Teachers and Parents of Gifted Students Form Holiday Gift Guide

Gift ideas to stimulate your child's thinking.

GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) parents put together a gift idea guide.

According to their page on the Upper St. Clair School District website, the ideas came from GATE members and gifted teachers.




  • Settlers of Catan (http://www.catan.com/), a board game that requires lots of logic and planningand is terrific for group interaction
  • Power Grid (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2651/power-grid), a family could learn so much playing this together
  • Scrabble/SuperScrabble
  • Rummibkub – strategygame that connects to math
  • Rush Hour
  • Quirkle
  • Perplexus
  • Blokus – problem-solving
  • Equate
  • “24” Cards – sets comein single digits, double digits, integers, fractions, decimal and algebra (exponents and variables)
  • Black Box
  • Mastermind
  • Creationary –different sets for different interests
  • 39 Clues Game
  • Cranium Cadoo
  • Set: The Family Game of Visual Perception

Toys and Trinkets:

  • For older kids, make giving money or gift cards a little more interesting for a gifted child ... there are dozens of money holders where students have to complete puzzles ormazes in order to "release" the cash or gift card—makes things a little more exciting than an envelope (and could be fun for aunts, uncles, etc. to give). Check out this site for one example—though by clicking around Amazon, you'll find many more: http://www.amazon.com/Magnif-1200-MagNif-Money-Puzzle/dp/B0002YDQBY
  • Kapla Balsa Wood “Blocks” – architects use these for models, these are good for any age!
  • Capela Construction KitsRokenbok ConstructionSets
  • Magna TilesSnap Circuits SC 300
  • Magnetic Poetry – great small gift for older kids

Books and Magazines:

  • Science Illustrated Magazine
  • Discover Magazine
  • Soduku and KenKen puzzle books
  • How Things Work: In the House
  • How Things Work: In the Yard
  • Brain Quest, books, fan deck, etc.
  • 39 Clues Book Series – online game that followsthe clues in the books
  • Classic Literature - Robert Louis Stevenson has a great male audience with his various adventure books, Mark Twain has both male and female appeal, Bronte's Wuthering Heights or Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, Edgar Allen Poe tales, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie stories.


  • A "different" sort of suggestion for gifted high school students (and even certain mature Fort Couch students) would be to share an "Indie film night" (or weekend afternoon) with them ... just parent(s) and the student—no extra friends or little brothers and sisters. Either take them to see a film at The Manor in Squirrel Hill and discuss it with themafter at a coffee shop or bistro (or even the Coldstone Ice Cream store nearby)—or create a "gift basket" with a couple of interesting-to-compare indie films, such as This is Not a Film (2011) and Beasts of the Southern Wild (to be released on DVD on Dec. 4)/ Throw in some special chai tea and muchies or perhaps a gift certificate for some take-out sushi. Then, pick a time to sit back and watch the films with them. High school kids are so open to seeing things from many different angles and discussing meanings and symbolism in films like these (or even the acting, music and camera use), so it's a wonderful way to raise the level of parent-child discussion before they head off to college. (It will make them feel very mature and you will be amazed at their insight—as theywill find themselves surprised by yours.)

Suggested Websites:

What other gift suggestions do you have? Tell us in the comments.

DanielBosh November 21, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Worst. Christmas. Ever.
M L spazok November 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Refreshing not to see a video, electronic game mentioned. Scrabble - alot of fun. How about a field trip to Old Economy, Carneigie Museum. Frick Estate or Kraynaks in Sharon, Pa. Pittsburgh is so ethnic diversified with beautiful historic landmarks and churches. Gifts are great but....... I must admit I would like to be a multi millionaire 1 Christmas and be able to purchase from all the stores on 5th and madison in NYC. Not going to happen. thankful for great friends and great health and living in a wonderful community - USC. Happy Holidays!
Becky Brindle November 22, 2012 at 02:54 AM
I like the Indie movie idea!


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