educational gifts

Gifts They Can Love and Learn

Full Disclosure: These are affiliate links for the companies and items I have personally used and love. 


Gifts your kids can unwrap, resources for you (for them), and virtual ones for instant access!


We are a family of unschoolers - regardless of what your schooling style is, if you are looking to create more life-long learning, you can read more about educational alternatives and resources here.


Namaste Personality Snapshots

I feel this is one of the most powerful things you can do for your family and better understanding one another.  


This is the core foundational component for all of my coaching, and this is something you can do with your children to really have some quality time that is all about them!


Based on the DISC Personality profiles, I've used these in business for the past 15 years - and now I've created some variations to walk you through understanding yourself - and your family - better. My forte is working with families to help identify how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us, and a great starter for this is the Family Portrait Sessions if you want some 1-1 coaching with your family about these results and how to best apply them.  

 

Explore the Namaste Personality Snapshots Here


Here is your curated list of gifts for your children that may be a bit out of the box for some practical, educational, and fun gifts for kids!

  • Toys and More
  • Books
  • Games
  • Apps
  • Movies
  • Music

So often we just go to toys for gifts for our kids, but I know my kids love getting other items that may be "grown up" as well. So while I may add some toys in here, more than that are practical/useful gifts that help kids take ownership of all the things they may need/want, plus fun things for the whole family!


Magnatiles


We LOVE Magnatiles - like legos, they keep kids of all ages entertained. Yet unlike legos, they don't get lost on the floor and take out a portion of your bone when stepped on. Plus, you can hide lights inside for some fun lanterns!


Moon Lamp


This was a sweet gift my brother got us, with the great idea to get something for his kids AND their cousins. It's fun to have matching gifts, so we started this tradition of sharing those special things - the gift we're excited about giving our own family we do a duplicate for his! These moon lamps have been great for a nightlight, and also have come in handy when our power has gone out! It's great for ambient lighting and pretty sturdy.


CamelBak Water Pack


These so come in handy for hiking - not just in the woods, but in the city! They saved us in the heat of Washington, DC, and are so much easier than lugging around water bottles for everyone!

 


Cooling Towels


We love having cooling towels for hot days and hikes - it really helps our youngest children manage the heat and keep moving. There are a ton of options out there, and I haven't really found a lame one - so pick a towel that works for you - these come with their own storage bags!

 


Waterproof Walkie Talkies


These have been fabulous - we use them while I direct Nathan on backing into campsites, and all the girls have one whenever they are out of our site. This allows them the freedom to run around the campground without us worrying about where they are.


These are waterproof, have a long range (although 35 miles is a stretch), and have been wonderful to have on hand for all the places where we are out of cell service. 


Inflatable PaddleBoard


This is a bit more of a family investment, but we have loved our inflatable paddleboard. Costco will often have a great deal on these, so if you're a member, check them out there. The inflatable option is still super sturdy and doesn't take up as much space as a traditional SUP. 


Backflow Incense Burner


Not a toy, you say? Yes, you're right. Kids can burn their fingers on the incense! However...my kids love ours - it's fascinating to watch, and since you have to stay super still to keep the smoke flowing, it's a perfect 5-10 minute meditation. Light one of these and let your children just watch the flow and have some zen time - it's pretty mesmerizing!


Car Seat Organizers


Okay, so this may not be a toy, but my girls were thrilled to have their own organizers in the car to put their things for travel days and keep it all from just falling to the floor. Sometimes we need to look beyond toys and give our kids other resources that are helpful! 


Headphones


I love these headphones for how well they work, plus the fact that they have sharing ports, so you can plug one into the other so kids can listen to the same thing - that has been the biggest frustration with headphones - only having one kiddo able to listen at a time.


Buddha Board


I absolutely love our Buddha board - it has been great for a minimalist lifestyle - instead of a ton of markers and crayons and scrap papers half scribbled on, we have the Buddha board out all the time for any of the family to doodle on. It allows for a creative outlet without using up so many resources and space.


Tongue Drum


Here is a bit more affordable option, although in our home we love the Hapi brand tongue drums. If you're wondering about a musical instrument for your kiddo but not sure what you want to be stuck listening to, get a tongue drum! It's hard to make them sound bad. Even a toddler can make beautiful music, and it's so soothing and melodic you can get into a trance just playing!


