Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A No Battery Operated Christmas

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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!

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  1. love love love this! I love the idea of a no battery Christmas! I think its fantastic! Your gifts are soooo much more meaningful than the other "junk"!

  2. We are a very low media household as well and we too went the board game route. R has a TON of blocks.. but none of the architectural ones. We got him legos this year though. I really planned on non battery operated toys as well, but just realized I bought him some tonka work trucks that make sounds. I was kind of at a loss of what to get him because he doesn't really need anything and I didn't want to get just a bunch of crap. I have grand plans of making him things, but it's a busy month and I'm not sure what I'll get done. I love your list and find your homemade list to be impressive. :) My husband made a huge boat out of cardboard for my son's under the sea birthday party. It's still around and it's holding up well. Cardboard and hot glue is surprisingly strong. Maybe you could do a pirate ship :)

  3. I love this idea! you have so many great projects for kids, I absolutely love using them. I have recommended your page to quite a few friends. Don't stop being creative!

  4. All fantastic ideas! We are also big fans of the no-battery-operated toys rule. We give things like books, play dough sets and board games too, items for the play kitchen (preferably wood or felted, though we do have plastic too), arts and crafts supplies, etc. This year the 'big present' the girls are getting is my old doll house that my parents made me when I was 5. We're just going to get new furniture for it. I'm so excited to pass it on to them!

  5. I actually shopped with a similar goal. I didn't base my goal on whether or not the toy takes batteries, but whether they would spark creativity and actual involvement with the materials. This is the first time I have shopped like this for Christmas, and I am so nervous about it. My daughter has talked about all kinds of toys that she wants and none of them fall into these categories and I worry that she will not be happy with what she gets.


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