Baby's First Easter

As promised, in addition to my annual Easter Basket post for kids, I wanted to include a separate list for Baby's FIRST Easter!  Darling, special little things to commemorate your little one's very first bunny celebration!  Hope you love it all as much as I do! 

All of the pictures and captions are shopping links which will open in a separate screen-- happy shopping! 

The Beaufort Bonnet Company will make you want another baby to shop for. All super high-end, high quality items. These classic bonnets are sure to make you swoon and sure to keep sun off baby's little head. 

This classic set of four Peter Rabbit Tales are SURE to delight both you and your little one.  It was important to Beatrix Potter that the books be sized for little hands (also a measure to keep the costs down and affordable for all children). While we have the complete volume of Beatrix Potter Tales, Holiday still prefers to read the smaller ones whenever possible!  Of course these little books include all of Beatrix Potter's original, gorgeous illustrations! 

Jellycat is the most favorite brand of stuffed animals at our house. They are SO soft and cuddly. The ones featured here (and most of what we own) are the size medium- for the bunny it's 12 inches and the perfect size for snuggles. Make bunny extra special by having the ear embroidered with your little one's name! 

Also available from Jellycat are these seriously adorable Baby Soother Security Blankets!  The link will take you to a selection of different animals and colors! 

I've always been a big fan of classic, wooden toys for little ones and Haba makes some of the best! Here's an article on why many parents prefer wooden toys for their children

Haba Little Sparrow Clutching Toy 

Haba Little Sparrow Clutching Toy 

Teething Egg is a new baby teething toy on the market this year! It's the perfect size and weight for little hands and mouth. Designed by a mom who worked with top-notch engineers. 

Kamani Designs- aka THE WORLD'S BEST BIB-- SERIOIUSLY!!!!  These bibs are reversible and feature snaps at the bottom.  It will catch all the extra food that misses baby mouth.  When you're ready to clean up-- simply unsnap and wipe right into the sink!  These bibs are easily wiped down and can also be thrown into the washer! Made out of laminated cotton and NOT oilcloth which can be toxic. 

Admittedly, I have loved Peter Rabbit forever, so I may have been a little biased when Holiday was in puree stage, but these Peter Rabbit Organics were our very favorite!  She ate these until she was 3.5!!! 

If you love Peter Rabbit, you NEED this baby board book filled with lots of fun things to touch and see! 

These Skip Hop Stacking Bird Bath Toys are also scoops so babies and toddlers can scoop and play in the water.  These adorable spring-time colors are sure to be a hit in your little one's Easter basket! 

Ahhhh!  These Pottery Barn Kids Baby Bunny Slippers are PERFECTION! Super soft and cozy, fit up to 12 months.  More animals/colors available via the links above! 

If you really want something special to commemorate baby's first Easter, look no further than this plush sherpa bunny rocker from Pottery Barn Kids!  We've had two of the rockers from PBK and they are superb in quality and engineering!

Top Picks for Easter Baskets 2017

I feel like I'm getting this list out later than ever this year, but hopefully it will be worth the wait! My husband and I just got back from a little trip celebrating our wedding anniversary.  On our last day, I swung by the gift shop to bring home a gift for Holiday and discovered Bling2O swim goggles.  Can I just tell you that the online pictures don't even do them justice?! They are SOOOO ADORABLE in person and the boys' designs are every bit as cute as the girls.  Summer is right around the corner and these are definitely my top pick for both boys and girl this year! 

ALL of the pictures are links that will open in separate windows.  If you hover over each picture, you'll also see the item name which is also a link for the item.

Disclaimer:  I'm not sure if it's obvious how many hours go into creating my Easter and Christmas blog posts-- not to mention, always keeping my eyes out for the newest and greatest items to share with you all!  I have chosen not to put advertising on my blog for the time being.  However, for Amazon items, I do have an Amazon associates link.  Meaning if you follow my links to the items and purchase, I do get a very small percentage of your sale (most items I earn must 3%) so I do appreciate you purchasing through the links if you decide to purchase based on my blog! Thank you! 

BLING2O SWIM GOGGLES

There are SO many adorable styles, I didn't think you could really see the details on this collage picture!

 

BLING2O Girls Styles

BLING2O BOYS STYLES 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ALL THE BOYS STYLES! 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ALL THE BOYS STYLES! 

Bling2o Gooey Gator Swim (2 color options via link)

Bling2o Gooey Gator Swim (2 color options via link)

Bling2o Boys Super Hero 

Bling2o Boys Super Hero 

Bling2O also has a few other fun swim accessories that all rate super well! Grab some goggles, maybe one of these accessories, add in a super fun beach towel (Pottery Barn kids is my fave) and a pair of flip flops (Hanna Andersson or Havianas) and you have a fantastic Easter basket! 

The Bling Board Kick boards each contain a diving toy ball that is contained in the kick board! 

