What do you give the kid or family who has everything? And what kind of gift can keep on giving, without needing to take up storage space? Digital subscriptions, of course! Especially as the size of our family has grown, we’ve encouraged family to buy one “group gift” for the kids. Many of these options are things that can be used and enjoyed by all (or most all) of the children!
Watching, Reading, and Writing
Epic! – This app, accessible from any device, gives kids access to over 15,000 books and other resources. Kids turn virtual pages and see the same illustrations they’d see in a paper copy of the book. Some stories even come with voice narration. It tracks what kids have read and how long they’ve spent reading. Also included are videos and other resources! (You can try it for free for 1 month before purchasing if you aren’t sure.) Here’s a video showing what it looks like on a tablet, but you can also access it from other devices.
Amazon Prime – This membership provides free access to movies, ebooks, music, and more! The link provided will take you to a page for sending your recipient a Prime gift subscription. Amazon will email your gift recipient with redemption instructions on the day you choose, so you can order ahead of time and plan the delivery for a special day! Prime membership also includes free 2-day Amazon shipping, free photo back-up, and other great benefits, so this could be a whole-family gift, not just for the kids!
KindleUnlimited – While you could purchase individual ebooks or audible (audiobook) titles for your gift recipient, another option is a subscription to KindleUnlimited! For the time period you choose, the beneficiary of your kindness will have unlimited access to over a million digital books and thousands of audiobooks! As with the Prime membership above, this link will take you right to a landing page for gifting KindleUnlimited. You pick the date and an email will be sent to your loved one with redemption instructions!
Grammarly – If you have an aspiring author on your gift list, you may want to check out Grammarly. Grammarly works in conjunction with most word processing software and even online forms. It checks writing and makes suggestions about over 250 different types of errors! Sometimes it’s easier to take a little grammar reminder from a digital program than from a real live person. This way, your writer’s audience can focus on the brilliant ideas she is sharing!
Exploration and Learning
BrainPOP – This fantastic resource is a wealth of videos, quizzes, games and other interactive activities to engage kids with learning. Tim and his Robot friend Moby answer reader questions on all kinds of topics and answer them in clear, easy to follow, and often humorous short videos. I used this program with my students when I taught elementary school, and I’m asking my grandparents to give it to my children this year for Christmas! (Normally $115/year for family access, but often on sale at the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op for only $86.95 through 11/30.)
Field Trip Zoom – Attend field trips virtually! Stay in the comfort of your own classroom/home and engage with field trip sites, events, and presenters miles away! Full calendar of field trip events ranging from historical, natural, scientific and more!
Mark Kistler’s Draw 3D – 300+ 3D drawing lessons available 24/7 from any device. Watch as Mark Kistler teaches you how to draw all kinds of objects and creatures and to make them look three-dimensional! My kids have loved learning from Mark Kistler via The Imagination Station and now I’m excited to try this program for them! (Normally $99/year, but on sale for $39.60 at the Homeschool Buyer’s Co-op. You can try this course for free if you want to give it a test drive!) Here’s a free lesson my kids have enjoyed from YouTube:
PicMonkey – Perhaps you have a budding graphics designer, but aren’t ready to shell out the cash for a full-fledged software. Or, maybe your kids use Chromebooks and can’t download software. PicMonkey is the perfect option! Full of photo editing tools and pre-made templates ready-to-use, PicMonkey works for everyone from kids to professionals! (Only $39.99 a year.)