But I’m having such fun I wanted to suggest a few more!
So, here are some of our top toy picks, based on gifts we bought for our own kids- trusted and true toys that last and encourage healthy-role play.
These toys and games have been (or still are!!) well-loved (and well-worn!) in the Boyer household and that we highly recommend! 🙂
Fisher-Price Noah’s Ark– ours is no longer with us, but it served many kids for many years. Super great for toddlers. The animals are just the right size for little hands to grasp.
Toys Girls Love:
Lee Middleton Dolls: This is a gift we gave to most of our girls at some point. They called them the “heavy baby” because they are life sized and do get heavy to tote around. We gave each girl some of the clothes they wore as a baby for the doll to wear because they fit into 0-3 month size baby clothes. The family went together and gave one to Melody for her December birthday last year. This a especially a perfect gift idea if mommy is expecting a baby and your little one can have her baby to care for too. Baby sucks it’s thumb or a pacifier too. (you can follow the link to this doll at Amazon, but be aware they have others as well if you want a different color hair, etc.)
Now here is an idea for Christmas gifts that will give MANY hours of creative play all year long!
Dress-up has been one of our kids’ very favorite pastimes. We always rewarded our kids for Scripture memory, and a couple of them chose costumes for Bible memory rewards. It’s a great way to role play being useful adults. Melissa and Doug offers a wide assortment to choose from, and we used many of these.
We also like historical costumes. It was not uncommon to hear our kids playing “Washington Crossing the Delaware” or “Sgt. York at the Battle of the Argonne”.
On Thanksgiving, the kids would always dress up, some as Indians and some as Pilgrims. They’d act out the first Thanksgiving.
Rick tried to read to our kids most nights as they were growing up. These books I’m sharing with you today were all-time favorites. I know some of my kids have done the same with their kids, too.
What better Christmas gift could you give than books you can read together as a family?
1. The Little House Books- The Early Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder- Ok, I guess this first favorite isn’t just 1 book. It’s a whole series of 9 books!We have spent many pleasant hours as a family reading through the “Laura books” and reading them over again. The stories are wonderful classics of years-gone- by and the strong bond of a loving family through the good and bad times- perfect to read aloud as a family.
2. James Herriot Treasury for Children– Another family favorite has been the James Herriot books. Rick has read selected stories from these books to the family. We were glad to see a children’s version come available. Sweet, heart-warming stories based on the vet’s experience in the Yorkshire hills. Some are hilariously funny and others sweet.
We were careful through the years not to buy trendy toys for our kids. We wanted toys that would allow them to simulate real life situations. We often made suggested lists for relatives to buy from so that they wouldn’t get things we really weren’t wild about them having. Our goal for our kids is to prepare them for real life, to be responsible people who serve God and care for others- so generally that was our guideline in choosing purchases for Christmas or birthday giving.
Below are some of our recommended toys. (I’ll recommend some of our favorite books real soon.)
LEGOS– My kids spent many happy hours playing Legos. It encourages their creativity and dexterity. This is one activity I let my older kids participate in during “naptime” hours for little ones. The older kids would stay in their rooms for an hour and half each day. They would do their Bible reading and then quiet play. During this time, we played audio books in their rooms, and much learning was done. (although it was so fun listening, that they sometimes would stay after the required “quiet time” was over!)
Here are some of the Lego sets I recommend. We tried to get things that encouraged “real” kind of play and creativity rather than fantasy.
Through the years, we‘ve chosen to keepour children in church with us rather than sending them off to age- graded groups. It’s a decision we can say we‘ve been glad we made and stuck by even though others often misunderstood our intentions.
We felt it was important for our children to be together as a family while we worshiped the Lord. We found that they absorbed a lot more from being in the adult service than we ever expected, even as very young children.
We always saw the family as the primary place for spiritual training, and as such, was the place wechose to teach our children Scripture memory, doctrine and character building, instead of delegating that task to children’s programs. We would gear their memory verses to character needs we saw in their own lives as individuals.
Here is a fun activity to do with small children to celebrate fall! (tastes good, too!) I made these today with 2 of my grandchildren, and they had a blast making them. It’s even easy enough for even toddlers to help with!