Shark Bling Board

Cupcake Bling Board

Candy Jar Snorkel Pink

Candy Jar Snorkel Brights

Hope y'all love these goggles as much as I do.  I bought Holiday the mermaid ones to give right away and a pair of the heart ones are stashed away for her Easter basket.  They were all SOOO cute, I just couldn't decide!!!! 

Chunkies and Kwik Stix Paint Sticks

Before Christmas, I was raving about the Lil' Chunkies Paint Sticks-- they are AMAZING!!!  We've continued to use them (Pssst- THEY'RE EVEN AWESOME FOR DECORATING EASTER EGGS!) Holiday also wanted some that were a little finer/ thinner, so I also purchased another brand, Kwik Stix that are essentially the same product, but make thinner/finer lines and kids are able to use a traditional pencil grip with them.  If you didn't buy them for Christmas, you will totally want them for Easter.  It's mess free painting for your littles of artists through age 8 will really enjoy these! (See below for perfect paint paper pads to go with these!) 

CLICK HERE FOR CHUNKIES PAINT STICKS! 

CLICK HERE FOR CHUNKIES PAINT STICKS! 

 Be sure to pick up a paint pad or heavyweight sketch paper for all their paintings.  I love the Kid Made Modern ones from Target, they run just about $5. Even our local grocery store had some other really cute paint pads for $2. 

KID MADE MODERN: HEAVY WEIGHT PAD CLICK HERE

KID MADE MODERN: LIGHT WEIGHT PAD CLICK HERE 

 

LIGHT STAX 

I discovered Light Stax right before Christmas this past year and they are SO much fun! They are more like the size of a Lego Duplo square brick, but they light up!  You just have to have them connected to a light up base.  Even older kids enjoy creating with the Light Stax. You can use the power base to connect to a USB and use it as a night light.  They really are AMAZING! 

Here's a YouTube video on Light Stax-- the possibilities are endless! 

CLICK HERE TO GO TO AMAZON LIGHT STAX

CLICK HERE TO GO TO AMAZON LIGHT STAX

Holiday used her Light Stax to make rainbows for her leprechaun trap on St. Patrick's Day! 

Holiday used her Light Stax to make rainbows for her leprechaun trap on St. Patrick's Day! 

 

 

FANDEX FAMILY FIELD GUIDES  

If you have kiddos who love absorbing and obsessing over certain topics, you might love the Fandex Family Field Guides as much as we do.  There are Fandex Field Guides for SO many topics from Dinosaurs and Presidents to Shakespeare, DC Comics Wildflowers and SO much more! They are really age appropriate for a large variety of ages.  I would say any child who is a fluent reader through adult- even younger children will enjoy the pictures and having the cards read to them. There is such a wealth of engaging information on each card, little readers are just as engaged as an adult.  CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE FANDEX OPTIONS

Fandex PRESIDENTS 

Fandex PRESIDENTS 

FANDEX Family Field Guide Presidents

FANDEX Family Field Guide Dinosaurs

FANDEX Family Field Guide 50 States

FANDEX Family Field Guide Butterflies

FANDEX Family Field Guide DC Comics and Villains

FANDEX Family Field Guide Star Wars

PEACEABLE KINGDOM STICKER FUN SETS 

I've used and blogged about many Peaceable Kingdom brand items in the past and have always loved their quality and creativity.  A few months ago I stumbled upon the Sticker Fun sets and ordered some for air travel we had coming up.  They were a HUGE hit!  The stickers are heavyweight- more like vinyl clings you'd put on a window and each set comes with several scenes to decorate.  The stickers are super easy to remove and reuse countless times!  There are SO many fun themes to choose from if you're doing a theme basket! 

She's showing the Mermaid set, but I snapped pics of the front and back of the unicorn set we also have.  They are SUPER fun! 

She's showing the Mermaid set, but I snapped pics of the front and back of the unicorn set we also have.  They are SUPER fun! 

At the Zoo

Cars and Trucks 

At the Airport

Space Adventures

Mermaid

Butterfly

Magical Unicorns

The Princess Ball

Fire Station

Pirates

Under Construction

Train Time

Horses

Ocean Animals

United States

Dinosaurs 

PICK A PUZZLE! 

Puzzles are a main attraction at our house. I've bought a lot of them and I have three top favorite brands for kids puzzles: Ravensburger, Crocodile Creek and Mudpuppy.  Puzzles are awesome Easter basket gifts because you can find them to match pretty much ANY theme and they are appropriate for all age levels when you scale by the number of pieces.  Holiday is 6 now and will sit and do anything from a 24 pc puzzle to a 200pc.  Anything beyond 200 pieces tends to lose her attention a little.  For 100 pieces and under, she will sit and put them together on her own pretty quickly.  For 200 pieces, she'll tend to start it in the morning, move on to other things and then come back and finish.  Puzzles are great STEM builders and really good for developing problem solving skills!  

