News From Your School Psychologist

December Gift Guide

Gratitude Revisit

Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving. If you missed the November newsletter about gratitude, be sure to check it out below.

Just because Thanksgiving is over, doesn't mean we can't continue to teach gratitude. On that note...onto the gift guide!

My favorite Things

Move over Oprah! Here are a few of my favorite gifts for kids (especially in Sprague's age range). I don't have any affiliation with any of the products. As a mom and school psychologist, I feel they are developmentally appropriate, avoid screens, provide long term fun, and are at decent prices. Whether you celebrate a gift giving holiday this December or not, these are great gifts for any time of year. The sheer amount of options out there can be overwhelming. So I narrowed it down to a few items, in a few categories.

Useful gifts for e-learning

Time Timer

Unlike traditional timers that fail to make the abstract concept of time concrete, the Time Timer’s visual depiction of “time remaining” helps foster a sense of independence. This has been my savior for my own kindergartener. Developmentally, most young children do not know how to tell time, nor do they have a good sense of time. The teacher may say to meet back in 10 minutes, but what does that really mean? This tool helps foster independence as it helps kids take time management into their own hands (pun intended)

Nonverbal Brain Games

I've played a lot of logic games and these continue to be my favorites!

Verbal Activity Gifts

Best Gifts for the Whole Family!

These journals are fun because kids get to practice writing back and forth with loved ones. Even better, it provides a structure for grandparents or parents to write down important stories and wisdom. These are a few versions I have seen...

Gifts to get Active

With the onset of these winter months, your kids (and adults) may be reluctant to leave the house. Enjoy these ideas for indoor movement breaks.

Art Projects that take time (and patience)

If art projects make your child frustrated, this may not be the "gift of choice." But if it produces more of a calm state, these projects take considerable time, which is kind of nice for parents!

Perler Beads

These beads are very time-consuming and kids like them. As long as you are willing to iron them (and pick them up off the floor).

If you already have some, you can also make really cool bowls as holiday gifts. Check out the video below.

Melted Bead Bowl


This activity is part craft, part stem, part puzzle. Kids need to connect tiny jigsaw pieces to create a larger project. Time-consuming and fun if your child enjoys building. But the pieces are very small. So be ware if you have smaller children. They come in all different patterns and sizes. Jixelz by Fat Brain Toys.

Creativity for Kids, "Big Gem" kits

Diamond painting has been quite popular. However, many of the kits have gems that are way too small for young kids. I've also found that kids don't have the stamina to complete a large diamond painting. That is why I love the "Big Gem" sets. They are inexpensive, the gems are bigger, and since they are "doable", children can have a sense of accomplishment. It also promotes development of fine motor skills/coordination and sustained attention.

Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics

If you aren't familiar with these, they are awesome and take a lot of time. They have all different patterns and even have a pre-k version. This activity supports fine motor skills and sustained attention. Since kids have to match by number, it also helps with number identification. They come in unicorns, animals, mermaids, etc.

Neon Coloring Sets'Coloring made easy

I like Schylling/Tiger Tribe's Neon coloring sets for prek and k or for kids who get frustrated with coloring. The way it is made with a black background makes it pretty easy to stay in the lines. Also, the markers are thicker and easy for little hands to grip. And finally, it comes in a kit so you can keep it all together. It comes in unicorns and animals as well.
Big picture

Interior Design

Is your child interested in redecorating their room? Interested in design? This takes away the heavy lifting. Kids get to decide where to place furniture and then they trace and decorate the room as they see fit. This is fun, but also requires kids to make a plan, use their perceptual reasoning and predicting to see if the items will fit, and then adjust the plan if the items do not fit.


Is your child into creating things? For the child who loves unstructured art/creation time, here are three suggestions to have on hand for free time.

Blank books

I always have extra. books like these. It is fun for kids to try to do their best work and pretend they are authors. They can also be used to create happiness books or birthday books for others.
Big picture

Book Corner

Power to Choose Series

For more practice with impulse control, try reading any of the "What would Danny Do." series. It is a great book to help kids practice the power of controlling their impulses and seeing what the consequences are in a safe way. Our students love to read it the "expected" way and then again making the "unexpected" choices.

Julia Cook books

Julia Cook tackles every topic in a kid friendly way. She addresses disabilities by pointing out that they are abilities and increasing self awareness about learning differences. Favorites include, "My Way or the Highway," a book about being more flexible and "I Have Ants in My Pants," for kids who struggle with focus and impulse control.

A Kid's Book About....SERIES

This series covers really important topics in a kid friendly way. Plus, it was featured as one of Oprah's Favorite Things! They have so many topics to choose from.

Previous Newsletters

Sprague School Calm Down Kit

You can print and cut out this mini book for your child. It has easy to use strategies and a quick parent page before each strategy.

Contact Me-Susan Elbaum, NCSP; Sprague School Psychologist

Interested in more on this topic? Let me know and I can send more information your way help answer any questions.