Gift Guide for Boys (ages 8-9)

A few days ago I shared my Gift Guide for Toddlers, ages 1-3. If you missed it, you can click here to read it. Today I am sharing my gift guide for boys ages 8-9! My son will be 8 1/2 at Christmas this year and I am sharing some of his most requested toys, as well as some of our favorites. Some are tried and true toys for us and some will be new to us this year.

We'll divide this into 6 categories:

  • Experiences
  • Science/STEM
  • Outdoor
  • Multi-use (indoor/outdoor)
  • Books
  • Stocking Stuffers

Let's start with experience gifts. 

  • Zoo - Purchase a family membership to your local zoo for year-round fun! We have found this to pay for itself after only a few trips to the zoo and is well worth the price! Plus, everyone in the family gets to enjoy!

  • Museums - We are lucky enough to have several museums around us: a history museum, a science museum, and a children's museum.

  • Tickets for a special event - Movie theater, water park (for summer fun!), amusement park, a special show, concert, etc. Last year we surprised my son with an overnight stay in a hotel in a neighboring state with tickets to see his favorite wrestler, AJ Styles, at a WWE Smackdown show. Hands down - this was my favorite experience gift we've given him! 

Now let's look at Science/STEM related gifts.

  • Sphero ball - This is one of my sons highly requested gifts this year. You can control this robot using an app.
  • Vex Robotics - These robotic kits seem to be the rage this year! You can find them in multiple places. This is a fun project you can do WITH your child.
  • Circuit kit - We purchased this circuit kit for a friends birthday recently. When I taught 4th grade science, my students LOVED working with circuits!

Let's move on to OUTDOOR gifts.

  • Scooter - Scooters are always a fun gift! You can buy push kick scooters or electric ones.

  • Go-Kart - We don't have room for it, but I know older kids would love this!

  • Drone - Drones can be a fun toy and they even come with cameras now. 

My longest list of toys for boys ages 8-9 fits into this MULTI-USE category.

  • Nerf guns - Nerf guns are ALWAYS a hit at our house! We have a space in our garage where we hung pegboard to store them.
  • Vortex ball - This is one of my sons most requested toys this year. The Vortex ball is made by Nerf. 
  • Magnetic dart board - My son recently received this dart board as a gift and it is so much fun! I love that the darts are magnetic. Even his two year old sister enjoys it!
  • Lego kits - Lots of kids love legos, whether it's a classic set or Lego set.

  • Sports equipment - Does your son play sports? Need a new baseball bat? Cleats? Glove? Basketball? Basketball goal? New soccer ball? Soccer goal? Christmas is the perfect time to stock them up on the sports equipment they need/want. 

  • Action figures - Last year was the year for action figures at our house! My son got oodles and oodles of WWE action figures. You can get action figures for whatever character/people your son is interested in.
  • Qixels - My son loves to create with Qixels sets!
  • Hoverboard - You may think this was a popular option a few years ago, but if your son is just now at the age to enjoy a hoverboard, it may be a good option!  Do your research on the best brand! 

Next, let's discuss BOOKS & BOOK SERIES:

  • Kindle - I'll be honest. I'm a book-in-my-hand type, but a Kindle is a great option to have!

Lastly, let's look at stocking stuffers:

  • Special pens/pencils - This is the perfect time to stock your son up on new pencils or pens. My son loves Flair pens (like his mama!).
  • Markers - Need new markers? Perfect time!

  • Small Lego sets - Sometimes you can find small lego sets that make great stocking stuffers! Even Dollar Tree has little sets that would be great.

  • Movies - A movie is an easy stocking stuffer!
  • Small cars/trucks - Matchbox cars or other small vehicles make easy stocking stuffers, too!  

There you have it! LOTS of gift ideas for boys ages 8-9! I hope this was helpful to you. What items are on your sons list?

Gift Guide for Toddlers (Ages 1-3)

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is my very favorite holiday. It's time to start thinking of the perfect gift for your children. First, I am sharing a gift guide for toddlers ages 1-3. Be on the lookout for my next post, which is geared for older boys ages 8-9.

This gift guide will be divided into a few categories:

  • Experiences
  • Outdoor
  • Indoor/Multi Use

Let's start with EXPERIENCES

I love the idea of experience gifts. Last year we purchased tickets for my son to see his favorite wrestler, AJ Styles, at an event in a neighboring state. Not only did he get to experience the show, but he and his daddy made it an overnight trip, which was exciting all in itself. Some experience gifts I would recommend are:

  • Zoo - Purchase a family membership to your local zoo for year-round fun! We have found this to pay for itself after only a few trips to the zoo and is well worth the price! Plus, everyone in the family gets to enjoy!

  • Children's Museum - We love our children's museum and go often! It was well worth the price for a family membership so we could go as often as we wanted. This is great for those cold months that we are indoors the majority of the day.

  • Other museums - If you have other museums in your area, whether history museums or science museums, family memberships are great for experience gifts. 

Let's move on to OUTDOOR gift ideas.

