When we caught up with Dr. Roberta Golinkoff again to talk about the best gifts for 7-year-olds, we had the pleasure of hearing from her grandson Elio, age 11, as well. “Independence” is what he remembers as being a major milestone for second-graders. And Dr. Golinkoff, a professor of child psychology at the University of Delaware, agreed. “When you go into first grade, you’re not sure of which end is up, and you’re still depending on everyone,” she said. “But by the time you go to second grade, you know the drill. And if you have a good teacher, you can ask questions and have a bit of agency.”
Dr. Golinkoff refers to the so-called “Six C’s” once again, while reasoning about the best and the most efficient ways to stimulate your children’s development, despite what age we are talking about. That is the concept Dr. Golinkoff and Dr. Kathy Hirsch-Pasek, her partner and co-author, describe and promote in their book, which, as we know, is the bestseller. Lets list them again: collaboration, content, communication, creative innovation, confidence, and critical thinking. She also emphasized the importance of nurturing the ability to endure failure and learn from this experience, as well as bringing up the ability to persevere and being persistent. That is what some people call a grit.
The major thing is that children follow their own interests. As Dr. Golinkoff believes, no matter what they want to read and like is what their parents should be willing to go with. Here is the list of 13 books, games, toys, and puzzles checked out by Dr. Golinkoff and Elio themselves. They will help almost any 7-year-old child to get into the next stage of development. Also, check out our gift suggestions for kids of different age groups, including 1-year-olds, 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, 10-year-olds, and 11-year-olds.
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As Dr. Golinkoff said before, she wants kids to love and enjoy reading. And you, as a parent, would want it either. However, it should not be like a chore to your kids. It doesn’t matter what kind of books your kids read. Even comic books, like Calvin and Hobbes, are just great. Don’t tell your child that he has to read chapter books only. There are so many fabulous choices to pick from.
Check out one of Elio’s favorite books. As Dr. Golinkoff says, her kids also loved books about Roald Dahl.
Ramona Quimby, by Beverly Cleary is another Elio’s choice and the book he really enjoyed.
It is true to say that books about Harry Potter’s adventures may seem to be quite hard for 7-year-old kids. However, it would be great if parents read a chapter to their child every night. For a child, as well as for his parent there is nothing like cuddling up in bed together in the evening and read a book. When you do it together, you are sending your kid a message that reading is fun. It also becomes associated with a wonderful and cozy feeling of cuddling with the parent.
Puzzles and Games
We have the research data stating that the children who play many puzzle-like games usually have stronger math skills. Moreover, spatial games are also very important, because we constantly keep navigating spaces in our everyday life.
Dr. Golinkoff recommends talking to children about math to stimulate their development. It does not matter where you do it – it can be a supermarket or you can do it at home. To help kids get through math anxiety, there are several applications on the market, like Bedtime Math. For a more practical approach, check out Mobi, the game similar to Bananagrams. This toy gets kids creating simple math equations on the fly.
Our next suggestion is the kids’ version of the award-winning logical game. It requires from your kid to apply his strategic thinking to lead the ice-cream truck through the city traffic on its jolly way.
This is another strategy-oriented board game, which develops your child’s spatial thinking. And it is approved by Mensa. Your kid can compete against his friends or family members to get all his pieces on the board. But, remind him to make sure that his pieces are not next to another player’s pieces, and, at the same time, each piece your kid puts down has to touch at least one corner of his pieces that are on the board already.
If your children haven’t started to play team sports yet, the second grade is the perfect time for that. Dr. Golinkoff says that there is no sense and no use to force your kid if he is not interested. She believes that children have to really want doing this. This Wiffle-ball set can get them easily into baseball. While playing it, kids will develop their hand-eye coordination.
The funny thing about little kids playing soccer is that they often score the wrong goal. “I love that, and it is very cute and hilarious when this happens”, Dr. Golinkoff says.
To stimulate fine motor skills development and for further development of spatial awareness, Dr. Golinkoff strongly recommends various craft activities. Try the Cat’s Cradle. It displays the numerous variants of playing with the string, and it is collaborative as well.
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (or STEM-learning, as it is often called) is very important. However, Dr. Golinkoff believes, STEAM is even more beneficial. In her interpretation, A stands for arts, of course. This kit allows children to create colorful erasers of various shapes out of clay and putting them into the oven to harden. As a result, they get a whole bunch of erasers that actually work.
This kit allows your children to take their games with a paper airplane to a new level.