educational toys

The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide for Toddler Boys!

Henry will turn 4 1/2 three days after Christmas. He loves what most boys love at this age: Ninja Turtles, Robots, Hot Wheels and make believe. For Christmas this year I have tried to only select things which I know will last him a while and that also don’t have 1,342 pieces (since they will be lost within a few days!) I’ve rounded up something unique for every toddler boy in this guide, so let’s get shopping! 

1. Magnetic Farm Truck – Like most boys, mine loves anything that moves. This wooden, hand painted truck is simply adorable. I love how all the pieces are magnetic so they don’t fall off when your child is pushing it across the floor. I cannot tell you how many times Henry has been frustrated when his people fall off their vehicles. Anything that can prevent toddler meltdowns is a win in my book! $40


2. Space Station Tent & Tunnel – This is going to be a special Santa present to Henry. Since it will need to be opened and set up prior to Christmas morning, it’ll already be ready for him when he comes down to the living room. What most attracted me to this were the four tunnels attached to the space station. I love that the kids will be able to enjoy this together and Henry and his friends can use on playdates too.   $139

3. Robot Backpack & Cup – Come January, Henry will be in desperate need for a new backpack. The one he has been using since August is getting so ratty and worn. Since he loves Robots, this backpack and matching cup will be perfect for school and lunch. $33, $25


4. Crayola Emoji Maker – Can I just put it out there that I have enjoyed this as much as Henry has. From mixing the colors to assembling the markers and stamps, it was so much fun to make all the emoji stamps. We got to spend some one on one time together playing with this while Evelyn napped. It is the perfect rainy day activity too. And you can’t beat the $15 price tag.

5. Barked Tree Building Blocks – When Henry was around 16 months old, he really started showing signs that he was a child who loved to stack and build. I am so glad that this still interests him. These wonderful handmade blocks are perfect for gross motor skills and expanding their imagination and creativity. Definitely a must for all the future architects out there! $30

6. Space Plush Toy Set – Just like the Fairy Cottage and Castle featured in my girl gift guide, this one is from the same amazing brand, Oskar & Ellen. Henry is learning all about space and planets in school and this set will really let his imagination run wild. $40


7. TMNT Battle Truck Construction Set – You may remember that Henry had a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle themed party for his 4th birthday. He has been obsessed with all things TMNT for nearly a year now and is going to flip his lid when he opens this. If you have a ninja turtle lover in your life, this is the gift for them! $33
8. Wooden Parking Garage – I showed this to Henry a few months ago and he literally spent 30 minutes staring at the pictures and watching the video. I’ve probably said the phrase “You better stop hitting your sister or else Santa is not going to bring you the parking garage!” over two thousand times in the past few months. Since he already has so many different cars, this will be the perfect addition to collection and I know he will love lining them all up in their parking spaces. $109
Do you have a favorite toy I’ve listed above? I would love to hear what you would get for your little man! Let me know in the comments! 





Five Things Friday: Educational Toys {Age 4}

Henry’s favorite toys at this age are legos, transformers, and trucks. All things that his sister wants nothing to do with, besides eating the lego heads. These are also all toys which we have so many of and make constant sounds. If I step on one more transformer at 5am going down the dark stairs I just may burn them all. All kidding aside, while I love that Henry gets so much joy out of these toys, I also want him to learn how to get enjoyment out of toys that don’t come from a TV show and have flashing lights. I’ve rounded up my top 5 educational toys for you today!

Miniature Bowling Set – This is such a fantastic game for the bigger kids (3 and up). Henry can play this for 30+ minutes at a time which helps me unload the dishwasher and tidy the living room before daddy gets home! The pins and ball come in their own muslin bag and are hand carved and waxed. This set would make an awesome baby shower gift and can be used as decor until children are old enough to play with it.

Wooden Toy Camera – My children have had cameras shoved in their face since they came into this world. It’s just how I am. I photograph everything and love to document our lives. Henry has picked up my habits and pretends to take pictures of our animals, his legos, and our family. This play wooden camera can be customized with your child’s name on the back too, making it another great gift or stocking stuffer.

Fabric Letters & Numbers – This set is fantastic for preschoolers who are starting to recognize their letters and also learning to spell. All the letters and number come in a cute bag which is perfect for road trips or sleepovers at grandmas house. I love how each letter has a different pattern and that they’re soft. We are starting to teach Henry how to spell basic 3 letter words and these are a great tool. 

Pawtoo Toys – This company offers an array or organic and natural wooden toys. Henry loves the Jigsaw Elephant Puzzle and the Lacing Cheese. They both help to calm and focus his mind if he is having a meltdown or hulking into a fournager. I love that these are also gender neutral so Evelyn can use down the road. Not to mention they are handmade in the USA and inspire creative play.

