Christmas 2013: Part One

This year, I tried something new with my Christmas shopping.  I spent September and October buying all the kids presents.  I am basically finished with their Christmas now, which leaves me the month of November and December to get everyone else done.  I thought I’d share what we’re getting the kids this year, since I actually got my act together before the week of Christmas for once!

Christmas this year for the kids is all about replenishing and replacing things in our game closet.  I’ve blogged about our game closet before, and we love it now more than ever.  But some of the games and activities in there are in need of revamping.  Some of them the kids have outgrown and some of them they are just bored with.  So, this year I focused on finding games and activities to replace those items and freshen up our supply.

1.  Alphabet Bears – (I can’t find a link to these anywhere online!  I had to scour my town to find them, so good luck if you’re on the hunt!) I have been on the look out for counting bears for Gracie for a few months now.  One day a few weeks ago, I saw the perfect set in Bean’s classroom.  His teacher had them out for his class to play with, and I thought they would be just perfect for Gracie.  They are counting bears that also have the letters of the alphabet printed on their tummies.  I think we’ll get more use out of these because we can sort them by colors, count them, and work on letter recognition with them.  Three skills in one!  Worth the hefty price tag of $27.99.


2.  Gear Turning Game – Bean loves things that he can build and assemble, so I got him a set of gear turning games.  This is something else I saw in his classroom at school that I noticed he loved to play with.  I found this set from our “Books Are Fun” representative at my school, but there are several different options and sets available on Amazon.


3.  Pegs and Pegboard – Again, I found this idea through the kids’ school (are you seeing a pattern here?).  Gracie loves playing with the pegboard and pegs at her school.  I found a great set at the teacher supply store for her, too.  I like this set because you can stack the pegs.  This one is great for learning because she can practice her colors, counting, and fine motor skills.  You can also begin simple math with these pegs, but she’s not quite there yet.  Maybe in the next year or so.


4.  Leapfrog Mr. Pencil – For Bean, we are getting the Mr. Pencil stylus from Leapfrog. This stylus synchs up with apps that you download to your iPhone or iPad so that Bean can practice tracing and writing on our tablet.  He has really loved learning to read and write, and this pen set will make that even more fun for him. (We have the TAG Reader system, and we love it, in case anyone is considering it. It has been great for Bean since he was three years old.)


5.  Legos – We are replenishing both the kids Legos sets this year.  Bean is graduating from the Duplos up to the smaller, real Legos.  I think he is going to love these.  I was going to get him one of those kits so that he could build something specific, but I ended up getting just a general box of Legos.  We think he’ll have more fun with the free form building at this age.


For Gracie, she is still in the Duplos stage, but her little set is kind of small, so we are adding to that.  I found this super cute cupcake set that we got her.  She loves having tea parties, and so this is going to be right up her alley.


6.  Watches – Bean wears a watch every day to school.  He loves it.  It’s a plastic little car watch that my parents got him last year.  The battery died, though, and so I thought instead of just replacing the battery, I’d upgrade and get him a REAL watch this year.  This one was kind of pricey for a preschooler’s watch, but, like I said, Bean wears his watch every day to school.  He can’t tell time yet, but they are always talking about time at school and he can tell you what hour it is.  I got him a Marvel Comics teaching watch, which helps make the hands a little more distinct for kids so they can tell the difference easier.  Plus, it’s Spiderman, so he’s going to love that.


Gracie has been asking for a Tinkerbell watch lately whenever she sees Bean’s watch, so I think I’m going to get her one of the cheap little plastic watches this year, just so she has one to wear, too.  Hers won’t be as nice or as expensive, but for learning how to wear a watch, it should be just right.


Tomorrow I’ll post about more little odds and ends we are getting the kids for Christmas.  And later this week we move on to the biggies… SANTA GIFTS!  Stay tuned!

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11 Thoughts to “Christmas 2013: Part One”

  1. Our favorite toys around here are the pegs, counting bears and pop beads for Hayes. He absolutely loves them! Love all these ideas!

  2. Nice ideas! I’m going to have to go back and see your Christmas posts from years past. My little dude will only be about a month old this Christmas, I have no idea what I should do for him.

  3. Katie! I am so, so thrilled you are sharing this with us! My kids are close in age to yours, and this is just so great!! Thank you, thank you! I’m super impressed with how on the ball you are! Amazing! LOVE.

  4. Wow! You are on it! No way am I ready for shopping just yet 🙂

  5. For the first item, if you Google “Linking Letter Monkeys” you should easily be able to find them through teaching/school supply websites! Hope that helps.

  6. cute gift ideas/ i’m impressed you did all the shopping already, i haven’t even considered starting!

  7. We have the pegs too from my mom’s Montessori classroom. And my three year old loves that cupcake lego set!

  8. HAHA! I am done with the shopping for my little guy too! but now that I am seeing all these ideas that you are sharing with us, I may re-think a couple of them. Thank you so much for passing on this valuable information!!

  9. […] a two-part series about gifts we are getting the kids this year for Christmas. Be sure to check out Part One for more […]

  10. Oh my goodness, my husband–I mean, son–would love that gear set!

  11. Leah

    I just saw the alphabet bears at Toys R Us. But they were elephants, not monkeys or bears 🙂

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