Oh, good, school’s out. No more lunch-making, bus-catching, homework-nagging. Now we turn our attention to scrabbling for ways to alleviate boredom.
Orb Factory Sticky Mosaics (photos from Amazon.com). Beth recommended the sticky mosaics, and I got the jewels one for Elizabeth for her birthday. Not only does Elizabeth totally love it, _I_ totally love it. I don’t usually like to do projects with children, but we’re on our fourth mosaic and I’m still having to prevent myself from working on it after she goes to bed. I bought the dinosaur set for ME to do (I’ll use the resulting pictures to decorate the room of dinosaur-loving Henry), and I can’t wait for it to arrive. I wish they made sets for grown-ups.
They’re not CHEAP, it’s true: about $17 for a box that includes 4 or 5 mosaics. But after hesitating over the first set, I wouldn’t hesitate again: well worth it for the fun, the fine motor skills development, the finished pictures (the three we’ve done so far are all on Elizabeth’s wall), and the project I LIKE doing with a child. If they sold them individually instead, for $3-4 each, I’d probably put one in my cart every time I went to the store.
Has there ever been a better riding toy than the PlasmaCar? I submit that there has not. My parents bought it for Edward’s 5th birthday, and ALL the kids are playing on it ALL DAY LONG. We’re allowing it for indoor use right now (I don’t think our hardwood floors could be MORE damaged than they were by the “dragging each other around in laundry baskets” game of last summer), and the kids ride it from one end of the house to the other.
Bubble machine (photo from Amazon.com). This is not the same as the one we have, which I bought years ago and now can’t find online, but I can recommend the CONCEPT. Bubbles! everywhere! Bonus points if you bought gallon after gallon of bubble stuff on clearance last fall! This toy completely eliminates the problem we were having with manually-blown bubbles, which we will call the “You popped MY bubble!!! NO!! Don’t POP them!!!” Problem.
Where we live, practically all the super! fun! activities involve some not-insignificant driving to get there. Hey, did you know they make CHILDREN’S MUSIC you can play in the car? It’s true! Some of the options make me want to crash the car into a tree, but all of us love the kid albums by They Might Be Giants: Here Comes Science, Here Come the ABCs, and Here Come the 123s. Bonus: all three TMBG CDs come with a matching music video DVD, for educational children’s TV you can have on in the background without wanting to leap out a window. We also love Wubbzy Sing a Song, which has songs more along an emotional/behavioral theme: telling the truth, finding the fun in small things, asking for help, valuing friendship, being yourself—but in a non-barfy way that sounds like it’s sung by Blink-182.
Green Toys Sand Play Set (photo from Amazon.com). This kind of toy is so classic it’s easy to overlook it as boring. But this is the most played-with toy in our yard.