It’s Little Man’s first birthday in a few weeks time, and then it’s Boo’s 4th birthday at the start of October. I’m making plans for their days, and we’re already booked into Alton Towers’ Splash Landings hotel for Boo’s birthday, as I mentioned in a previous post, though we’re still undecided about what to do for Little Man. It’s on my weekly planner to sort next week, so I will report back…
In the meantime, I’ve been reviewing and considering the present ideas I have for them. Over the months, whenever I read or hear about something I think they’d like, or Boo mentions something, I make a note of it on my phone. I know that along with buying gifts for them from us, they are very lucky, as various friends and family will ask what to get them, so I like to be prepared! This works really well for me, as it means I can put a fair bit of thought into it for them, and spend a little time researching the ideas, for reviews and prices, and then delete/update the list as I go.
The thing that I’m finding, is that I don’t really want them to have any more big toys and ‘stuff.’ Does that even make sense?! Little Man has the benefit of already having all of Boo’s toys available to play with, and she has plenty. Think of a toy that a 1, 2 or 3 year old would like, and we’ve probably got it! And do you know what I see Boo spending most of her time on? Books and colouring. Of which she also has plenty, but I’ll happily buy more of those. And if we have a big cardboard box, as we do at least monthly when I order my Phoenix cards in, they’re both happy for hours, sometimes days, with that! So, the lists I’ve been compiling this time are a little more about creative and imaginative play. I like the look of Rory’s Story Cubes, a few of Bananagrams games, there’s loads of Crayola goodies I think she’ll love, and of course, I’ve already bought a few books for both of them. For Little Man, it’s about him having a few new things just for him, as as the second child, there’s a fair bit of passing down going on! So a dinosaur puzzle, a first dressing gown, a wooden shape sorter and some wooden blocks. He’s loving his books, and anything ‘lift the flap’ is going down a storm right now! And then things such as dining sets, Trunkis, the odd DVD and clothes are on the list.
I’m really feeling the wooden toy thing at the moment, and I love games, so want to encourage that with them from an early age. I’m looking forward to them being old enough for us to have a ‘Family Games Night’, as I used to love playing board games with my family – still do, actually! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-electronic toys at all. We have them. I like Boo’s Leapfrog Tag Readers and she has a Vtech Smile Motion, Vtech Kiddizoom camera, My Own Leaptop, a Gadget the Robot and Little Man has a Leapfrog My Pal Scout, a Leapfrog Learn & Groove table, to name but a few. We like them. They have their place. Boo loves playing on the CBeebies website, too, and I’m getting her a Reading Eggs subscription starting next week, to coincide with the start of the summer holidays, as she really enjoyed their free trial. They keep them happy for a while, and add some educational value as well as the fun, but they’re not hugely interactive, and don’t see them using lots of their imagination. And if you can’t live in imaginary worlds when you’re this young, then when can you?
It’s a bit about being thrifty and not buying big, flashy things. They just don’t need them, and at this age, we’re lucky enough that they’re not asking for certain things, or craving what their friends have. And as we don’t watch that much TV, and then mainly TV without ads, they’re not desperate to have things they see there either. From experience with Boo so far, I see a lot of toys get quickly forgotten about, which is why I’m trying really hard with my WIP list this year, and so to spend huge amounts on their birthdays seems a little silly. I’d rather spread the spending on days out, playgroups, kids classes, sensory and messy fun, and such like. Money aside, it’s really about encouraging more imagination and creativity. Boo has that and embraces it and I’m looking forward to seeing it develop in Little Man, too. I also want them to have things that, now that Little Man is coming into his own a bit more, they can play with together, and I want to play with them and enjoy watching them have fun, too. And, I honestly believe Boo will be ridiculously happy with a huge pile of crayons, paints and stampers…!!