A Stepping Stone Foundation Blog

First Things First and Holiday Gifting

Thanks to Susana Ibarra Johnson, Parent Awareness and Community Outreach Coordinator from First Things First Phoenix  North and Phoenix South Councils for the following post.


Holidays Offer Opportunities to Expand Young Kids’ Learning


It seems like everywhere we look, we’re bombarded with ads heralding the latest learning toys for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. These toys promise fantastic educational rewards, sometimes with a price tag to match.  Turns out, the toys that can be most beneficial to children’s learning are also budget friendly. First Things First reminds us that simple toys appeal to the way infants, toddlers and preschoolers learn. They also may not be as costly.


Books, balls, bubbles, dress up clothes and pretend versions of everyday objects, building blocks, art supplies, musical instruments and simple board games are among the time-tested favorites that create hours of fun and build a strong foundation for learning.


Please remember to check the labeling to ensure the toy is appropriate to your child’s age and watch young children play at all times. Better yet, join in on the fun!


Holiday traditions are another great way to expand children’s learning at this festive time of year. When we involve young children in holiday traditions, we help them build skills that are important to their success in school and in life.


Participating in religious services, family gatherings, cultural ceremonies and charitable events, teach children a myriad of character skills including communication, self-control, self-esteem and consideration for the needs or feelings of others.


Holiday traditions like baking, decorating and singing can also expand children’s vocabulary and other academic skills like counting, sorting, measuring, and identifying shapes or letters.


By engaging in our children’s play, choosing gifts that promote creativity, and making young kids part of our holiday traditions, we can help our children build the skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond!

About First Things First – First Things First is a voter-created, statewide organization that funds early education and health programs to help kids be successful once they enter kindergarten. Decisions about how those funds are spent are made by local councils staffed by community volunteers. To learn more, visit azftf.gov.