Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Baby to Toddler: Toys that Stick

Today is a themed edition of Works for Me Wednesday. We're not having a big Christmas for the kids this year I wasn't sure I was going to participate. I couldn't help, though, paying a little bit more attention to the toys that were out and about in recent days and realized we do have a few toys that have really stood the test of time that can be quite inexpensive: a sorter, a stacker and a set of cups.

This is the Sorting Box from Brio, a fancy wooden version of a standard sorting toy. My kids love this kind of toy. We have an older version of the Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks. The sorter blocks can be stacked, dumped into and out of the bucket, sorted into the bucket by shape, sorted by color, and on and on. In fact, my two year old has been playing with these every day recently.

This Cachempil Maman Poule from Djeco is $30, but isn't it fabulous? My kids have the Fisher-Price Rock-A-Stack which is only $7. This deceptively simple toy encourages hand-eye coordination in more ways than one. My kids love to watch me spin the rings on the floor (and give it a try themselves).

Last, but not least, we love stacking cups like these Stack Up Cups. Our stacking cups pretty much stay in the bathtub. They are absolutely perfect for scooping, pouring and other fun water play. Our set even has some small holes in each cup so water showers or seeps out. Unlike many bath toys, they are incredibly easy to keep clean - just throw them in your dishwater!

All of these toys are simple and straightforward and yet allow lots of free play.

Another favorite holiday and birthday gift idea for us is a collection of art supplies. My mom has done this for all the grandchildren for a few years. Everyone gets some paper, markers, scissors, whatever she can find in the quantity she needs at a good price. They love free drawing and we mothers love restocking our art cabinets.

Last, but not least, I love the idea of gift memberships to local attractions. We have some wonderful museums and zoos nearby. A family membership allows us to enjoy them for an entire year as often as we like (and with the ability to go just for a few hours, which is key with young kids). I read once (I wish I remembered where) that a homeschooling mom bought a membership for a different venue every year and let her kids really get to know it as part of their homeschooling. I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea!

These are a few of the gifts that work for us!

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