up or losing them. Especially helpful at this time of year with all the extra gear.
Encouraging movement in a season where we typically get sedentary is both a healthy habit and great for physical development. Why not make a present of one of these fun activities?
All the fun of skydiving without the fear of jumping out of a plane! Kids as young as three can participate in indoor skydiving, and it’s certainly going to be a memorable experience. Canadian locations in the provinces of Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are in the following cities: Calgary, Oakville, Whitby, and Montreal.
Indoor Inflatable and Trampoline Parks
Why settle for a regular playground when you could go bouncing at an indoor park? In Ontario, popular options include The Bubble in Toronto, and Flying Squirrel in Chatham, Hamilton, London, Niagara, Ottawa, Waterloo and Whitby. Flying Squirrel also has locations in North/South Calgary, Alberta, in Winnipeg, Manitoba and in Victoria, British Columbia. An especially helpful option on bad weather days over winter break and weekends!
Busy Minds is a dynamic mobile enrichment program. Through the engaging curriculum, kids are empowered with essential life skills by offering fun-filled movement and mindfulness programs. Busy Minds has locations in York Region, Halton Region, Peel Region, GTA, London, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, and Ottawa.
Bracebridge in Muskoka is home to an annual festival every January along Manitoba Street that makes a lot of fun out of the coldest month of the year. Enjoy Kids Parkour, winter skates, downtown tube runs, snowshoeing, and enjoying sitting by the fire!
Cooking Lovers Unite
These thoughtful gifts are sure to inspire and delight both the aspiring chefs and seasoned cooks in your life.
For younger kids or true beginners, learning to cook might seem a tall order. But a Toronto Mompreneur made Easy Peasy Pancakes to be exactly that - easy peasy! And hot, yummy pancakes are a great way to introduce kids to the delicious benefits of home cooking. It also makes for a great stocking stuffer.
This colourful and clever mix & match cookbook is the creation of Jean Parker and Rachel Smith, best known as The Baking Sisters from Food Network Canada. Their baking book is meant to inspire kids to develop new skills in the kitchen and to actually play with their food and build a dream dessert. Designed for children with clear and easy-to-follow step-by-step recipes, you’ll be surprised to find how much education and entertainment can happen in this baking adventure. There's no shortage of fun-filled recipes, including chocolate moose, banana-nana cupakes and poop cookies - just to name a few!
This 4-piece measuring spoons kit is clearly unlike any ordinary measuring spoons set. These bundles of small measuring spoons are perfect for cat lovers and anyone who adores cute cooking utensils.
Imaginary play encourages children to foster creativity, explore different roles and perspectives, and employ cooperation and problem-solving strategies. It’s also lots of fun!
Fingerlings know when they're on your finger - just watch their heart glow and personality change! They also respond to touch. As a bonus, this finger-sized pet can be quite soothing for younger students when feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Move over pillow forts; cardboard playhouses are superior in every way because we get to colour and decorate them exactly the way we’ve always wanted our own personal castle to look like.
Hand or finger puppets facilitate storytelling and role-playing, encouraging children to create characters and act out scenarios. And some of the sellers on Etsy have absolutely adorable puppets we totally want to play with!
Cozy Family Reading Time
It is probably no surprise to find that Teachers on Call recommends books as the perfect gift. Shared reading experiences create positive associations with books, instilling a love for learning and improving language development in kids!
Depending on the ages of your children, we highly recommend sharing one of these classics that you probably already know and love:
- Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
- Charlotte's Web - E.B. White
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
If you’re looking for something newer and seasonal, Tundra Books and Penguin Random House Canada has recently released these fun festive reads!
- PAWS: Priya Puts Herself First
- Scaredy Squirrel Gets Festive
- Happy Narwhalidays
- The Three Little Mittens
For more reading inspiration, check out Teachers on Call’s Hooked on Books series.
Capturing the Memories
The phrase “the days are long, but the years are short” is well known by parents and families. We recommend you keep a record of your precious moments!
If you’re thinking of vacationing for the winter break or visiting family out of town, Flytographer is a great way to record the experience with a vast network of professional photographers to choose from. Take pictures of special occasions and holidays away from home from hundreds of cities worldwide.
Create your own Photo Album
A homemade photo album book is a great gift for older relatives, or even for yourself. There are many places you can design and have photo books printed. Apple has their own service; Shutterfly is another possibility.
Remember how much fun actual cameras were in the past? Recapture that memory with a Fuji Instax, and catch those spontaneous moments. Kids will absolutely have a blast taking instant pictures with these colourful cameras.
We hope you find our family gift guide helpful. If you are still looking for that perfect teacher gift, check out our blog on warm & cozy holiday gifts for teachers who get cold!
Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season!
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