What's left after the craze of holiday gift opening? Often just a giant pile of used wrapping paper, a large credit card bill, and some toys that your kids may or may not discard with boredom in a matter of days. But if you think strategically your gift choices might be able to leave a longer-lasting impression on your kids -- a love of entrepreneurship.
For parents and others hoping to nudge their little ones towards entrepreneurship, there are plenty of creative gift choices for kids of all ages and with a range of interests. An exploration of gift guides and expert recommendations revealed a host of great suggestions, including these.
Entrepreneurship requires a lot of mental toughness, and according to a monster list of toys for budding entrepreneurs from blog Bplans, Fold is the perfect toy to help develop this quality: "This 'decathlon of mind-bending folding puzzles' will keep your kids endlessly entertained, especially if they love origami. It's not impossible by any means, but it's a tough challenge of twists and turns, with a whole lot of satisfaction as the reward. It's as much a test of will, patience, and logic as it is a great way to build confidence in problem-solving abilities."
2. Rory's Story Cubes
To foster other essential skills, such as creativity and storytelling, Bplans recommends another game -- Rory's Story Cubes. "Rory's Story Cubes is a fun dice game with limitless storytelling opportunities. It's also affordable and has plenty of expansion packs so you can keep the fun coming over time. There's even a great page on the company's site that gives you ideas on how to play," notes the site.
3. A unicycle
What's one final, essential skill for entrepreneurship? A certain comfort with risk, and a unicycle can help your kid develop it, Bplans asserts. "Not only will a unicycle encourage your child to take risks, but it will teach balance, diligence, and patience," says their gift guide.
4. A Lemonade Stand kit
If you're looking to go the direct route and push your little ones straight down the path to entrepreneurship then this lemonade stand kit just might be the perfect present. "Here's the traditional way to learn business skills like self-promotion, the one we all know well--the lemonade stand!" explains Bplans. "This lemonade stand kit includes lemonade mix, sugar cookie mix, a cookie cutter, a wooden spoon, a paper hat, a price sheet, a paper banner, recipe, and instructions. It's all business from here."
Want to teach your child (especially a daughter) to be a maker, not just a consumer? Maybe Roominate should find its way onto your holiday shopping list then. A sort of upgrade on traditional building blocks, here's how the founders of the company behind the toy explain their creation: "A girl builds her own room, crafts her own furniture, connects her own circuits, and decorates the structure to finalize her vision. Then, she can stack rooms on top of each other or attach them side-by-side to build an ever-growing creation. Finally, she can take it apart and use the same pieces to design something completely different."
Determined to combat "princess mania" in your daughters and gently nudge them towards science instead? Then the obvious and much-hyped choice is GoldieBlox. The company got in trouble for copyright infringement with the Beastie Boys (and not everyone is a fan of their products) but if you have a daughter with a budding interest in STEM, their toys might be worth considering.
7. Snap Circuits
Hoping to raise the next Mark Zuckerberg? Then encourage your kid's love of tech with Snap Circuits. It's perfect "for the budding electrical engineer. With one set of 30 pieces, you can try more than 100 different projects. Which means you should never again hear, 'I'm booorrrred.' You will, but you shouldn't," says Slate's gift guide, recommending the toy.
8. Build a Birdhouse
Or, go more low-tech but equally hands-on with another pick from Slate -- build and paint a birdhouse. "This construction project is fun while it lasts, but the real joy comes months later when you hang it in the yard and birds start nesting in it. Really, they will!" promises the site.
9. Custom Sneaker Paint Kit
Here's one final idea: give your would-be entrepreneur the gift of inspiration by buying them a toy created by a child inventor. "Greyson MacLean of Hartland, Wisc., came up with the idea for BrickStix when he was 9 years old," explains Entrepreneur. "He loved everything about his Legos -- except for the stickers that came with the sets... That's how he came up with BrickStix, which are reusable, removable and restickable decals that work using static cling. 'Now kids can add a watchdog to a city, stick an alien aboard their spaceship or put a dent in a car,' he says." Just don't forget to tell you child who is the mind behind their gift.