Living Gift Guide

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.
~Charlotte Mason 


    One of the things that I find begins to dawn upon moms as they embrace Charlotte Mason's philosophy of education is that not only can the education of their children be more living, but their play can be living as well. Of course, as we pursue a living education, our homes fill up with living books, handicraft supplies, and all things art. But, even our toys can both be living and encourage open-ended, imaginative play. Over the years, I have slowly ditched the more twaddle-like toys, games, and activities and replaced them with items that encourage my children to play like education is truly a life and like the atmosphere of our home aids them in learning outside of the "classroom".

Each year for Christmas, I attempt to balance out the inevitable "buzz" items that are requested (Read: Nerf Guns and Pokemon Cards) with living games, puzzles, handicraft supplies, art supplies, nature items and open-ended toys. What follows is a list of items that I love in the categories of: Play, Handicrafts, Nature/Scouting Supplies, Art Supplies, Games, Books, Science/STEM and Skill Building. This isn't an attempt at a "mega" living gift list, but is instead a compilation of things I have purchased, used, personally seen, loved, or plan to purchase for my children. 


Melissa and Doug Fold and Fill Taco Set  (I purchased this a few years ago, and it is still played with at least a few times a week. It is durable, and adorable!) 
Melissa and Doug Salad Set (this is the set I purchased last year)
Melissa and Doug 4-in-1 Puzzles (we also love ALL Melissa and Doug puzzles) 


Scribblers Fun Sticker Books
Strange Science  (and Strange History and Strange Crime- Note: You may want to preview some entries and/or read aloud and edit a few entries. Truth is stranger, and sometimes more inappropriate ;), than fiction, as they say.) 
Smart Kids Alphabet Books
Basher Science Series
Bear Grylls Survival Skills Handbook Series

Activity Books 

Bear Grylls Activity Books
Dover Hidden Picture Challenges
Game Nest Challenging Spot the Difference Puzzles
Scribble Books 
Highlights Jumbo Book of Amazing Mazes
A Year in my Life Journals (plus A Year of Art and a Year of Nature) 
Slot Together Theatre

Skill Building 

Outdoor Adventure Kit

Pay Day (Original)
National Parks Opoly Jr (This is made for younger children, but we all enjoy playing it for simplified game play and shorter games. The cards give information about the parks, which we enjoy!) 
Trekking the National Parks
Mudpuppy Games to Go  (Mudpuppy makes beautiful games and other items- search the brand and browse their offerings. They also have many great gifts for toddler and younger children) 

Art Supplies
Watercolor Markers
Drawing Markers 
Larger Drawing Marker Set
Copic Markers (These are costly markers, but my artist insists that they are the best, based upon the experts that he follows. I wanted to share them in case you needed a very quality option for an invested artist.) 

Stocking Stuffers
Kanoodle (My children received Kanoodle last year and have played with it every single week!) 
Kanoodle Jr.

Want more gift ideas?
Here are a few gift guides from other living educators:

Merriest of Christmases to you, Friends.
May your holiday season be spent....Delightfully Feasting.
Crystin <3

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