As gift giving time approached, I have been thinking about what to give my children. I have made a practice that for every gift Eden or Josiah receives, we give one away to a charity. This fall, I gave bags of toys and stuffed animal to the toy store hosted by the ministerial association in our home town. I also love Toys for Tots. (run by the Marines) I hate thinking other children might not have a gift for for Christmas. It breaks my heart.
Another thing I have is a tote of rainy day toys. These only get brought out on days when for one reason or another, we can't play outside. It's like having new toys all over again. I switch these out every few months.
The other day my cousin Kelly blogged this list of children gift ideas. I loved it so much I copied it, changed a few, and added a few of my own. Thanks Kelly for the great idea. You are such a creative mom. I hope you liked my changes too.
Dress up box - Fill a plastic tub full of things for them to use to play dress up. Get Halloween costumes on clearance, a couple of uniforms, a cowboy outfit and some random things like hats, scarves, vests, accessories.This can be extravagant or thrift store sensible.
Musical Instruments - Ukuleles, triangle, drums, tambourines, xylophone, rhythm sticks, bells. Eden and Josiah love music! We dance and sings and make joyful (loud) noise to the Lord :)
Books and Books on CD - My children love books. The cardboard books work best for little fingers and rough hands. I find books all the time a yard sales and sometimes the library gives away free books. Kelly's great idea- have grandma buy a book, read it into a tape and then give the tape with the book (DINGS inserted so the child knows when the turn the page).
Wooden Blocks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Legos - the possibilities are endless and it helps with fine motor coordination. Don't think these are just boy toys either. Eden loves to build and tear down castles and building.
Little People - They are a great size for a shoe box to become a house, barn or gas station and they are chew, dirt and waterproof by being hard plastic. They also have a nativity set and a Thanksgiving set that make playing with the decorations easy.
Puzzles and Games - I love Melissa and Doug's Toy, especially their puzzles! I also love puzzles that have handles on the pieces. Josiah is already starting to pick them up, chew them and put them back. I have just gotten Eden a Memory game. Uncle Scott has given them Chutes and Ladders and High Ho Cheerio. Eden is still a little young for them, but it's good to get her to understand matching, counting and taking turns at this early age.
Art supplies- Paint, crayons, glue sticks, coloring books, paper, stickers, cookie cutters as patterns and play dough. Also, my children love doing crafts like simple, cheap odd and ends they can glue on a paper or a piece of foam. At Michael's for $1 they have the sets of wooden cut outs (they come with markers to color with or you can use your own paint). Simple projects or the material to do something is fun and sparks interesting creations is great.
Puppets - Our church has puppets and Eden loves them. I found a few really cute ones at the dollar store. It's fun to see how much Eden understand and talks when she plays with them. You can buy puppets or let your children make them (or make one for their sibling) out of socks or Popsicle sticks.
Educational Toys- I am a big fan of toys that run on imagination, not batteries. While we do have some toys that are the flashy light and sounds kinds of toys, for the most part, Our toys are old fashioned in natures.
I also love toys that pair learning and playing together. Recently My Mother in law took me to a Kaplan's store. It was awesome! I went through their catalog and made a list of toys that I wanted to get for our children. You'll see that many of the items below are from the list above.
Here is the list and catalog numbers you can use on their website: http://www.kaplanco.com/
Kaplan's stuff tends to be a little expensive. But all of the things I have purchased have been high quality and will hold up to the rough playing of my children and will last for years.
Ladybug Letters 19-61253
Match Me Games – Letters 1939716 Numbers 19-39718
Pre –reading skill set 19-82212
Wooden Blocks- colored 19-46995
Musical Instruments: Click here
Maracas, sleigh bells, rhythm sticks, triangles, Handle castanet, Sounder, Symbols
Puzzles- letters and numbers 19-46835
Games- Alphabet, picture pairs, Dominoes, Numbers, 19-60375
Lacing and Tracing Jumbo Set 19-46899
Play food –wooden- 19-46892
ABC “Sweets”- Letter and laces 19 47356
Sprout and Grow Window 59-24260
The Giant Encyclopedia of Arts and Crafts
The Giant Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for children 2 to 5