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One of the most influential books I read during my education college classes was Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom by Thomas Armstrong. It was about the eight different types of ‘smart’. It made a big impact on me because it gives credit to all types of learners.
Gardner, the founder of the multiple intelligences theory, believed we should not limit people to only one learning style. Instead we should “empower” people to learn through a variety of channels. When I was a classroom teacher I tried to make sure each of the 8 intelligences were accommodated within each unit study.
The multiple intelligences are:
When I am selecting gifts for my children, I try to include one gift from each area of intelligence. It gives me a basic framework and makes sure I am not neglecting any area of intelligence.
Multiple Intelligence Gift Ideas
Board Books are a fantastic linguistic gift. The Itsy Bitsy Snowman, by Jeffrey Burton is a cute rhyming twist on the classic, The Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Shape Cubes are a great way to nurture the logical-mathematical intelligence. Babies learn about shapes as they fit the pieces in the holes.
Chunky Puzzles are a good way to develop spatial skills. Babies learn to identify and fit the missing pieces. Melissa and Doug make wonderful wooden chunky puzzles.
Activity Mats are an excellent way for young babies to begin developing their bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
Baby-safe Photo Books are wonderful for nurturing interpersonal relationships. You can fill the book with photographs of loved ones and your baby can look (and chew) anytime. This was a favorite when my kids were babies.
Mobiles can help babies relax when they are in their crib so they make a great intrapersonal gift. Another idea is a soft toy or blanket (that still allows airflow) that helps a child self-soothe.
Stroller Covers can help you take your baby outside even when it is drizzling. Taking babies outside to explore is a wonderful way to develop a naturalist intelligence.
Audiobooks provide a terrific way for pre-readers to explore language and develop their linguistic intelligence.
Beginning Science Kits are a great way to build logical-mathematical intelligence. My kids LOVED playing with the beakers and test tubes.
Dress-up Clothes are one of a preschooler’s favorite ways to develop bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. It combines role play and drama with a bit of make-believe.
Band in a Box is a wonderful way to develop musical intelligence. These types of toys can get LOUD so I keep them up high and bring them out only when noisy play is allowed.
Board Games that foster taking turns and other good sportsmanship behaviors are a fun way to work on interpersonal intelligence. Candy Land also works on identifying colors.
Play Tents provide a way for preschoolers to ‘hide-out’ and have a little alone time so they are a creative way to develop intrapersonal intelligence.
Snowman Kits contain everything needed to decorate a snowman. I have seen these available online, but they are also cheap and easy to assemble yourself. You can’t build a snowman inside, so this helps nurture the naturalist intelligence.
Mad Libs are a fun way to practice grammar and build linguistic intelligence. My kids love to play Mad Libs a few times a week.
Snap Circuits are a favorite with my third grade son. He has been nurturing his logical-mathematical intelligence for years while building fans and lights.
Marble Runs develop spatial intelligence while designing and building a maze. There are a bunch of pieces, so I recommend giving a storage container to contain it all.
Sports Equipment is an easy way to encourage bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. The best part about this idea, is that it is easy to customize based on a child’s interests.
Conversation Starter Cards are a wonderful way to work on developing interpersonal intelligence. You can purchase cards, but printable versions are available for free online. Just print, package in a cute box, and slip into a stocking.
Customizable Chore Charts are a great way for kids to learn to set goals and they promote intrapersonal intelligence.
Magazine Subscriptions are a wonderful way to nurture linguistic intelligence. There are many subscriptions available so you can choose one related to your child’s interests.
Chemistry Kits develop a child’s logical-mathematical intelligence. It can be a bit of a challenge to find a chemistry kit that isn’t too juvenile for a middle schooler (and they desperately want to be treated as adults), but this set uses professional equipment.
Fashion Design is a creative way to grow spatial intelligence. If you have a budding fashion designer, you might even want to consider a sewing machine.
Charades Cards can get kids moving and role-playing so they develop bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. There are charades cards for sale, but here is a printable set that will be fun for the whole family.
Musical Instruments are popular among the middle school crowd. They might choose the guitar, violin, piano, or any other instrument, but the result is the same – strengthened musical intelligence.
Board Games will always be a great way to grow interpersonal skills. Kids now have the patience for longer strategic games.
A Journal and Fun Pens are a fabulous way to nurture intrapersonal intelligence. Middle schoolers can write down their most secret thoughts in the journal.
Microscopes allow kids to develop their naturalist intelligence by exploring nature up close.
Poetry Word Magnets are a cute fun way to foster linguistic intelligence. These poetry word magnets will make a great stocking stuffer!
Chess Sets are a great resource for building logical-mathematical intelligence. There are physical and digital ways to play.
Movies seem like they wouldn’t be educational, but they are actually a popular way to develop spatial intelligence. Choose a title from your child’s favorite genre.
Speakers or Headphones that can connect to a cell phone are a practical way to foster a teen’s musical intelligence.
Scrapbook Kits are a creative way to encourage intrapersonal intelligence.
Binoculars let teens build their naturalist intelligence with their feet planted firmly on the ground. If they are not in to birds, try a fishing kit.
What gifts are on your list this year?
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