Sunday, October 21, 2007

A few of your favorite things please

OK friends, I know it's hard to believe, but it's not too early to start Christmas shopping. My goal this year is to have all my shopping done by December 1st so that we can spend the few weeks before Christmas enjoying the season. So the purpose of this post is to exchange ideas for the perfect gifts for children. I'd love to know about the things that have stood the test of time in quality and likability. I'm particularly puzzled by what to buy for an 18 month old boy (I have no trouble finding things for girls.) So I'll start by sharing a few of our favorite things and then I'll anxiously await all of your brilliant ideas.

  • The Kidkraft Retro Pink Kitchen, currently at Costco for $169. Boys and girls alike love this kitchen.
  • Melissa and Doug wooden food toys. These are the ones that are sold at Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod (both of which replace the Melissa and Doug label with their own). Gummylump.com has a great deal right now on these food sets. If you buy three food sets, no matter what price, you'll get the food groups set for free. Also there is no sales tax and free shipping on purchases greater than $50! I got a similar deal last year and saved a couple sets for birthdays.
  • Little Tikes Easy Store Table. This is a picnic type table that folds flat. I got it a couple years ago on sale for $35 (watch for Toys R Us adds). We absolutely love this table. We bring it camping, to ward picnics, use it in the house as a kid table when we have company as well as in the backyard.

  • Dress up clothes, sold at Costco in a cardboard chest, for about $30. We have two sets of these and they are always a hit.
  • LeapFrog DVDs. My girls love these and have learned a lot from them as well. Costco also sells these from time to time for $6.99!
  • The Junie B. Jones series (very funny stories from the life of Junie B. as she goes through Kindergarten and 1st Grade)
  • The LeapFrog LeapStart Learning Table. I'm not sure if they make this anymore, but it is awesome for kids ages 9-24 months.
  • Veggie Tales - bible stories told by vegetables. Need I say more? My kids also love their music on CD. I love to hear my kids belt out old gospel songs with Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber! I think walmart sells the CDs for $7 or $8.
  • Mega Bloks Mega Play Adventure Castle. Mike's parents got us a used set of these blocks and then a new set as well. I googled them to see if they are still available and they seem to be on backorder (or maybe not available anymore), but I wouldn't be surprised if you could find a set on ebay or craigslist.
  • A few of our favorite books... Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes; Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, Charlie and Lola: I will never, not ever eat a tomato, by Lauren Child; any of the Lets Talk About (also called Help Me Be Good) series by Joy Wilt Berry. These are books about teasing, being selfish, sharing, interrupting etc. They were originally published in the 70's, so the best place to find them is probably eBay. There are over 20 books in the set, all of which teach great principles. My kids love these books and often threaten to pull them out if someone is not behaving appropriately!
So here is my list of kid gifts that have been money well spent. It's funny (and enlightening) to think about all of the things we have bought that the kids couldn't care less about! Hopefully this list will be helpful and inspire you to fill me in on your favorites. Thanks in advance!

18 comments:

Auburn & Dave said...

Lily seems to like things that aren't actually toys, so I don't have very many good ideas, and she's finicky. One day she likes something and the next day she doesn't. She does love her cash register though . . . which probably isn't a good sign.

genevieve said...

way to go on getting it all done early! okay the things that have lasted and really been enjoyed have been lego, imaginext, duplo, and cardboard blocks. they build everything out of them. you can get them at lillian vernon. they also usually have online coupons if you just google it. For an 18 month boy have you thought about music makers? or rescue heroes? or hot wheels? i agree with you that kitchen from costco is the best. they will play with it for hours.

Kristi said...

Ok - I am with you on getting Christmas done early - especially since we will be having a baby the first of Dec I have been going crazy trieng to get it all done before mid Nov:)
When Russ was around 18 months we got him a Tonka Dump truck and he LOVES that thing! He puts everything in it to haul around the house. He also loves big fire trucks and those little playskool car sets (there is an emergency vehicle set, monster truck set, construction set, etc... ) He usually piles those in the back of his dump truck or play for HOURS on a car rug with them (nice cause you can just roll it up or use as a rug in a room) We got ours from Lowes but they have cute ones at Home Depot too.
Also - if you love Veggie Tales and Leap Frog (we do too) you would probably love the Sandra Boynton song books! They are super cute and the kids sing them constantly. There are three, a nice book that comes with a CD - I got them through Childrens book of the month club but they are also on amazon. Oops - sorry, I better stop I am taking up a lot of room!

Alyssa Barlow said...

I'll do a post on this with a link to yours along with my ideas. Look for it in a while. great thinkin'. you always have been a smart one.

Karissa said...