Wooden Peg Figures – Like most little boys, Henry is obsessed with superheroes. It’s so funny that he knows all their names even though he has never watched Iron Man or Captain America. Pegs n’ Things offers any kind of figurine you could imagine. They all get handpainted, making no two alike. Henry loves taking his Batman and Spiderman with him everywhere he goes and insists that they need to watch him use the bathroom so they too can become potty trained. 
How crazy is it that there is only a week and a half left in August? Not that I am complaining because that means Fall is right around the corner. Here’s to soaking up all that summer time this weekend! Happy Friday! 

18 Months Toy Roundup

Sometimes I forget how hard it can be to keep two toddlers entertained all day long. We have so many toys between Henry and Evelyn that our house sometimes feels like a Toys R Us. It can be system overload for a baby or young child when they have too many options to choose from. It’s like going into H&M and sorting through a thousand garment racks just to find a dress (all while listening to extremely loud music). Before Henry’s 4th birthday we did a toy purge and decided to keep mostly educational toys like puzzles, blocks, pretend play items and other things that really get their imagination rolling. Evelyn has become bored with the toys we have and has also grown out of most of them. I think the reason why she was becoming so fussy is due to the lack of stimulation. I started researching educational toys and the last thing I wanted was something that made a ton of noise or flashed lights like a night club. Here are some wonderful, handmade alternatives I found which she is loving lately. They are also all made in the USA with love. I’ll be sharing my favorite educational toys for age 4 next week!

Sensory Stuffed Toys – These shapes and blocks from Made in the Trees are stuffed with a bell, rattle or crinkle paper to spark interest in little minds. Their fun, soft colors and patterns provide stimulation for growing brains. They are super soft and eye catching too!

Felt Play Food – For her first birthday we bought the Kid Kraft kitchen, obviously a toy she could grow into and use for years. I’ve always been a fan of felt food, probably because I have major sewing envy. This adorable banana split ice cream set and these hand knit donuts are adorable and so fun to play with. I will even catch Henry “baking” with them in the kitchen 🙂

Soft Picture Blocks – These big blocks are so well constructed and filled with bright colors and playful patterns. One of the blocks has a cat on the side and I’m sure you can guess that is Evelyn’s favorite one. She laughs immediately once she sees it and is always looking for that one block. These are great for the early stages of letter recognition and can grow with your child once they start learning the alphabet. When Evelyn goes to bed at night, Henry likes to take these blocks and have a “who can throw more blocks at each other party” with my husband. Thank goodness they are soft!

What are some toys that your littles one love? Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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ZDough Review & Coupon Code

I am so excited to share a fun and natural play dough company with you today! This play dough is all natural and scented with essential oils. I’ve recently introduced my family to all the benefits of essential oils this year so
to see oils in the ingredient list was very reassuring. If you’re looking to experiment with essential oils, Buy neem oil online to start with. ZDough (named for the creators daughter Zadie) is made from all food-grade ingredients: flour, water, salt, cream of tarter, oil food coloring, essential oils, baking flavors and spices. This combination is much safer for your children than the ingredients in Hasbro Play-Doh which has 9 non food-grade ingredients, including fragrance (the worst)! If you are looking for a safer form of play dough for your children to play with, this is it.

There are 14 different colors and scents to choose from. The four I selected were
blueberry, eucalyptus, lavender and candy apple. They all smell amazing
and most importantly, they’re chemical free. They come packaged so cutely in their own little tin can with labels on the bottom. Henry and Evelyn’s named were hand stamped in the dough, which was Henry’s favorite part. He recently learned how to spell and recognize his name so anytime he sees it he gets excited.

The texture is very smooth and has no lingering chemical smells, except for the sweet aroma of the essential oils. Every ZDough has it’s own scent which is beneficial for kids exploring their senses. There was no residue left over on our hands (yes, even I took part in playing with the ZDough). It rolled out very flat and was easily molded into shapes and animals. Henry loves cutting out heart shapes with an old cookie cutter that was my mothers.

ZDough is celebrating their two year anniversary and offering a coupon code for 20% off all orders $20+. These make the best party favors, gifts or stocking stuffers and there are so many wonderful colors and scents to choose from. The sale runs until Sunday and enter code TURNING2 at checkout. Thank you, ZDough for coming out with such a safe product for my children to use! 

Happy Friday the 13th, friends! Hope you have plenty of time to watch some scary movies tonight after you put the kids to bed 🙂
*ZDough provided me with the play dough. As always, all opinions expressed are my own*

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