Lakeshore Gift Guide- Gifts for the Growing Mind

Recently I have been very conscious of the toys I buy for Ella and my nephews and niece. While toys are an important part of a child’s life, I think it is equally important to be aware of giving the “right” toys (this can mean many things, such as: environmentally friendly, locally sourced, educational, etc).

Educational Toys:

Am I saying that every toy you give has to be educational? Obviously no. However, as a parent, I try to at least make an effort to purchase toys that aid in child development. Learning through play is an important part of a child’s development. Kids actually learn a lot of skills that they will need in their life from education toys such as: fine and gross motor skills, problem solving, cause and effect, independence, compromise, conflict resolution, etc. So during the holidays, I decided to make a shift into buying some items that would do just that.

Growing up in a family that works for the local school district, I was very familiar with Lakeshore. I absolutely fell in love with the Dinosaur Adventure backpack and immediately got it for my nephew. In reality, I knew that Ella would love it too (even though it’s not in her age group of recommended toys). Honestly, the backpack is so sturdy, I did not imagine the material to be so durable. Kids love hauling their toys around places, so that’s why I knew this backpack would be perfect. It has adjustable straps and the pieces are very realistic. This toy aids kids in their imagination and storytelling. We actually read a story about dinosaurs as we played with it, and it was a blast. We also added some of our own dinosaurs for more interactive play!


Since I loved the Dinosaur Backpack so much, I actually ended up buying the Fantasy Adventure Backpack for Ella. Like I mentioned before, the backpacks are recommended for 3-8 year olds but Ella spent a good amount of time playing with it. While she’s not really understanding what it really going on, it’s still allowing her to grow and foster creativity and imagination. Unfortunately, I have no picture of Ella playing with it because it’s currently wrapped and waiting for her under the Christmas tree!


Finally, I got the Play and Explore Rocket. When I received it, I was shocked to see how big it actually was (measures 16.5 inches). The rocket features 3 levels, including a control room, a living space, kitchen and computer. It’s just a fun toy to teach kids about intergalactic exploration- something most aren’t really exposed to. Imaginative play allows children to express feelings, engage in new subject matters and enhance their capacity for cognitive flexibility. I love these toys so much. They are made with high quality materials and will last for years ( I am sure of it). Check out Lakeshore for their full range of toys for every age group!

Ellen Oganesyan