I know I don't have experience with children of my own. But as a kindergarten teacher, my students LOVE the Signing Time with Alex and Leah DVDs. They teach kids how to use sign language witch is great for my nonverbal kids. The general ed kids love it too and are always bragging and showing off signs to their older siblings and friends. Anyway, the website is signingtime.com. They are a little pricey but they last forever if well taken care of. Plus, I got to get them with the school credit card; but when I have children of my own, I will look into buying it for them. Kids could even start watching early before they talk and they can sign to communicate. The fine motor skills usually develop quicker than verbal skills so it's good for babies. My friends have taught their babies easy words such as bottle, milk, and more. Fun stuff!

Karissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Crystal said...

These are awesome ideas. Thanks for all of the responses. I'm glad Karissa brought up signing time DVDs. I meant to put them on my list as well. My kids love the signing time shows. Just an FYI, for those of you with DVR/TIVOs, Signing Time is shown on PBS on Sunday mornings!

Emily said...

Hmmm. okay Crystal, remember I have a 5 and a 7 year old boy and so we have done this twice and I hate to tell you but besides Duplo which all of my kids adore (especially the police station and the dinosaurs) the things that they play with most are sticks, wooden spoons anything that resembles a gun. you have to love boys! Good Luck!!

weibling said...

we have been thinking about the peg john deer riding gator for the boys this year...great because it has two seats...and two seat belts, they can load things into the back and tilt it to spill them out and you can buy extra batteries so they can go all day long! As you know my boys have always loved anything with wheels.

Sarah said...

Our favorite toys for little boys are geotrax -- the best train set EVER -- and relatively cheap! They snap together easily for little hands and are lots of fun. Quadrilla makes an awesome marble run -- probably marbles aren't the best for an 18 month old but keep it in mind for later : ) In the mean time, Discovery's Castle Marbleworks is a really simple marble run (four pieces that snap together one on top of the other) and instead of marbles it comes with three ping pong sized balls with little chimes inside. It's a huge hit with the little people around here. Other than that, I'd second the idea of the music toys and dump trucks. I'll post some picture and more ideas on my (brand new!) blog tomorrow. I am still working on convincing Theron that that absolutely adorable pink kitchen is practically a necessity for a little girl : )

the Stokes said...

So I read all of the posts and I have to agree with the GEOTRAX. My boys love that thing. In fact today when I was looking for a distraction for the boys so I could do laundry uninterrupted, I helped them build a track and they played straight for an hour (from the time we started building to the time they took it apart). Both Tanner and Braden love it. Braden is much better at putting the track pieces together, but Tanner loves that the remote makes it move and he just watches in awe. The set at Costco now is $8 cheaper than you can buy it on FisherPrice.com and the trains come with little drivers that fit inside. The trains now go forward and backward! Braden saw the new sets in the Fisher Price catalog and stared at it for 20 minutes today telling me over and over that he wants the black one. I hope Santa heard that and remembers! (Braden got his first set for Christmas when he was almost 1 1/2 and its been a hit ever since.)

Higham Family said...

Both of my boys love, love, love the Little Tikes shopping carts. We don't actually own any- our neighbors all graciously share theirs- but my boys will push, race and fill the neighbors carts for hours. They've been amused every day for almost five months, that's our longest run at one toy yet. Toys R Us for around $30

catherine yeates said...

we adore the doug and melissa floor puzzles, lightsabers and anything star wars.:)
for asher... i think that a few dinosaurs and cars that make sounds should do the trick. does he have a garage to race his matchbox cars down? that is a sure-fire boy pleaser!:)
love this post!

KellyAnne said...

Thanks for some great ideas.
Does Asher have a basketball hoop? He also seemed to like cars at my house. You can never have enough of those, there are so many to choose from! The garage is a good idea to, or some kind of track.
Dallin loves his train set-- it's wooden though and hard to keep together. I think he needs a Geotrax. He mostly spends his time putting tracks together because he can't ever enlist anyone to play WITH him, which is what he really wants!

The Soptich clan said...

I am leaving your blog with a bulleted list of Christmas things I want to get now. Thanks for the tips! And, I just blog tagged you. Read my blog to find out what you do.

jenna_marin said...

Well, this blog is very informational, and I regret the fact that I do not have any input on this matter. BUT.... even better than input.... a new blog! Get ready for this blog to be dominated by the ultimate in blogs. To be up and ready to read no later than 2:20 P.M. Tuesday, October 30th (that's right... I gave you and extension... originally noon today). Love you President!

Lemme said...

you better post Halloween pictures of your cute kids!

Lemme said...

my blog is up and running now!! check it out!! 3 posts so far!!