Tibetan Singing Bowl Set: Meditation Sound Bowl from Nepal for Healing and Mindfulness


This is another great music idea for children. It's portable, fancy, and makes a beautiful sound. Go beyond a drum set or flute and get something fun and zen-like for the whole family!


Hippie Hoopla


Okay, so this isn't really a toy, but it's a gift for a kiddo they will love - jewelry that makes them all "grown up"! Our whole family wears amber necklaces, and I have to attest to their healing qualities as well as their cool factor. We love ours. 


This is another fulltime traveling family, and Michelle knows her stuff about amber and hazelwood. We love supporting her biz and learning about these natural elements! (Use the code "NAMASTE" for 10% off!)



Educational Resources


When it comes to education, here are some hand-picked resources to help you - and your child - navigate, learn and grow together! And, if you aren't much of a reader (or your child isn't), we are huge fans of Audible and using audiobooks - many of these books were listened to rather than read in our home!

  • For Kids
  • For Parents
  • The Birds and the Bees
  • Documentaries

The Child Whisperer, The Ultimate Handbook for Raising Happy, Successful, and Cooperative Children


This takes the DISC personality styles to a whole new level, looking at the full energy makeup of a child - fascinating, and one I will be applying more with my coaching. (I recommend the book, not that great on audio!)


Real Artists Don't Starve


This is an excellent book to push all you creatives to get out there and make your art sustainable. You don't have to be a starving artists, and Goins does an incredible job of crafting stories about so many famous people you know - and how they eliminated the "starving artist" mentality and went on to be a huge success with their art. Definitely worth a read, and one I would recommend you read with your older kids to help them harness their passions beyond being a starving artist!


Ask & It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires


If you believe in the Law of Attraction and the power of your mindset to provide abundance in your life, check this book out.


After struggling with reading, our daughter finally grasped it around 10 1/2 years old, and this was the first book she really poured into and completed. Yes, our kids are capable of reading adult self-help books and getting a jumpstart on intention in their own lives! 


Boundaries


There are so many variations on this book, as Dr. Henry Cloud speaks as the expert on establishing healthy boundaries in your life and with all your relationships. This is critical, especially if you are dealing with any toxic people in your life. How to set boundaries while not just running from anyone where there is conflict. 


The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up


For so long I scoffed at this book as being too extreme, and not even giving it a chance. And then, I watched a Netflix episode with Marie Kondo, and saw how she used minimalism to heal relationships, just like I speak on. So yes, I read this aloud with my whole family. And yes, she completely checked me on some of my thoughts on how to declutter. I for sure was guilty of being the constant declutter-er!


This really was a pivotal book for me to read and learn to let go in a whole new way, while really taking to heart how much we accumulate without even being aware of it. It was pretty incredible to go through this together as a family as we did the work and cleared out our home! 


Rich Dad, Poor Dad


It's all about the mindset! Kiyosaki expounds on the importance of financial education. He speaks on the lack of this knowledge being taught about in American homes. We are taught to go to college so that we can get a good job- in other words, work for someone else our entire life. This is also known as the rat race. Through educating ourselves on financial matters and clearly distinguishing between the three types of incomes, we can easily get out of the rat race.


Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids


This book is excellent, and really helped me set a new standard of simplicity and calm in our home - this is one of my top ten, definitely!


Healthy Bodies; Teaching Kids What They Need to Know: A Comprehensive Curriculum to Address Body Image, Eating, Fitness and Weight Concerns in Today's Challenging Environment (Volume 3)


I must confess, this is actually one I have not read. However, a dear friend has, and she happens to be a serious researcher to find and curate the best books for an openminded and robust explanation for her children. It's on my list, and I'm sure it's excellent!


Siblings Without Rivalry


I've found myself saying "Don't compete, COMPLETE!" to my children lately. On the topic of teamwork, siblings can be the hardest! This book is a powerful one that challenges that whole concept of "fairness". I started it thinking I knew it all, and was quickly checked by the reality that it would go much easier if I applied some of the principles presented in this book.
If you're having a hard time with siblings fighting, this is your book.
 


Conscious Communications


While I haven't read this book, I have listened to countless interviews with the author, Mary Shores, and I love what she has to say. Check out this interview she did with my brother Jared.


