Put presents in their hands that can change their future

girl with long pigtails laying on a wood floor with a first grade big school zone workbook in her arms and surrounded by other learning materials from School Zone

Holiday anticipation builds for weeks, but not long after gathering up the ribbons and wrapping paper, the sparkle tends to fade fast. Gifts that build skills have a long shelf life, with benefits that reach well beyond tomorrow.

Gifts that playfully build multiple skills

preschool and kindergarten full learning programs from school zone with Christmas ornaments dangling above the boxes

School Zone’s Preschool Full Learning Program and Kindergarten Full Learning Program are comprehensive sets that take a classroom approach, with lots of different ways to learn essential skills and keep kids focused and motivated. Each includes three unique, step-by-step, 128-page workbooks designed by teachers that build early skills sequentially, getting progressively harder. Featured activities give fine motor skills a workout too.

These packages also include four early reading books that expand emergent word skills, two sets of portable flash cards that reinforce skills, six games that build both academic and social-emotional skills, and a link to online learning that complements the other materials.

Flash cards are game-like, so kids can play/use them with another person—mom, grandpa, sibling, or friend. They provide additional practice of key skills such as numbers, letters, sight words, and rhyming, and can improve speed and accuracy in recognizing key concepts.

Learning games, along with practicing academic skills, also develop cooperation and collaboration, including sharing, turn-taking and negotiation. They also teach focus, strategy, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Games using manipulatives such as press-out pieces even sharpen fine motor skills.

These boxed sets deliver hours and hours of learning, along with a range of play options.

Gifts that help teachers and their students
teacher in a classroom wearing a Santa hat with three kindergarten age kids and three packs of school zone 4-pack flash cards in front of them with holiday bows on them

In thinking about gifts for a favorite teacher or teachers, consider gifts that might help them help their students while also reducing their out-of-pocket costs, which can be substantial. In August, Education Week reported that “Teachers earning between $35,000 and $50,000 buy on average $715 worth of supplies with their own money.” They added that “Teachers who work in high-poverty schools, where 75 percent or more students are eligible for free- or reduced-price lunch, also are more likely to spend higher amounts on supplies—an average of $761.”

Flash Card (4-Packs) are terrific, low-cost, sharable, portable learning tools that can reinforce classroom lessons. The Central Penn College Study Center reports that flash cards “help students to engage in active recall,” defined as when “students actively engage in learning by stimulating…memories and creating lasting connections to the material.” Though they are recommending flash cards for college students, the same principles apply to little learners. Along with being game-like, the easy repetition and “drills” that are possible with flash cards build confidence and speed of recall.

School Zone flash card offerings include Preschool Flash Cards (4-Pack), Alphabet Flash Cards (4-Pack), Reading Flash Cards (4-Pack), Math Grades 1-2 Flash Cards (4-Pack), Math Grades 3-4 Flash Cards (4-Pack), and Bilingual Flash Cards (4-Pack).

Gifts that help kids who too often go without

Retailers often participate in toy/gift drop boxes during the holidays, and many churches and some employers host an “adopt a family” or “pick a tag” for buying a gift for a child or adult. Warm clothing and sturdy shoes are definite needs, but do not underestimate the value of gifting kids with books. Reading has lifelong benefits; it builds vocabulary, increases empathy, and improves focus, memory, and communication skills among a host of others. Time and again, research shows that having books in the home improves educational outcomes, which in turn, improves overall life success.

Yet the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) Report Card: Reading showed that only 33% of US fourth-grade students “performed at or above the NAEP Proficient level on the reading assessment in 2022.” 

fourteen little activity books from School Zone for Holiday gift giving with an illustrated elf kicking up some magical sparkle next to the books

Little workbooks that pack a big learning punch and make page-turning a familiar activity include School Zone’s Little Busy Book™ series. Most are just $3.49, with a few priced at $4.49. Holiday-themed examples include Jolly Hidden Pictures, Jolly Dot-to-Dots, and Jolly Mazes Workbooks among others. Examples of non-holiday-themed books from the similar Little Get Ready!™ series are Get Ready for Math, Get Ready to Count Money Grades 1-2, and Get Ready to Tell Time. (Even in our digital age, with clock time visible on every device, who doesn’t want their children to be able to read a traditional clock?!)

Or consider the charming storybooks in the three-level Start to Read!® series that use short sentences and rhymes (in most) to build literacy skills. Three among many are Jog, Frog Jog (Level 1), Peter’s Dream (Level 2), and The Last Game (Level 3).

Help your own kids and those in your community glide into the new year well-gifted and ready to achieve! 

group of five young kids in front of a Christmas tree holding gifts