Choose Christmas gifts that will help your child to learn

November 28, 2017

You don’t have to break the bank this Christmas for toys that will help children develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

Parents all over the country will be tuning into this week’s Late Late Toy Show to hear about the latest ‘must have’ toys this Christmas. But if you’re looking for the ideal present, there are lots of fun options that won’t break the bank and will also help your child develop their literacy and numeracy skills.

“There’s always a lot of hullabaloo about expensive toys at this time of year. But sometimes the best thing to do is keep things simple. As soon as your child can toddle, push and pull toys on wheels such as toy cars, trucks, tractors, diggers, ambulances and fire engines, can fire their imagination. Also, your child might enjoy copying things you do with a pretend supermarket trolley, wheelbarrow, buggy or pet animal on wheels,” says Inez Bailey, CEO, NALA.

“Simple push and pull toys like these can help your child use their imagination, learn more about their world, and develop more control over movements and balance,” says Inez.

Inez also emphasises that books always make a great present as they provide a great opportunity for parents to interact and have fun with their kids.

“Choose a book that has an exciting story and read it aloud with your child. From stories your child learns many things such as how to listen and concentrate. They also learn new words without even realising it. They learn to put ideas in order, develop their memory skills, notice how spoken words relate to words on the page and learn how to predict,” she says.

“If parents can’t buy books, another great option is to join the local library and borrow some for free. Library staff will also help them pick out suitable books for children. There are also lots of fun toys and games that parents can make themselves as presents. To find out more about these, parents can visit, NALA’s website to help parents support their child’s development.”

Inez was speaking ahead of NALA’s family learning conference which is on Wednesday, 29 November in Dublin. There will be a range of speakers in at the event discussing play therapy, the impact of family learning, creating a picture book and speech and language therapy.

For media queries or to arrange an interview with Inez, please contact: Patrick Gleeson, communications officer, NALA, 01 412 7916 / 086 792 5363 or

Notes for editors
NALA’s Family Learning conference will take place on Wednesday, 29 November in the Ashling Hotel in Dublin 8. Guest speakers include Cath Harcula, Chair of the National Family Learning Forum, England and Dipankar Biswas, adult literacy tutor and play therapist, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (ETB). This conference is part of NALA’s work to support the implementation of the Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019. It is aligned to Objective 2 of NALA’s Strategic Plan 2017-2019 which is to ‘lead innovation in the teaching and learning of adult literacy, numeracy and basic digital skills’.

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