My youngest daughter has four boys, ranging in age from six to twelve, and they were all here for Christmas. We’d discussed well in advance gift ideas for them, and they all seemed quite pleased with what they received.
Two trends in the gifts stood out. The first was books. They all received books from me (Grandma Karen) and from their Mom and Dad. They were delighted with them. Even the six-year-old, though he has limited reading skills as yet. They’ve all discovered the pleasures of reading!
(For the boys, one of the exciting features of visiting us is Grandpa Jim’s collection of Calvin and Hobbes books. All four of them will sit around reading those, although I think the six-year-old just likes looking at the pictures and doing what his brothers are doing.)
The second trend was they all received kits of complicated put-together projects. The twelve-year-old got a build-it-yourself safe and a wooden music box kit; the ten-year-old, a robot to construct and a wooden put-together foosball set. They eight-year-old received a solar-powered robot and a wooden pinball game. Even the six-year-old got a set of simple robot pets to put together yourself.
They wasted no time in getting to work on their projects. By the time the adults had finished opening presents, the boys were already stationed at the dining room table, deep into taking the kits apart and working with pieces. Their mom brings a set of trays for the projects. The pieces for one kit all have to stay in the assigned tray. It does help control the chaos. The two younger ones needed some adult help with their projects, but not as much as anyone expected. I had to chase them all away when I was ready to set the table for dinner.
Within a couple of days all of the new projects had been assembled, tweaked, tested, and used. Some of them had been rebuilt already. If there isn’t at least one future engineer in the group, I’ll find it completely shocking.