So, this is maybe a tad bit of a departure from our missions oriented post from yesterday, but I promised that I would send you all a list of some gift suggestions from some experienced moms.. Now I realize that chances are quite good that out of our group, more than six people will be shopping today. So, the six has to do with six different categories of toys instead. And this post also happens to six contributors since I am not the expert on gifts by any means, To make this article more seamless, I am not usually quoting people’s names. –everyone’s thoughts are in first person, including mine. So, if inquiring minds want to know who recommended what toy, I can certainly let you know. A big thank you to Lisa, Elisabeth, Lynette, Tiffany and Mindy for sharing your great ideas! Since I recommend books and videos all of the time, I mostly did not include them in this list (other than several great children’s Bibles).
First of all, general suggestions (from Lynette)
Since we have so many kids 😉 I like to ask for bigger combo gifts, rather than small sets of junk that get scattered everywhere. I’ve learned that I’d rather have a whole bunch of a few things that everyone can play with together rather than a few smaller sets of things. So we have LOTS of blocks and animals and kitchen sets and cars. But so does everyone 🙂
I also keep an amazon wish list updated throughout the year. Then it’s easy to see what they’ve been interested in throughout the year, or to let the grandparents look at it for themselves. Since I keep that amazon list, they often have “recommendations” for me. And the “customers who bought this item also bought” section is another great place to get ideas. I especially love these features for books!
Now here is everyone’s gift ideas!
*For preschoolers I love The Big Picture Story Bible. My daughter has loved it for a long time now. It is much more appropriate for preschoolers and still carries with it the overarching theme of the Bible – meaning that it isn’t just a bunch of seemingly unrelated stories. The Bible does a great job of showing how they all connect and using verbage they can understand like “accepting or rejecting God as king.” I really enjoy reading it too!
The Jesus Storybook Bible is wonderful for older preschoolers and up.
* One of my kids’ most loved gifts and one that was played over and over was Adventures in Odyssey CD’s. That was our car time activity. They would run errands for a long time to finish their stories. They would also sit in their rooms forever listening to them over and over. It seemed like this was always on our gift lists.
One of my favorite toys that we ever received are Lego Quatro blocks. They are 4x bigger than an ordinary Lego. I discovered that I am officially an “old” mom because Lego seems to not be manufacturing these new anymore. My oldest received them for a gift as a baby (maybe 1 years old?) and still plays with them at almost 8 years old. You can buy them on Ebay in the 75 piece bucket, which is what we have.
*Toob sets by Safari (can be found on Amazon).: miniatures of pirates, knights & even Roman soldiers.
*This “toy” has not yet been tested by the mom that recommended it, but it does sound intriguing.
Wedgits (buildable shapes)
Legos is an obvious boy choice. My boys love theirs. But once you start, you can’t stop. And they do take over whatever space they dwell. Nothing like stepping on a lego in the dark!
Thomas metal trains: We went this route because they seemed to be more affordable than the wooden ones.
An elderly neighbor gave my daughter his granddaughter’s old Barbie dolls. That was mostly fine with me although I hadn’t decided whether we were going to go the Barbie route. Anyway, I have struggled to find clothes that do not look like they were made for a Victoria’s Secret model. While I haven’t purchased any yet, I have found some clothes on E-bay. I did learn that you need to limit your search to “US only.” Hong Kong seems to have a lot of listings for Barbie clothes.
Doll house: If your daughter is a “girly girl” I think it is worth it to ask for a doll house for a group gift. Plus then you can continue to furnish the house for future special occasions. You can sometimes find these on Craigs List. Possibly E-bay too, although the shipping might be expensive.
Dress Up and Play
What preschooler does not love dressing up? Dollar Tree often has very inexpensive costumes, One of my favorite places to find dress up clothes is at the Lincoln Children’s Museum store. Usually they are pretty reasonably priced too!
Melissa & Doug also make magnet dress up dolls. Definitely a step above paper dolls since they are more durable, plus there is a place to store them.
Kitchen sets: Target and Walmart often have large sets of play food that you can get for hardly anything.. Besides kitchen, the kids can play restaurant, grocery store and even farmer.
Having something to push around. My kids love to push around strollers and grocery carts. The cheap ones don’t last quite as long – try to snatch up a Little Tykes one at a garage sale for next year if they aren’t quite in your budget.
A craft that keeps my kids busy for hours: putting beads on pipe cleaners. We put the creations into the bead box, and then they can wear them or remake them the next time the beads come out. They do make special elastic bands that you can use, but unless you want them to insist on keeping every single creation, pipe cleaners seem to work best.. (Obviously not for the tiny ones).
Doodlers! Great to have on hand – they work wonderfully in the car as well.. They save on paper, plus they are ideal for toddlers since most of their drawings would not be kept anyway.
Crayola Wonder Markers. Since they only write on special paper, ours are kept in the car and only used when we have doctor appointments. Not sure what I would have done without these when my youngest was a baby and my others were 6, 3 and 1. I think that kids as young as 18 months can use these, as long as you are somewhat observing that they aren’t eating them.
Small trampoline with handle bar — Grandma got this gift for us when I had 4 kids age 5 and under. It was a great toy for the long winter months when we couldn’t get outside.
Cardboard bricks/blocks have also been a go-to toy at our house. They are manufactured by Melissa & Doug. The blocks take some adult assembly but they are worth the effort. My kids love to build cities, roads, castles, etc. with these..
Musical instruments. Not for the easily annoyed mom 🙂 But letting them explore this is huge, and now that we have one taking piano lessons, he’s doing really well. A keyboard, some rhythm instruments and a recorder are great.! My favorite set is the “Parents Magazine Bee Bop Band” that we got at Target many years ago. All of the instruments fit inside of the drum and are different animal shapes. This is one toy that I plan on keeping indefinitely.
Okay, since I could go on and on, I think I am going to end the post for now. Please comment if you have any other great suggestions. By the way, I discovered when I was going through the gift suggestion lists, that Lynette had some more ideas on giving. Since they almost fit more with the Day 3 post, I am going to add them on the end of that one. (Oh the wonders of technology). So, please look back on that day for more thoughts.
P.S. For the past few years, it has been a conviction of mine to NOT be on the computer on Sundays, since I spend sometimes too much time on it during the week. (I mostly manage to follow this.) Because of this, you will NOT be getting a post from me tomorrow. I will send Days 7-12 next Monday through Saturday. Enjoy spending tomorrow worshipping God and relaxing with your family!