A. Kids seem to love toys that they can ride and a favorite during the toddler and preschool years for my kids to ride are balance bikes. My daughter started on a balance bike when she was around two-and-a-half inside the house and we took it to the driveway or on walks after she got older and more confident. Sadly, it was loved so much that it was left in the driveway one afternoon, behind Daddy’s car, and met its fate this past year. We have finally gotten another so my daughter can still ride one until she learns to ride her “big girl bike” without training wheels and with our little guy turning two this month, he will be riding it in no time. I love the confidence it has given my daughter and all of the scraped shins and bruises we have avoided since it does not use pedals.
What is a balance bike you may ask? Below is an adorable graphic from Prince Lionheart explaining what they are and some of the advantages. For additional information you can visit Prince Lionheart online or look for them at your favorite Prince Lionheart retailer. Their chop bike was well loved at our house and their new scooter style in white we have (pictured, above) is darling and sure to please this holiday season.
B. I have Little Drummer Boy going through my head as I think about instruments at Christmastime, but they are a gift I have been giving my kids each year. I usually give small percussion instruments such as claves or maracas, but this year I have fallen in love with this small bongo style cajon drum by Meinl I will be giving my son. He has got pretty good rhythm for his age and loves to bang on our drums to make music while I play guitar or piano. I fell in love with Cajon drum in grad school and when I first saw one played at a concert I thought the percussionist was making extraordinary music from a simple wooden box. Although this was true to some extent, the Cajon is more than just a wooden box with its different tones and gorgeous wood. I am a big advocate of providing quality music experiences for my kids from a young age and this small cajon drum is perfect for little hands. Another great instrument for preschoolers and school aged children are hand bells, which are great for concentration, motor skills and early music recognition. Children can start playing with color coded or numbered music and move on to reading music notes as they progress, but be sure to start younger children with only a few bells and simple melodic tunes to avoid frustration or confusion. It would also be a fun family activity to each be in charge of one or two notes for a song!
C. Plan Toys has recently come out with a new line of their toys available in PlanWood, a composite wood made from the two tons of sawdust that their factory produces daily. This allows them to use every part of the rubberwood tree as well as add the organic colorants during the pressure molding process. It is an extremely durable material that can be put in the dishwasher—perfect for those curious infants or toddlers who put everything in their mouths. PlanWood is not meant to replace their traditional rubberwood toys, but many old favorites such as the Dancing Alligator will be available in the new material as well as some new additions like the Assorted Fruit Set and the Assorted Vegetable Set, which will feature more detail with the new material. My son loved cutting similar toy fruits and vegetables at the church nursery during our visit here in Japan and would make a great addition to our play food collection.
D. My daughter and I have a great deal of fun looking through catalogs from Nova Natural Toys and my daughter fell in love with this fairy house and cut it out to add to her wishlist. Although it may not be arriving from Santa’s sleigh for her this season, I have definitely made note of it for a possible birthday gift in the spring along with one of the fairy friends. Another wooden treasure that was high on my idealist this year was the new wooden Dolly’s Pram by Elves & Angels. Perfect for stuffed animals, dolls or even carting around play food or toys it is a classic I would love to add to our wooden toy collection. We have adored our wooden kitchen we got two years ago and would highly recommend their heirloom quality toys.
Samples were received from Plan Toys and Prince Lionheart, however, no monetary compensation was received and the views, opinions and gift ideas are my own. Affiliate links may be used for some of the products mentioned.Holiday Gift Ideas: Something They Want ~Plus~ Prince Lionheart Balance Bike #Giveaway (12/14) I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}