“My Story…”: A – Gifts for a Gifted 4 – 8 Year Old

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, Second Grade Math, Is it too easy?, A Well-Rounded Child, Being a Team Player, The Acceptance of Children, Anti-Social?, The Boy Can TALK!)

(*This post is kind of late– it would have been more helpful, perhaps, a couple weeks ago.  Still, for those of you who shop early or those who can remember to file it away, I wanted to share some things that are fresh in my mind!)


Sometimes I am asked:  What do I give a gifted kid for a present?


It’s tough.  You don’t want to buy something too grown-up or inappropriate.  You also don’t want to bore the child.  Finding that perfect balance of fun, challenging, and entertaining can seem elusive.  But never fear!  I have some great ideas for you that have been thoroughly tested and explored in our house…


Gift Ideas For a Gifted Elementary Child, age 4 – 8


  1. Kanoodle or Lonpos- Oh, Kanoodle, how I love thee.  This simple little portable game is absolutely fabulous for individual play.  The first level is incredibly simple, but it builds up to some truly challenging puzzles.  This one can entertain everyone from the toddler to my husband!
  2. Rubik’s Cube- This is a classic and, again, a game that doesn’t require other people.  Small, portable, and lacking small pieces, it’s a classic for a reason and gifted kids like the challenge!
  3. Snap Circuits- This set is amazing.  It allows children to safely explore and learn about electricity while building a light bulb, fan, radio, etc. in a long list of projects.
  4. Rush Hour (or Rush Hour Jr.)- Fabulous for strengthening spatial relations, this game is a fun way to do some problem solving while players seek to untangle the traffic jams.
  5. Triominos- Kind of like dominoes kicked up several notches, this game is fantastic for little number aficianados.   Keeping score is constant practice in simple addition and subtraction.
  6. Transformer-type toys or puzzles- Many gifted children enjoy challenges and solving puzzles.  Not only are they adept at manipulating problems in their brains, they also enjoy tangible toys that allow them to make the pieces fit or convert properly.  A bonus for parents?  You may not need to be as involved in helping “transform” the toy all the time as with more typical younger children.
  7. Non-fiction books on a topic of interest- Gifted readers can be a challenge.  Books that are appropriate CONTENT-wise are often too simple.  Books that are written at the correct reading level may well contain material that’s simply too mature.  Non-fiction books can be a real life-saver here.  A couple years back, our son was going through a stage of fascination with space.  He received some beautiful books as birthday gifts that were challenging enough to keep him engaged while completely safe in topic.
  8. Puzzle books- I highly recommend these “Brain Games kids” books.  They have a huge array of different types of puzzles at many different ability levels.
  9. Mastermind- A. just received this one and it’s a winner!  Trying to crack a code (or establish one that’s difficult to crack) is a blast.  A fun test in problem solving through process of elimination, this game has been around since I was a child and it’s still super fun.  (This is not one I would recommend for “on the road” as it does contain many small pieces.)
  10. Sports gear/ active Wii games/ etc.- Some gifted children are just very cerebral and can be incredibly content to sit and problem solve.  Puzzle books, computer games, and reading material can keep them happily engaged.  Truthfully?  This is awesome as a parent.  But it’s also so important, for any child, to be up and active.  Sports equipment or video games that require lots of movement can help provide nice balance.
And there you go.  Honestly?  This list was SO easy for me to compile.  I could probably provide many more ideas but I’ll leave it at that for now.  I only have experience parenting a gifted little boy, but I think most of these gift ideas are pretty gender-neutral (except, perhaps, the Transformers).


I will say this much– these games that challenge and amuse gifted kids also tend to be fun as a grown-up.  But you do have be on your toes.  This is no Candy Land that you can play with your eyes closed and hands behind your back!


Also, just a brief note on “age recommendations.”  As you might expect, you need to be flexible in your thinking here.  I always ask myself:  Why is the manufacturer recommending this range?  If it’s because the game requires math or memory skills that may be beyond the typical six-year-old, I don’t worry overly much.  But, sometimes, it’s because the content is too mature.  Or it requires manipulation of very tiny pieces.  Or it necessitates itty bitty printing or something that even my gifted child is just not up to yet.  There are times when A. truly can’t, or shouldn’t, be playing with it.  There are other times when I take it with a grain of salt.


Have you ever shopped for a gifted child or individual?  What are some of your favorite choices?


*Some affiliate links are contained in this post.  Thank you!

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6 comments to “My Story…”: A – Gifts for a Gifted 4 – 8 Year Old

  • I loved Mastermind as a kid. I can’t wait until we can play that around here. We got a bunch of games for Christmas so now we are settling into learning “game skills.” Wow super frustrating.

    • “Game skills” are something they never tell you about before you have kids! There is definitely a learning curve there. I loved Mastermind too! I used to play with my brother when I little. :)

  • Love these recommendations. Not that my kids are especially gifted, but I love getting educational, brain-challenging gifts for my kids. My three-year-old got Rush Hour for Christmas. He loves cars, and even though he’s too young to solve the puzzles, he has a lot of fun putting the cars on the grid to match the patterns on the cards. We like Mighty Mind (and other pattern block sets) and Royal Rescue. Pandabo is good for working on fine motor skills. I’d forgotten about Mastermind – have to pick that up sometime. I was also thinking about good art supplies for kids who are creative – we like Do-A-Dot and drawing books like the Taro Gomi doodling books. There are lots of good products made from recycled stuff, too – paper and crayons and pencils. We also like those science kits that come in the little test tubes or the larger boxed kits. The Once a Pawn a Time chess set is really cool, too. It comes with a book explaining the moves of each piece kind of like a story to help kids learn to play. Tic-Tac-Check is a good starter game to begin teaching kids chess moves.

    • These are some fabulous suggestions, Mandy– thank you! We are huge Do-A-Dot fans around here, too. (Though we call them “Dot-dots”… I’m not even sure how that started. One of my sister’s boys perhaps? :))

  • Jennie

    Brain quest cards are fun. Books are always a favorite in our house and my sister’s kids.

  • [...] Child, Being a Team Player, The Acceptance of Children, Anti-Social?, The Boy Can TALK!, Gifts for Gifted Kids, I Don’t Like You!, Miss K., The Plan for Next [...]

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