I just can’t help myself. I really can’t. Education is just a part of me. It always has been. It always will me. As a mama, I try to find as many opportunities as I can to teach my kids, and that includes at Christmas time. I know that I’ve posted about our favorite toddler gifts, educational toys before, but today I want to put a Christmas twist on those lists (in addition to my recent post on Christmas books for kiddos). Here are 5 items that are decorating our house, but we’re also using for learning this Christmas season. These would also be great gifts for the favorite toddler in your life ;-)
Wooden Advent Calendar- This is a wooden Christmas tree with magnetic Christmas ornaments that you add to the tree as you countdown to Christmas. It’s a great size for little hands and gives them the opportunity to decorate their own Christmas tree. Obviously this is perfect for counting & number recognition, but we’ve also been covering all the even or all of the odd numbers with the ornaments.
Classic Wooden Christmas Nativity Set- Getting married at Christmas assured us that we would be gifted several nativity scenes as wedding gifts. We have several beautiful sets, but very few that I want out while we have tiny babies. So until they get a little older (and better hand-eye coordination) those nativity sets will remain packed up. This set however, was given to us by Aunt Nana last year, is perfect for young children. It is a wooden (read: mostly indestructible) nativity set, with lead-free paint, that toddlers can play with (and throw) and teething young babies can chew on while learning about the Christmas story. My favorite part is that the manger has two sides, one with baby Jesus and one without, so that you can really act out when Jesus arrives on Christmas.
Snowball Kit- Living in Houston, I don’t know when my kids will experience snow. When Aunt Nana gifted this to Dutch last year I was so giddy. These snowballs feel EXACTLY like real snowballs. They are so lite! Both of my kids (Dutch last year on the left and Ellis this year on the right), love these snowballs. We can throw them inside without breaking anything. We also use these for counting, and grouping (e.g. put the snowballs into groups of 3, etc.).
The Jesus Storybook Bible- I am always on the look out for new Bibles. We probably have more than we need, but I really like this one. Dutch is going to be getting this one for Christmas this year. Dutch is getting to the point where he craves more than just a few sentences on a page like board books typically have. He asks lots of questions and wants more detail but isn’t quite cognitively ready for a big study Bible. This is the perfect medium and I think he will be able to use this one for a few years.
Shepherd on the Search- I think we’ve all heard about the Elf on the Shelf; honestly, we even have one (though all we do is play hide and seek with our elf, Sheldon). While the Elf on the Shelf is a fun activity it doesn’t relay the true story of Christmas. This shepherd is the Christian alternative to Elf on the Shelf. Much like the shepherds and their flock were on the search for the newborn King, you can read the story and search for the shepherd around your home. The kit comes with a plush shepherd, book, and nativity box. This is another great tool to teach the true story of Christmas.