Courage to Grow


This was written by the creator of Acton Academy and is a powerful book that introduces the concepts surrounding the Acton model...which I believe is essentially organized unschooling through a school. It's an excellent read to explore the Socratic method, how to be your child's "guide", and look at what educational options you may have. 


Unschooling Rules


This is a great super fast read that really debunks so many myths around unschooling. Endorsed by the founders of Acton Academy, this is a great book for anyone looking at alternative education models.


Relax It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You're Not Religious


This is an excellent book going over how to handle the topic of religion in an informative way when you may not choose religion yourself - or simply want to educate your children on other religions outside your own. I love Wendy Thomas Russel's information, and we play "Fact, Fiction or Belief" in our home a ton.


The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom


Full disclaimer: I haven't read this yet.  But it came recommended by friends, and I love the title of it!  


How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


There are many in this series of books by these authors, and they break things down in an easy way to see how we can tend to just talk over or at one another and not in a way where either party is receptive to hearing what the other has to say. It's time to change that, and this book does a great job of laying out how. 


Parenting the QBQ Way, Expanded Edition: How to be an Outstanding Parent and Raise Great Kids Using the Power of Personal Accountability


Based on the same concepts that have made John Miller’s signature work, QBQ: The Question Behind the Question, an international bestseller over the last decade, Parenting the QBQ Way provides the tool called the QBQ or The Question Behind the Question that will help every parent look behind questions such as “Why won’t my kids listen?” or “When will they do what I ask?” to find better ones—QBQs—like “What can I do differently?” or “How can I improve as a parent?” This simple but challenging concept turns the focus – and responsibility – back to parents and to what they can do to make a difference.


Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money


I've known the Ramsey's since I was 8 years old, and used to babysit Rachel when she was just a kiddo, so it was really cool to hear these stories and know the people and experiences they talked about!


I learned some great tips and got re-motivated not just to make sure we are financially responsible but to work more with my girls starting NOW to ensure debt and financial stress isn't a part of their lives. With my 12-year-old entrepreneur already on her fourth business venture, this was really helpful for us!


Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer?


This book has really opened my eyes to better understanding the way my kids tick. If you have a child that is strong-willed and you have a hard time communicating, you definitely need to check this book out.


My mother read this when we were young and cried through it as it gave her such insights into how my brother thought and learned. This is from a Christian perspective, yet regardless of your beliefs, the content is gold. 


The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate


Mindfulness is an incredible life skill we want to model for our children, and helping them navigate it and become more aware definitely results in a lasting impact and ripple effect beyond just our own children. 


The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live The Life You Want and Change the World

 

This is one I put in here for grown-ups, yet it may be a great one to read together. Why? Because it's a paradigm shifter.

For every parent eager to look beyond the box and explore the many possibilities, this is a must-read. Guillebeau addresses the educational system and how to look beyond traditional structure to embrace life-long learning.  Definitely check it out!


Love Does


Nathan and I have read this, and it's next on our list to read aloud together. I'm not as much of a fan of the children's version of this book, but this one is great!


I firmly believe one of the most important things we can impart to our children is how to love. This book is an engaging read for the whole family, and lays out a lifestyle of simply being open to love and give freely.  


Although it has a Christian foundation, this isn't just a religious book.  It's joy, laughter, love and spreading the good. I happen to know Bob Goff, and he truly lives the life he portrays in this book!


Creating a Haven of Peace: When You're Feeling Down, Finances Are Flat, and Tempers are Rising


This is my mama's book, and gives you insights not only into my own upbringing, but how you have the power to write your own story and create the life you want to live. 


Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom (Revised Edition): Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing


This is a game-changer. Changed my perspective on life and femininity as well as every single one of my friends who read it. I would like every female (and male who knows females) in the world to read this book. Please.


Mother-Daughter Wisdom: Understanding the Crucial Link Between Mothers, Daughters, and Health


I'm in the process of reading this book. I have to admit, I haven't devoured it to the same extent as I did Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom...which was a total game-changer in my life. This one I've had to come back to as I process through what all it lays out, and I'm working through a lot of her content as I own and explore all about what it means to be a woman and passing the intuition and feminine divine down to future generations. 


This is the tip of the iceberg on tips and resources we've found that are great for our unschooling, minimalist, gypsy lifestyle. I know this will continue to grow, and you can always reach out to me at ashley@mamasaysnamaste.com with your questions!