Purdue University creates holiday gift guide for kids that teaches history and civics

Purdue College of Education professors are transitioning out of election season into the holiday season with a Christmas gift guide for kids.

As we approach “that time of year,” Purdue’s College of Education is releasing a guide that features educational gifts focusing on our government and nation’s history.

Phillip VanFossen, Purdue University Democratic Citizenship Director, took part in creating the list, which features three gift categories including a toy, a game and a book. He said it’s never too early to teach the next generation about their place as citizens.

“If we can start earlier with Christmas gifts that help them develop the habits of mind of a democratic citizen… a citizen in a democratic society, then I think that’s a good thing,” said VanFossen.

Each gift is geared toward children from grades K-12. VanFossen said the earlier kids grasp this information the better democracy we could have.

“That can’t be only at the 12th grade level in high school, it needs to start earlier so that kids have an opportunity to experience what it means to be a citizen in a society like ours,” VanFossen.

This past election brought out an unusually high number of voters, particularly young voters. VanFossen said it’s good that political interest is on the rise, however, it doesn’t do us any good if voters are uneducated.

“Having an interests is only part of the equation so it’s one thing to be interested but uniformed interest was just as concerning to the Founders as no interest at all,” said VanFossen. In order to maintain our democracy we need an educated citizenship,” he added.

Vinton Elementary School Principal Cindy Preston said the gifts on the list are something that will benefit elementary school kids across the county.

“In the elementary world at least, everything is so focused on math, writing and reading that unfortunately, social studies and science don’t get the time that they need,” said Preston.

Principal Preston said with not enough time in the school day, students having these educational games at home will hopefully prepare them for their middle school curriculum.

Although the idea of an educational gift isn’t usually at the top of a christmas wish list. Principal Preston said if parents show their interest than kids will often find interests as well.

Click here for a link to the history learning toy, game and book suggested by Purdue Professors.

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