Using Multiple Intelligence to Find the Perfect Gift

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • When my oldest son was young, his holiday gifts were always the same. He would get  art supplies: paints, markers, pencils, crayons. I remember people not understanding. "Aren't you going to buy him a truck, or cars, or a basketball?" They would ask. I wasn't. He had all of those toys and they sat neatly in his room, never used. Instead, day after day he would take out the paints or the crayons or the markers and draw. Art and craft supplies were on the top of his list, every year. I used what he liked and despite criticisms, that is what I bought him.

    Are you looking for that perfect gift for someone you know with ADHD? It could be your child, your spouse, your cousin, your best friend. Are you looking for the gift that isn't going to sit neatly on the shelf, put away without ever being used? Understanding multiple intelligence might help you discover what makes this person tick and what gift would be perfect.

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    Intelligence is usually measured by a person's math and verbal abilities. The standard IQ uses these measurements and comes up with a point score. Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard University, believed that this approach was too limiting and developed measurement in eight different intelligence styles:

    • Nature smart
    • Logic smart
    • Picture smart
    • Music smart
    • Word smart
    • Body smart
    • People smart
    • Self smart

    Understanding how someone views the world and processes information can help you in discovering the perfect gift. You can take an online assessment to discover a person's intelligence style.

    Once you know, you can choose to purchase a gift that enhances a child's learning style or you can choose to buy a gift to help work on a weak area.

    Below are some ideas for gifts based on the intelligence style:

    Nature Smart

    • Hiking, fishing or other outdoor equipment and gear
    • Tickets to the local zoo
    • Plants
    • Nature gifts such as a room planetarium, plant growing kits

    Logic Smart

    • Board games such as monopoly, life, chess
    • Puzzles
    • Brain teasers
    • Math games

    Picture Smart

    • Art and craft supplies
    • Digital Camera
    • Visual books, picture books for younger children, coffee-table style books for adults

    Music Smart

    • Musical instruments
    • Sheet music if they already own an instrument
    • Music lessons
    • Kaoroke machine
    • Music to use on MP3 player

    Word Smart

    • Books
    • Word games such as Scrabble or Boggle, these can be bought to be played with other people, stand alone, hand-held games or computer games
    • Magazine subscriptions

    Body Smart

    • Membership to a sports club
    • Sports equipment for something they are already interested in
    • Pre-pay a sports camp for a weekend or for next summer
    • High energy activities, for small children, toys that require movement

    People Smart

    • Two movie tickets so he or she can invite a friend
    • Gift certificates to restaurants
    • Games played with a group, such as trivia games, Pictionary, Bingo

    Self Smart

    • Journal
    • People that are self-smart are usually comfortable with themselves. They can usually tell you what they like.

    If you use this information, combined with personal interests, you should be able to come up with gifts that will be used and enjoyed throughout the year.


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    For more information:


    Buying Gifts for Children with ADHD


    Gift Giving and ADHD: Baseballs or Barbies?




    Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom 3rd ed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2009.
    Armstrong, Thomas. 7 Kinds of Smart: Identifying and Developing Your Many Intelligences. New York: Plume, 1999.

    Gardner, Howard. Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century. New York: Basic, 2000.

Published On: December 07, 2010