Friday, January 15, 2016

Norah's 2015 Christmas gifts.

I hesitated to write this post at first, because I don't want to make it seem like gifts are what Christmas is about or that you need to get your child lots of stuff. Neither one of those things are true. We believe that Christmas is about God sending Jesus as a baby, knowing that His death/resurrection was to come to save us from our sins. We also believe that the best gifts you can give your child(ren) are encouraging words and quality time- not material things.

However, I share what Norah got for Christmas simply as a helpful tool in case you are looking for a gift for someone in the one-year-old range. (Also, Norah has wonderful extended family that was very generous to her, we certainly didn't buy all of this ourselves!) I'm also not putting any "verdicts" on these items like I have in my other baby items posts, partly because Norah just got them and hasn't used them a lot yet, and partly because most of these items we picked for her, so we knew we wanted them!

1. My First Legos Set- This was Kley's pick for Norah. He loved playing with legos when he was younger and wants Norah to also!

2. Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 piece set- This was my pick for Norah. These are expensive, but I think they are worth it. When I taught preschool, these were the most fought over toy by far. Everyone loved them! I also think it's worth it to buy the larger set. Boys and girls alike loved them, and we would put them out often and they were continually played with. They are like thin blocks with magnets along the edges, so you can create whatever you want! 

**Norah is still too young to actually understand the building aspect of the magna-tiles and legos, but we can't wait for her to grow into them in a few months! When she opened them, she didn't really care about them, which we were expecting, so we put them away for a few months and will bring them out again when she gets older. I am all for rotating toys and saving some for later! Kids get so much for their birthdays and Christmas, they don't really need to have it all out to play with at once!

3. Pacific Play Tents Ladybug Tent and Tunnel- Norah was a little hesitant to crawl in at first, but not she loves it! We went to a friends house once and they had a tent, which was the first time she had seen one and thought it was so funny because their cat went in it. I was thinking of putting balls inside and making it sort of a ball pit? (I'm glad we have a basement for this. I don't want a big tent upstairs! So, this is obviously only a good gift if you have space for it.)

4. KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen- I am so excited for Norah to have this! I researched for a long time about which play kitchen to get, and this one looks great! It's an expensive item, but I know Norah will play with it for years, as will our future children. I like that it's durable (many of the plastic ones don't withstand a lot of wear and tear), the espresso stain matches our other furniture, and it's gender neutral. I can't wait to play with it with her!

If you get this, beware that it takes forever to assemble. Literally hours. (Thanks to grandpa and gramie who assembled it for her so it was ready when she opened it!)

Have you checked out any KidKraft items? I can't say a lot about it because Norah just got this kitchen and that's the only thing we have, but it looks amazing! They have so many kitchens, and their dollhouses looks incredible too!

5. Melissa and Doug 8 Piece Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Set- These pots and pans are great- so durable and realistic! I like the ones Ikea has too!

6. Melissa and Doug Food Groups- I've researched play food too, and I still can't find one that I'm over the moon about, but I do like this one. I like that it's wooden, because lots of the plastic ones aren't very durable (once they get squeezed in they are smashed forever basically), and Norah can practice food group sorting too! (They also have big plastic fruits and vegetables that I really like, but they only have them in fruits and vegetables, not other food groups.)

7. Melissa and Doug Beginning Pattern Blocks- I am excited for Norah to use these! (Can you tell I used to teach preschool? Pretty much all kid toys excite me. My old classroom had these too and they were great.) They are good for beginning matching, shape recognition, colors, etc.

Also, in searching for the pattern blocks link, I also found this beginning skills playset. Looks pretty cool- a great gift idea!

8. Green Toys Tea Set- I wanted Norah to have a tea set to go with her kitchen, and this one is perfect! I love that all of green toys products are made of 100% recycled materials. It's plastic but still so durable. I love that it's cute, but not frilly (so many tea sets were way over the top!). It can also function well as regular play dish ware, so she can use it a lot.

9. Green Toys Dump Truck- Pink- Again, so durable. Easy to roll and fun! Norah likes putting stuff in the back.

10. Little Tikes Easy Store Large Slide- We originally got the smaller one, but ended up returning it for the large one because it will last her a lot longer. It folds in half if you want to store it. Another perfect item for the basement!

11. Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head- I feel like these are such classic toys, and they are so cheap! I like that they practice fine motor skills, imagination, and facial/body parts recognition. And they are just fun!


12. Mega Bloks Deluxe Building Bag- I know these are similar to regular Legos, but Norah got these too from great grandparents, and we decided to keep them just for variety. Also, the mega bloks might be better for younger, since they are larger, and the regular legos for older. I feel like these are another classic toy.

13. Alex Toys Baby Builder- I love these! I think they are reasonably priced compared to similar things too. I love that they can be used for a long time. Young infants can just grab and hold them/suck on them, while older kids can actually connect them together and build things. There are different types of things inside, so they connect in different ways too.

14. Fisher Price Silly Sounds Puzzle- I originally wouldn't have picked this puzzle, because I have been getting Norah the thinner peg puzzles so they are all the same to fit in her puzzle storage holder, but Norah got this as a gift and it is pretty cute! It would be a great first puzzle because the pieces are big and easy to maneuver. Norah really likes the music button!

15. Animal Babies book by Eric Carle- Norah loves any sound book, and this is a fun book about animals and their babies/sounds. 

16. How Much Does God Love You? book- A fun book about different things God created and what He would do for you (swim the farthest sea, climb the highest hill, etc.), but He loves you most of all.


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