This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine.
When I was a kid, one of the things that made Christmas truly magical was the surprise of opening presents on Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to wake up as early as possible to see what was inside my stocking and wrapped under the tree.
While many families want to create a magical Christmas for their children, there are many who simply cannot afford it.
As everything continues to get more expensive, some families will be forced to make many difficult budget decisions this holiday season.
As a parent, I empathize with any family struggling financially right now. It is not easy.
This is why I love giving back through Toys for Tots.
Since 1948, Toys for Tots programs have brought the joy of Christmas and sent a message of hope to America’s disadvantaged children.
Now more than ever, it’s important to support children in our communities. And Navy Federal Credit Union makes it easy to donate. You can help spread holiday cheer to local children in need by dropping off a new, unwrapped toy at one of the 250+ participating Navy Federal Branches.
You can find a participating branch or donate online by visiting navyfederal.org/toysfortots.
Before you select a toy donation, please consider this.
Many of the toys bought at Christmas are “one and done” type of toys. These are the kind of toys that don’t teach, inspire or grow with kids.
You’ll know you have a “one and done” toy on your hands if it talks to kids, asks questions, sings songs, lights up or is full of brightly-colored plastic with movie or character themes.
The “one and done” toy is meant to entertain kids vs. kids entertaining themselves through creative play with an open-ended toy.
When you gift an open-ended toy, you provide years of entertainment.
Children learn best through open-ended toys, which offer more play opportunities to children than complex toys. Simple, basic playthings such as blocks, dollhouses, and art supplies have multiple purposes. With simple toys, play is up to the child’s mood and creative interpretation.
When kids play with open-ended toys, they are developing social skills, problem-solving skills, language skills, communication skills, cognitive ability, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, self regulation, creativity and more.
There’s a reason why the Museum of Play in Rochester honored “the stick” as toy of the year in the past. It can be used as a wand, a sword, a ruler, and a flagpole. You can even find a great list of open ended toys in their National Toy Hall of Fame.
Here are some basic ideas to help you get started…
Blocks and Stem Open Ended Toy Ideas
- Wood blocks
- Magnet blocks
- Log blocks
- Tinker Toys
- Train tracks
- Marble works
- Letter blocks
Art and Craft Open Ended Toys
- Fun paper
- Smelly markers
- Perler / Fuse Beads
- Art supply kits
- Art easel
Puzzles and Games
- Wooden puzzles
- Floor puzzles
- Foam puzzles
- Alphabet puzzles
- Typical puzzles
- Board games
- Card games
- Memory games
Science and STEM Open Ended Toys
- Slime kits
- Rock kits
- Bug kits (ant, butterfly, etc.,)
Pretend Play Props and Toys
- Pretend food
- Play kitchen
- Vet kit
- Doctor kit
- Dress up clothing
- Pretend construction kit
- Child’s favorite author
- Favorite character
- Favorite topic
Sensory and Fine Motor Open Ended Play
For over 25 years, Navy Federal has given back to the communities they serve during the holidays through its support for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Navy federal members and team members look forward to this holiday campaign every year. In fact, last year, they donated 20,600 toys for children in need.
If you’re looking for one really easy – yet meaningful way – to give back this holiday season, please consider dropping of a new, unwrapped open-ended toy to one of Navy Federal’s participating branches near you.
You’ll be giving a less fortunate child a toy they can play with for years to come.