Carlsson-Paige, who is the mother of actor Matt Damon, has three other grandchildren now. This year, as always, she’s looking for unstructured, low-tech toys that are not tied to the media. Among her favorite gifts over the years: her homemade play-dough (for her recipe, visit boston.com/living), generic plastic animals, Bristle Blocks, fat chalk, oversize drawing paper, and markers of all kinds.
What will she give her newest granddaughter, Isabella, born five months ago to Damon and his wife, Lucy?
"She’s just about at that stage where she loves to reach and touch things," Carlsson-Paige says. "I’ll find a book that has a tactile experience on each page, some large [non-toxic] beads on a string that will be fun for her to push and pull, and a few rattles. Rattles are a wonderful gift because she can see how she makes the noise happen."