Books are big in our home. We received a nicely-sized infusion with Sophia’s recent birthday. Moreover, in addition to the classics, we’re received some great examples about technology, coding, and women who’ve made a lasting impact. These books, in addition to being educational and entertaining, help demonstrate for our children that standing up for yourself and your beliefs is important. Get these today and share them with your sons and daughters alike. Here are some of our new favorites.
Hanukkah swept through our house like an exhilarating whirlwind taking the first half of December with it. I have never known such high highs as I did when watching Sophia and Eliza embrace the festivities in earnest lighting candles and learning how to say the appropriate blessings. They loved opening and playing with their new presents, but they enjoyed “writing” thank you cards just as much if not more. Everyone in our family who remembered the girls on this holiday is about to get a little note, but shhh…, don’t tell Sophia and Eliza I gave you an early heads up!
There are too many presents to recap here, but we did have some absolute favorites (aside from the ones that were handmade):
This book has beautiful illustrations and helps children who feel like they are missing out by not celebrating Christmas understand that they’re not alone and that they have also have many festive days.
The unbelievable illustrations in this book without words let the reader tell a story they see, not read. The book teaches children to let their imagination take them to the most amazing places.
Much like Magna Tiles or Legos, these colorful blocks let children build unique contraptions. Once built, you can drop little metal balls into the contraption and watch how they traverse your structure. It is fun to watch, but more than that, it teaches children about programming and the basics of decision trees.
I must admit that I have not played this game before a few days ago. Evan said it was a childhood favorite. Evan and Sophia played a few rounds and it has become an evening staple at our house. Without trying to make it so, this has become an unofficial gift guide for great gifts for 2-5 year olds.
Aside from opening presents, lighting candles, and eating latkes, we also planted a small terrarium, worked on lots and lots of arts and crafts projects, enjoyed the amazing weather, and participated in a craft bazaar. Like I said, it has been an incredibly busy eight days and our household can now shift gears by focusing on baking cookies, making hot chocolate, and writing down New Year’s resolutions.
A dear friend of mine from graduate school recently welcomed a beautiful baby boy. She and her husband live far away in sunny California and even though we would love to have frequent play dates, we make do with emails, texts and the occasion calls. She recently asked for advice on toys to keep her little guy (a few days shy of 6 months) occupied and I was only glad to share what worked for our girls. I put together a small list of toys that have been the best bang for our buck and are most effective at keeping kids occupied and grow with your child.
The list tries to balance what I would call old-school toys such as blocks and books with new-fangled, battery operated ones. We prefer toys that evolve their functionality as the child grows. For example, the stackable (item 5) blocks can first aid a child in learning how to pull nested blocks out which practices fine motor skills, then children can practice cause and effect by crashing built-up towers, moving to learning words and objects, and finally learning how to stack the blocks themselves. Have other suggestions? Add them in your comments.