Holiday Gift Guide

Dec 15, 2010

Are you looking for the perfect present for the special student in your life? Here's a list of educational gift suggestions for all ages. Happy holidays!

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holiday gift guide

Educational Gifts for Elementary and Middle Schoolers

Reader Rabbit

This classic computer program targets kids ages 4-9. Reader Rabbit programs are available in a variety of subjects, including reading and math. In most cases, the programs are split into two levels - one for children ages 4-6 and another for kids ages 6-9. Each program uses an easy-to-understand series of games and lessons to teach basic phonics and math lessons. This series has been around since the early 1990s, and the Reader Rabbit website says that more than 25 million copies have been sold since then. You can buy the software for about $5-$10 per program.

Learn more by visiting the Reader Rabbit website.

Ranger Rick

If you know a young nature lover, consider giving a subscription to Ranger Rick. This kids' magazine is focused toward ages 7-14 and features colorful, instructive features about animals. There are also games and activities in every issue. There are no ads or other outside content in the magazine - only educational material. Plus, you can feel good knowing that the profits from this magazine support the National Wildlife Federation. A 10-issue subscription is $19.95.

Click here for more detail, and to subscribe.

Encyclopedia Britannica Kids Online

Intended for children ages 8-15, this online encyclopedia covers topics like religion, science, math, language arts and geography. The site is colorfully designed and features a simple interface that kids should be able to use with little to no supervision. Additional features include games, news for young people, homework and research tools, videos and a section for parents. Subscription costs $69.95 for a year and provides full access to the website.

You can take advantage of a 7-day free trial by visiting the encyclopedia's website.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Educational Gifts for High Schoolers, College Students, and Adults

Oxford English Dictionary

Considered by some to be the premier authority for information about the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has been in print for more than 150 years. The OED website features the full text of the dictionary along with its thesaurus and articles about English linguistic history. One plus to subscribing to the online edition is the fact that it is frequently updated. You can purchase a 3-month or a 12-month subscription. Prices are listed in British pounds, and after taxes the cost comes out to about $90 for three months - or $350 for a full year.

Visit the website to learn more about subscription or to sign up for a 30-day trial.

Lapham's Quarterly

This quarterly publication is a compilation of original content and excerpts from classic literature. Each issue focuses on a specific topic, like love, war, medicine or crime. Amusing and informative charts and graphics supplement the excerpts and essays, and gorgeous color reproductions of art that relates to the issue's topic are also included. A year's subscription to Lapham's Quarterly is $59. Adult cultural enthusiasts are likely to enjoy this magazine, and it would also be appropriate for sophisticated and intellectually curious teenagers.

You can learn more about the magazine, check out its blog and order a subscription by clicking here

Visual Thesaurus

The Visual Thesaurus takes a unique approach to defining words by creating a visual connection between terms with similar meanings. Both an online and a desktop edition of the Visual Thesaurus are available. There are some differences between the online and desktop editions; for example, only the online edition features an international language thesaurus. The two products are also priced differently, with the online edition available for $2.95 a month, or $19.95 per year, and the desktop edition available for a flat fee of $39.95.

Visit the website to see an example of how the Visual Thesaurus works and to try a 2-week free trial of the online edition.

Tuition or Bookstore Gift Certificate

While some people see gift certificates and cards as impersonal presents, college students are unlikely to feel slighted by receiving a tuition gift certificate. Some colleges and universities, such as Iowa State, offer them, allowing relatives, friends and mentors to contribute directly to a student's tuition payments. Another option is to buy a gift certificate to a student's on-campus bookstore so he or she can use it to buy textbooks and other supplies. These gifts can allow you to help pay for a favorite student's education while showing your support and encouragement. To find out if your student's school offers tuition or bookstore gift certificates, you can contact the treasurer's office, financial aid office or bookstore.

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