Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A No Battery Operated Christmas

Pin It

Last year I Christmas shopped frantically last minute and though L played with his gifts, most of those gifts aren't still being played with and MOST of them were battery operated toys...the bells and whistles kinda toys. I then really thought about the way that L plays, and the toys he plays with most often. The things he spends most of his time with are the simpler toys that provoke his own imagination. Those big flashy Transformer light up, shoot em, talking robots got little use and he uses them ONE WAY...as Transformer Robots from the movie and when their batteries run dead, they wont see any action at all. Where's the open ended-ness in that?!

So, this year I made a goal to first of all buy NO BATTERY OPERATED TOYS and secondly to only buy toys that fit into a few different categories (imaginative play, educational toys, books, board games, and open ended toys.) I took a bit more time shopping and really thinking about how my son plays and what is really going to hold his interest.

Here's what I came up with
Keep in mind these are based on what I know my child will like but maybe it'll give you a few ideas or at least thinking differently about the kinds of toys you gift this Christmas if like me you are tired of the flashy noisy toys that tell the child how to play with it and the oooo's and ahhh's are over after a week....

The pics with links are underlined.
Click on their titles to be taken to the full post.

Architetural Blocks

If you google image search "architectural blocks." you will be amazed at the sheer COOLNESS of different kinds of architectural blocks they have! Some sets are more difficult than others but this takes block play to a whole new level! This was our BIG purchase as we bought 4 or 5 different sets of these. A year later these blocks still get played with EVERY day! We threw all the sets together which has resulted in some really cool block buildings!
Specifically we bought mostly HABA Architectural Blocks

We've made slime a few times, but I made a few different kids, gave them catchy names, and bottled them up in mason jars. I gave some to friends but also made L a few batches for an extra gift as well.

Board Games

Lots of one on one time and fun family time!

L likes to play with playdough and we keep it interesting by always doing different things with it. For Christmas though, collected objects that i've found at thrift stores to put together a playdough play basket. I found items that made cool imprinting tools, containers such as mini muffin tins, little craft items to stick in the dough, glitter, etc. I also made a few different batches of homemade scented playdoughs and put them in empty storebought play dough containers. 

Pirate Ship

L looooves pirates and he has the BIGGEST imagination (it really is amazing!) so this was his other BIG gift and it's true that it is a bit of a bells and whistles kind of gift but I based this purchase off of how many imaginative adventures I knew he'd have with it and how much serious play action this ship would get. A year later, I can honestly say that this ship gets played with EVERY day and is still in perfect condition! It has obviously held up very well! This particular ship is by Imaginext and is no longer in stores I believe. You can find it on Ebay though, usually gently used for a great price, and often grouped with other pirate or castle accessories!

Other gifts he received:

(never can have too many)

A pet fish
(really wish Dory and Nemo weren't salt water fish that don't live well together and are tougher species of fish to take care of, but whatever...lol)

my goal was to get away from the battery operated toys this Christmas and focus on more open ended, educational, homemade, family centered, imaginative play kinds of toys and I'm proud that I did just that!

Follow Play Create Explore on Pinterest!
Follow Me on Pinterest
More Ways to Follow the Fun!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mother-Daughter Hiking Trip

My mom is amazing. My husband works almost 80 hours a week, leaving me with little time to myself, but she is ALWAYS so willing to watch the boys to give me much needed ME time. She is also the best Nonny the boys could ever ask for!

I knew she'd been really wanting to go hiking this fall and so I suprised her by arranging a weekend trip just for the two of us to the Buffalo River Valley in Ponca/Jasper, AR. It was so great to just spend time with my mom in one of the most beautiful places EVER!

So I thought I'd share a few pics from our trip.


higher than it looks!


my momma :)

old farmstead in the woods

Eden Falls
(i'm in the bottom right of the picture. Gives you an idea how high the falls are. Too bad it was dry. We definately HAVE to come back during the spring when the falls are running)

Eden Falls Cave enterance

I'm saving a caterpillar from drowning haha

Dinner at the famous Ozark Cafe in Jasper

Some antique store browsing

a dinosaur

a photo we could not resist taking haha

and my most FAVORITE picture of the whole trip!
Arkansas is a seriously beautiful place

Such an awesome trip! I loved the time spent with my Momma in my amazingly beautiful homestate!

Follow Play Create Explore on Pinterest!
Follow Me on Pinterest
More Ways to Follow the Fun!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Painting with a Spin Spa

I saw this SPIN SPA thingy at Goodwill and thought, "How cool would this be to paint with?!" SCORE! It's battery operated and with a push of a button, the head brushes spin on their own.

So cool!

Linking up to:

Follow Play Create Explore on Pinterest!
Follow Me on Pinterest
More Ways to Follow the Fun!