  • Water table - Water play is so much fun for kiddos and even if they have to wait a few months for warmer weather, a water table makes the perfect gift. We have this one from Step 2 and love it. 
  • Tricycles - As your little one gets older, it's time to begin introducing tricycles! We have both (or are getting both from family) the Schwinn and Radio Flyer. 

  • Picnic table - My little ones love having picnic lunches outside during the summer. This picnic table by Little Tikes is perfect for that. 
  • Basketball goal - This basketball goal by Little Tikes is the perfect starter set for a young basketball player. My girls watch their older brother play basketball, so I know they'll love getting to play it themselves. 

  • Little Tikes T-Ball set - This is another cute beginner athlete set. My son loved this when he was young. To this day, baseball is his favorite sport!

Now let's move on to INDOOR/MULTI USE gift ideas. 

  • Play kitchen - Our little ones will soon receive a kitchen and I cannot wait! A play kitchen was one of my most loved toys as a child and I cannot wait for my littles to enjoy one. We decided on this Kidcraft play kitchen. We decided on a corner kitchen since our space allows it and it looks big enough for 2 to comfortably play. 
  • Play food - If you go with a play kitchen, you'll need accessories like play food. We debated on wooden vs. plastic play food. In the end, we decided to go with plastic, but we knew all plastic play food isn't made the same. I loved the durability of the play food at our local children's museum. It is from Lakeshore Learning, so we invested in it. 

  • IKEA Flisat table - This table is PERFECT for sensory play, which is what we plan on doing with it! We purchased the white Trofast baskets to go down inside the Flisat table. 
  • Mega Blocks Lego set - This is a classic beginner Lego set. They come in primary colors, pinks, and they even have a stack and learn set. 

  •  Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Sink Toy - This has been a favorite toy of my littles for well over a year! It is great to teach the very beginning stages of brushing teeth, combing hair, and washing hands.

  • Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker - I originally was looking for a simple circular stacker, but found this set from Melissa & Doug and grabbed it. It is great for hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills.
  • Toy animals - We bought a ton of animal figures from Hobby Lobby when my son was two years old. Six years later, they are still in GREAT condition and have proven to be WELL WORTH the investment. I recommend a high quality set that will last for years. 

  • Puzzles - My favorite puzzles are from Melissa & Doug. They are such good quality that lasts. This farm animal puzzle is a favorite of ours.
  • Kinetic sand - Kinetic sand is so great for sensory play. We use it often! 

  • Do-A-Dot markers - These markers are great for crafts! We use them with printable Do-A-Dot sheets online. Great for hand/eye coordination!
  • Dress up - Superhero capes, princess dresses, etc. What's not to love?! We are dedicating a spot in our playroom just for dress up. We have a Minnie Mouse dress up set, a Riverbanks Zoo vest, a superhero cape, and a veterinarian vest. 

  • Play Doh - I know, it's messy. Little pieces of it get everywhere no matter how careful your children are. I like to throw down a sheet before we play so that (hopefully) all of the remnants stay on the sheet. Play Doh is GREAT for sensory play. We also like the Play Doh tools. 

There you have it! LOTS of gift ideas for toddlers ages 1-3! I hope this was helpful to you. What items are on your list for your little ones?

Be on the lookout for my next gift guide --> boys ages 8-9! 

Halloween Activities for Toddlers

Today I'm sharing some of the Halloween activities I did this season with my two year olds. Most of these ideas involve sensory play and arts/crafts. Admittedly, Halloween isn't my favorite holiday, BUT we enjoyed lots of Halloween themed activities leading up to Halloween. 

We do a LOT of sensory play activities. One of my girls loves sensory play, while one is a little more hesitant. It is so important to me to expose them to sensory play for sensory development. 

Activity #1: 

Our first activity was a sensory bin that involved shaving cream and several Halloween themed goodies: skeletons, eyeballs, and spiders. The spiders and skeletons were purchased in a pack at Wal-Mart for around $1. I purchased the eyeballs years ago (for a different activity) from Dollar Tree. I placed all of the spooky figures into the shaving cream and had my girls pick them out and play in the shaving cream. We may have had a moment of one falling INTO the bin and getting shaving cream everywhere, but hey - it was an easy clean up! 

Activity #2: 

I created another spooky sensory bin using black webbing, mini pumpkins, (both purchased from Dollar Tree), and spiders. This bin was met with a little more hesitation, but they ended up enjoying it. The spiders got hooked in the webbing, so we used some fine motor skills to "rescue" them. 

Activity #3: 

After "rescuing" the spiders, we organized them by color! Easy, quick, and reinforces colors! Both of my girls call any and all spiders "Itsy" so we organized all of the Itsy's! 

Activity #4: 

If you can't tell already, I'm all about reusing materials I have on hand to get the most bang for my buck. We created this Witch's Brew for some spooky water play using the same materials listed above. 

Activity #5: 

It wouldn't be Halloween without carving or painting pumpkins! I knew that carving pumpkins would be too much for my sensory hesitant girl (and honestly by son has never liked it either!), so we opted to paint pumpkins using these Mod Sticks Tempera Paint Markers. They worked perfect for this activity! Next year we will try carving pumpkins to see how my girls like it! 

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