Four and five year olds are getting ready for or just starting school. It’s a big time in their lives. Developmentally they have a growing vocabulary, increased fine motor skills and a little, or in some cases, a lot more of an attention span than when they were toddlers. Four and five year olds are extremely curious and absorbing new concepts like little sponges. This can make buying gifts for four and five year olds fun but also challenging. Many toys that say for ages three and up already seem too babyish and yet many of the cool toys seem to say that they are for ages six and up. Don’t worry. This list of the best gifts for four and five year olds is teacher recommended and kid approved. Continue Reading …
Are you looking for gifts for kids ages eight and up? It’s adios to Diego and Dora. These tweens have new skills, longer attention spans and they are ready for some new games, toys and books to challenge and entertain them and our list is totally “unplugged.”
Qwirkle wins for best family game.
Qwirkle comes with 108 wooden tiles wearing colorful shapes to match up. It’s like cards and dominoes rolled into one and on steroids. It’s a four-time toy award winner and the best selling game of all time for Mindware.
Why I like it:
Ages seven and up can be successful. It’s easy to make some kind of match but with some added strategy players can really challenge themselves and rake up the points.
In our house, parents and kids a like vote for Qwirkle for family game night.
Why kids like it:
It’s super easy to set up and the rules are easy to learn so everyone can start play right away.
Science Kits from Educational Explorer give kids a taste explosion.
These fun science kits from Educational Explorer Continue Reading …
With one week to go before Christmas, the two questions this educator gets asked the most this time of year are what are the best chemistry sets for kids and what are the most educational board games for kids. We’ve got the answers here in Best Chemistry Sets for Kids and Most Educational Board Games- there are some really cool new educational board games available for Christmas 2010.
As an added bonus, we’re throwing in Best Toys for Your Money. Hear from parents who share the toys that get played with the most.
“Please use my pretty doorbell!”
This is really the coolest gift for girls. It’s a doorbell for their bedroom door. On one side there is a flower with a push button attached to a 77 inch wire that runs inside of the bedroom. Inside the girl’s room, there is a beautiful butterfly that lights up and dings! Find it at Amazon.com for $12.95 for Christmas 2011. There’s also a pink princess crown doorbell for under $10.00.
Recommended for girls eight and up that like pink and have everything they need.
As soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are all gone, it’s time to start reading Christmas books at our house. Here are a few of our favorites that also make joyous Christmas gifts too.
1. The First Christmas by Sophie Piper tells the Bible story of the first Christmas. I love the colorful, yet simple pictures. It’s a very kid-attractive book and of course of beautiful story- the most important children’s book we read during the Advent season as we prepare for the birth of Jesus.
2. We love the Berenstein bear family and the Berestein Bears’ Christmas Tree is a lot of Christmas fun. Papa Bear takes the kids on an adventure to find the perfect tree. The perfect trees were already home to some other forest animals. The Berenstein Bears come home with a Christmas tree reminiscent of Charlie Brown but also with a special message about what is really important at Christmas.
3. The Polar Express may now be a movie but it’s still such a worthy book. Do you believe? Will you hear the Christmas bell?
4. Jan Brett is one of our favorite authors and Who’s that Knocking on Christmas Eve is a very clever tale and of course beautifully illustrated. Every year the trolls eat up Kyri’s feast but a traveler and his ice bear save the Christmas.
5. Twas the Night Before Christmas is a must have for Christmas Eve. This is a classic that needs to be in every family’s library. It’s one of my favorite gifts for a Baby’s First Christmas. Kids love the rhythm and rhyme of this Christmas story.
Don’t you just love it when your family gets to watch a classic Christmas special together? It’s even better when a child is inspired to create an easy Christmas craft that takes minutes, makes no mess and just uses paper scraps and a little gift wrap tape. Check out these Easy Christmas Tree crafts inspired by the Charlie Brown Christmas special.
As we flip the calendar over to December, it’s time to start enjoying some family fun activities. Unlike a lot of Christmas traditions, these are all free. Don’t let the busyness of the Christmas season rob your family of some quality family fun time. Try these 7 Free Family Fun Activities for the Christmas season.
Today’s project for us is to put together our Advent/Christmas countdown calendar. Here’s how to make one at your home.
Start with a star. You can use white, yellow, or gold construction or card stock paper. I use white and then the girls get to go “glitter” it because they love the sparkly stuff!
Here’s a star template for you to use if like me you find it difficult to make one on your own. You can also use whatever your favorite holiday symbol is from Santa Claus to Snowflakes using these printables.
Last year we cheated about purchased the strips of paper to make the rings with. But this year for some reason mom is working more so we are going to use what we have.
Cut strips of paper from construction paper in your favorite colors or use heavy duty wrapping paper. Strips should be about 6-7 inches long and approximately 1 inch wide. This is great for cutting practice or if you are in a hurry use the paper slicer like for scrap booking.
You will need 24 strips for each countdown calendar.
Optional – right down an each strip something to do like watch a holiday movie, have a family game night, donate money to a charity, or gather up your coats and shoes that could be donated to others. You can also write down a favorite holiday memory, or something nice about another family member.
Create your garland making one strip into a ring and glue. Then thread the next strip through the first and glue to make a ring. Do this until all strips make one 24 strip long garland.
Attach garland to bottom of star point (I found a simple staple or two works best) and hang.
Each day tear off one of the garlands and do what the strip says or simply count down the days until Christmas.
It’s time to start thinking about those Christmas crafts for kids and handprint crafts always get applause. Here are 12 ideas for Christmas crafts in The 12 Days of Christmas crafts using handprints.
You don’t have to stop at Christmas wreaths. Check out these ideas for doves, baby Jesus, Santa, Christmas trees, fire places, reindeer and more all using precious handprints.
Are you looking for an educational gift this year that will just keep on giving? Since kids will be mastering the states and capitals beginning in the third grade and continuing through the fifth grade, this 40 inch x 28 inch fold out map with activity book and markers is an extra smart gift for third graders and up. Kids can get creative coloring in the map while learning geography. At around $10.00 at Amazon.com this U.S.A. Color Chart is a big bargain gift for eight or nine year olds.