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Simplicity and Connections this Holiday Season- Gifting

Holidays are around the corner and family and friends are asking what gifts to get for the kids. While toys can at times be engaging and promote some level of learning, I want to share alternatives to toys you can share with everyone who asks. These suggestions can result in learning, experiences, and connection with others in and outside your household.

Nature’s Lab highly encourages you to consider opportunities for connections instead of adding more “items” to your household. The additional items may engage your child for a few minutes or days at first but they are likely to turn into clutter soon after while the suggestions listed below are more likely to create long-term opportunities for long-lasting relationships, connections, and hence valuable learning.

Ask family and friends to help you gift the kids memories, time together… Creativity, and less clutter.


  • Allow you to keep your home life simple as they don’t add clutter

  • Kids won’t grow out of them like they do toys and gadgets

  • encourage kids to get out of their comfort zone and try new things

  • are better for the environment by creating fewer future landfill

  • can improve fine and gross motor skills, creativity

  • help you improve your bond with your child and create lots of core memories

Please consider your child’s interests when making your selection and remember to do a google search to find local groups and organizations that provide experiences around those interests as well. E.g.,

Here are a few examples of local places, classes, and memberships for books, magazines, and virtual activities to consider, as well as some educational box memberships

If you like spending time in museums note that there is a membership you can buy to get access to many museums all over Northern California free or for less than the regular entry cost.



Sacramento County park passes


The MonthlyBooks Box by East Village Bookshop - For Kids & Teens!

OurShelves - diverse and inclusive age-appropriate kids’ books - shipped quarterly


Educational app

PBS Kids

Edoki Montessori Preschool

Endless alphabet

ABC Kids Tracing and Phonics

Khan academy kids

Educational subscription boxes

Kiwi Crates last year - it’s a monthly subscription. But it may become clutter as well…

Local activities (Sacramento Area)

Boulder Field membership.

Casa de Espanol - 12-week Spanish classes for ages 4-10 - both in-person and virtual available.

Horseback riding

Swimming lessons

Other ideas:





Sunny the Mail Snail subscription

For additional Food for Thought on Simplifying for the Holidays read this article The Holiday Season: Putting The Genie Back In The Bottle

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