Happy Wednesday, y’all!
Today I’m sharing my kids gift guide for those who expressed interest in what kinds of things I’ve got my eye on this Christmas. I worked with Steevenson’s Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Cobb, to put together this list, because I value her opinion so much and she knows a lot about what he’s reaching for and playing with between 8am and 3pm each week!
1. Tegu Blocks
These things are incredible. Literally one of Steevenson’s (and many of his classmates) favorite things to play with.
They are on the spendy side because Tegu is still a small company (started by two brothers) and because each block, plank and “candy bar” (that’s the brick-shaped one) is handmade by actual people.
The story behind them is inspiring too. Here’s a video if you’d like to learn more about who makes them and why:
In another video, the guy who sketches up their designs said, “Children use wood to tell stories…and children are fascinated by magnets…by playing together with these blocks they’re learning about fractions, scale, hand eye coordination, motor skills and sharing.” I love that and because Steevenson’s favorite thing to do is connect things (puzzles, Legos, train tracks, etc) I know what that guy meant when he said children use wood to tell stories. The tales he tells with the Tegu at school are mind-blowing!
This is another one of Steevenson’s absolute favorite things to be creative with at school. It’s made for ages 4+, and includes 100 painted wooden tile,s cut into fun shapes and ready to be tapped and tacked into artwork. HABA’s description reads, “As your child fits and arranges shapes together with Tap & Tack, they’ll begin to understand the most basic principles of geometry, like how two triangles make a lovely square or diamond. Your child will love exploring the world of polygonal creation and develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
The set I linked to above includes 100 wooden tiles, tacks, wooden hammer and a 8.45″ x 11.45” cork board, but there is a smaller set available too: HABA Tap & Tack Jr. (50-piece set).
This game is for ages of 4- 7 and for 2-4 players. Kiddos sound out the letter on their card and match it to the beginning sound of the picture on the game board. (Colored squares on the cards and game board help with faster recognition.) When you have 4 of your chips in a row, you’ve got a sequence and you win!
Zingo! Sight Words is a bingo-style game that’s perfect for both pre-readers and early readers, and Zingo! Numbers focuses on counting, simple addition, number sense and word recognition. Up to 7 players can play and the box says ages 4 and up.
Magna-Tiles are for kids ages 3-9, and are designed to promote imagination and creativity, and to help develop fine motor skills and visualization skills. The geometric shapes are translucent and can be used on a light table so that light can shine through like stained glass. You can make flat, 2-D patterns or cool 3-D structures and all Magna-Tiles products are compatible. The set I’m linking to includes 20 Small squares, 4 Large squares, 18 Equilateral triangles, 10 Right triangles, and 4 Isosceles triangles.
6. Marble Run
This is one of Steevenson’s absolute favorite toys to play with at our house. It’s for ages 4 and up and it helps kids develop hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, creativity, color and shape recognition, and spatial imagination ability. It’s made of solid transparent ABS, which is non toxic, and not easy to break.
This is all Steevenson wanted for his birthday and he did a *great* job being patient and waiting for it for several months this year. (I think patience is one of our family’s greatest powers!) We’ve had it for a week now and he’s been having so much fun riding it! The box says it’s for ages 5-9, but I would say it’s more like 6-7. I think it’s too small for the average 8-9 year old and because it’s a very heavy-duty piece, which is great, it has a tendency to tip if you go too fast around corners. (Even if you’re in low speed) Steevenson figured out that he could switch to low gear and even quickly put his leg down to prevent it from tipping, but a smaller-statured or younger child might have difficulty with that. That’s really my only complaint with it though. It has working lights and 3 different sirens, and the storage compartment in the back is nice and big so he can fit all kinds of things inside it. Today he filled it with Magic Tracks and used the track as handcuffs when he thought it was time to take someone to jail- LOL!
8. Magic Tracks
These were a little hard for Steevenson to click together when he was 4 and newly-5, but he doesn’t have any trouble with it now, and loves how fast the little cars go. The track is super flexible, so you can literally snake it up and over all kinds of things to create a really cool course.
9. Lego Table
Steevenson’s hands-down favorite toys right now are Legos. He could literally sit and create things with them for hours! He’s really good at it too. Mrs. Cobb will even send me photos of the things he dreams up with them at school because he seems to have a gift in this particular area, and I’m always blown away by his creativity. He has complained about his back hurting if he sits on the floor too long while playing with them though, so I think I’m going to invest in the table above as a Christmas gift. (I’ll find a chair to go with it too) I like that there’s storage underneath it, and it looks like if you open the drawers while you’re playing with Legos on the top it’ll probably make it easier to slide your legs under the table and reach for Legos while you work.
I love the “give experiences, not stuff” concept and would love to make that a part of every holiday from here on out too. Of course there are lots of things we could do for cheap or free, but since I have an opportunity to dream here, these are some of the places I’d love to go with the family over the next several years:
- Lego Land – Florida Resort
- Great Wolf Lodge – Georgia
- McWane Science Center – Alabama
- Tybee Island – Georgia (Our *favorite* beach town! I’d especially love Steevenson to experience Atlantic 1 or Old Love Cottage!)
- Rv-ing – ANYWHERE!
- Dinosaur Valley State Park – Texas
- Yellowstone National Park – (My mom & dad took me when I was young, so I’d love to continue that tradition!)
Alrighty! That concludes my post for today…but if you’d like to join me while I’m out and about for Hobby Lobby Hump Day, swing over to my Instagram account and click on my profile pic in the upper left corner of the screen:
I’m excited to share 5 more decorating ideas via video over there today, and I’ll upload them here in a blog post on Friday for those who can’t view my Insta-stories today. XO