As the years go by, I am more and more inclined to shut the TV off, put away the video games and encourage my kids to dress up and play make believe. Some of our best memories have come from creative play and this year, I have complied our absolute favorite items for our kids that inspire that kind of play. So if you are looking for something different and fun this year, this is your guide.
Finally a dress up designed with actual kids in mind. Unlike the Halloween costumes you buy at the store, these don't come unraveled at the seams. They are sturdy with no exposed edges so they don't rub and itch. They are comfortable, soft and the best part? Machine washable. We love their line of dress ups and have many for each of our girls They also make accessories like soft crowns that actually stay on and long gloves.
These fair trade stuffed animals and dolls are amazing. They are high quality with vibrant colors. My daughter has the little tiger to go with her Jasmine Little Adventures costume and they are a match made in heaven. This little tiger is affectionately known as Tigee and goes just about everywhere with us. I have been impressed on how well it takes abuse from a toddler and just how cute it is.
I love supporting companies that are fair trade and that is what first drew me to Pebble.
Pebble,part of Kahiniwalla, sells Fair Trade products designed by Samantha Morshed, a social entrepreneur based in Bangladesh. Samantha's vision for Pebble of providing a place close to rural homes in Dhaka where women could work flexible hours was just what over 12,000 rural women were looking for. These rural workplaces provide a welcome alternative to women moving to a large city to work in the garment industry leaving their families behind and making themselves vulnerable to unsafe, unjust and sometimes violent situations.
I absolutely love our little tiger and I hope to add more Pebble items to our home in the future. I love the cars, their Once Upon a Time doll line and their ornaments!
The Original Learning Tower is built to allow toddlers to climb in and out of it easily. The adjustable height on it makes it perfect for kids as young as 18 months and all the way up to six years old.
My absolute favorite thing about this piece beside the safety it provides for my daughter at the counter? It is pretty! I feel like so many children companies don't take into account that their furniture is going to be in my kitchen where I am going to see it every day. Little Partners makes so many different finishes so you can match it to your kitchen. It looks like an extension of my kitchen instead of an eyesore. My daughter's favorite part of the tower besides being able to see at the counter? Throw a blanket over it and it makes the world's easiest fort! She place castle all day long in her learning tower. I can honestly say that we use The Original Learning Tower every single day. I only wish that I had one when my older daughter was a toddler.
with Hide-a-boo my kids are astronauts, knights, submarine divers and two sisters out on a camp out, all without leaving the room. I have always wanted to make my a card table play house but these hideouts go above and beyond anything that I have ever dreamed. The designs and printing are absolutely gorgeous. My little girls are going to find a couple of these under the tree.
The Love2Learn Elmo is the newest Elmo Toy from Hasboro- The Love2Learn Elmo is synced with an app on the parent's phone so that Elmo is completely personalized to each child. Elmo says the child's name and parents can even have Elmo praise their child for cleaning up or brushing their teeth. Elmo is programmed to know much more than just the name of their new best friend. He knows their favorite colors, animals and favorite foods.
This Elmo is much more than a toy, he can be customized to your child's learning level to help your child learn their letters, numbers, shapes, colors and animals. My daughter LOVES that he responds when you clap his hands, in fact, he has multiple sensors so he is really responsive.
|Example of a Picture Book Crate|
LitJoy Crate is a subscription box that delivers a new book to the recipient each month. There are two different options for your little ones. The Board Book box features two new board books along a similar theme and other items that fit that theme. The picture book box features a new hardcover picture book and items that go along with the theme,
|Example of a Board Book Crate|
LitJoy Crate is my FAVORITE subscription box, it is full of fun things for my kids and books to read together. The two wonderful ladies behind LitJoy are fun, trendy, well read girls. They always pick fantastic items to go in each box, some of my kids favorite toys, stickers and art supplies come from these boxes. We have loved every single board book or picture book we have received. We adore this subscription box and personally subscribe to it out of our own pocket. Order a subscription for your child here.
These iClever Headphones come in a bat inspired version, and a Christmas reindeer version.
Watchitude- These darling, water resistant slap bracelet watches are perfect for your tween. This watches are completely non-toxic and brilliantly printed. The slap band is a comfortable material and the watches come in so many different designs. From donuts to owls to bugs, there are more than 100 designs.
Pedro 'N" Pip is a fun and uplifting rock 'n' roll odyssey about ten-year-old Pip who goes scuba diving under an oil spill in the gulf and meets ‘rockoctopus’, Pedro. Together the work to unite the creatures in the sea and the humans on the land to clean up the spill.
The best part of the book is the accompanying score. Pedro 'N' Pip has an embedded musical score of more than a dozen original songs performed by a cast of award-winning musicians, including the legendary GE Smith, Robbie Wyckoff, (voice on Phineas and Ferb) Ella Moffly, Christine Ohlman, The Persuasions, David Broza and Jillette Johnson. The music compliments and enhances the reading experience.
As a parent I love the extra added sensory addition of the music. In a day and age where kids want to spend their day with a device in front of their face, I find it harder and harder to get them to engage in fun and creative play. I love Pedro 'N' Pip because it is learning and experiencing reading and music without feeling like a chore. The pages are kind of long for my younger daughter to sit through but she loves to listen to it.
My daughter's absolute favorite book is the one that is all about her. Using Blurb we created her a scrapbook of all the pictures from her 1st year of life. Blurb is incredibly easy to use no matter your skill level on the computer. You can make the book online, with their downloadable software or even with InDesign, letting you work with a program that suits you.
The quality of the books is really high and all of the pictures and text look incredible. We have made one for each of our girls now and they stand the test of time too!
I feel like every child will need this book at some time in their life. It is a good reminder in times of trial and heartache to keep going. My girls love it and it is one of my favorites to read out loud to them.
We haven't gotten the chance to use this with our kids yet, but I think they are absolutely going to love it. It is a fun way to get them even a little more exited about losing a tooth!
Do you every look at a toy and think to yourself, "this was made for my kid?" That is how I felt when I saw Zoonicorns. The combination of zebras and unicorns, these darling plushes come in four different colors. They aren't only a cute plush but they come with a fun app too that sparks creativity while entertaining and educating. There is a matching game as well as read along stories.
The app is available on both iOS and Android and my kids have an an absolute blast with it. I love that it isn't just an app, the Zoonicorn is a fun, plush friend and there are also books to go along with it. It is an entire world for you child to be a part of.