Ravensburger:  While the other two brands I mentioned are purely for kids, Ravensburger makes quality puzzles from toddler to adults-- so the possibilities for themes and subjects are endless.  Ravensburger also makes a lot of Disney and other character themed puzzles-- so search for whatever you're looking for.  They are top quality, nice heavy pieces!  

CLICK HERE TO SHOP ALL RAVENSBURGER PUZZLES 

CLICK HERE TO SHOP ALL RAVENSBURGER PUZZLES 

Construction Crowd 60pc puzzle

Horse Dreams Glitter 100pc puzzle

Space puzzle 100pc puzzle

Mermaids and Dolphins Glitter 100pc puzzle

Beautiful Ocean 100pc puzzle

Thomas the Train Counting Trains 21pc puzzle

Pirate Battle 100pc puzzle

Land of the Giants (Dinosaur) 100 pc puzzle

Railway Station 60pc puzzle

Crocodile Creek: This is a super fun brand of kid puzzles.  All nice, heavy puzzle pieces.  The smaller pieced puzzles are all XL size and easy for little fingers. The puzzles in tubes are a puzzle PLUS a poster! They also have a series of truck puzzles where the box looks like a vehicle (pictured center in the collage below).

CLICK HERE TO SHOP ALL CROCODILE CREEK PUZZLES 

CLICK HERE TO SHOP ALL CROCODILE CREEK PUZZLES 

Unicorn Forest 36pc puzzle

Pirates Puzzle & Poster 200pc 

Land of Dinosaurs 24pc puzzle

Ocean Puzzle & Poster 200pc  

Recycling Truck 48pc puzzle

Super Heros 72pc puzzle

Fire Truck 12pc puzzle

Cinderella 72pc puzzle

Mermaids 72pc puzzle

Mudpuppy: Mudpuppy makes all kinds of wonderful items for children.  Again, their puzzle pieces are nice and heavy quality.  For your littlest ones, their puzzles in a pouch are SO cute and a nice, easy 12 pieces. There are lots more pouch puzzles than I have pictured below, but you can shop all pouch puzzles here. Also below are some of their Puzzle Stick Puzzles which you can see all here. Each set contains SIX 8pc stick puzzles! 

Forest Friends Jumbo Puzzle, 25pc

Princess Castle Pouch Puzzle, 12pc

Dinosaurs Jumbo Puzzle, 25pc

Construction Jumbo Puzzle, 25pc

On the Road 42pc Puzzle

Geometric Animals Puzzle Sticks Set

To the Rescue Jumbo Puzzle, 25pc

Under the Sea Pouch Puzzle, 12pc

Animals of the World Jumbo Puzzle, 25pc

IF YOU STILL NEED A THEME... 

If you really love themed baskets as much as I do-- there are SO many options here to mix these different products for a beautiful themed basket! 

Dinosaurs, Super Heros, Construction, Vehicles, Princess, Mermaids, Sea/Ocean, Outer Space and so many more! 

If you still need more ideas, there are SO many wonderful things on previous years' posts.  Last year was all broken down into awesome themes! 

THE WELL STYLED CHILD BUNNY BASKET BONANZA 2016

THE WELL STYLED CHILD BUNNY BASKET BONANZA 2014

THE WELL STYLED CHILD BUNNY BASKET BONANZA 2013

 

 

Dressed in Holiday Style: DISNEY Edition

We just got back from an AMAZING 8 days in Walt Disney World!  Our last trip was exactly two years ago in February 2015 and I've admittedly been planning Holiday's outfits for this trip since we returned! Of course I follow oodles of handmade boutiques and see Disney designs daily, but I think my own personal Disney style is slightly different from the norm.  I see a lot of people buying character prints.  And while I do have two of those in the group of outfits below, I really like bolder styles and patterns inspired by the characters.  I love having a sweet little outfit and bloomers that looks as if it was cut from the same cloth as Minnie's dress versus a dress with little Minnie characters on it.  I just love how adorable the bolder styles look in pictures versus having to look closely to see what character is on the dress.

With going at the beginning of February, we truly had beautiful weather for walking all day, every day through the parks!  We had to layer jackets and sweaters for the morning and evenings.  We also had one chilly day in the mix that we had to plan for as well (why you'll see some sweaters and long sleeves in the mix).  We didn't end up wearing every single one of these outfits, but this is what I packed for Holiday. 

I also wanted to make a note about shoes.  I have a lot of Mini Melissas paired with these outfits.  On both this trip and our trip in 2015, we had an identical experience.  Holiday wore Mini Melissa's the first day and they rubbed her feet too much and so she didn't wear them much after that (except for a few hours at dinner or special character meals).  I bought her a pair of super cute sparkly Pumas (pictured with the Little Mermaid outfit) that were great to switch out for.  I also put her in adorable knee highs and Livie and Luca Ruches on several days and they were perfectly adorable AND comfortable! 

This SUPER twirly Mouseketwirl top (fits more like a dress for Holiday) is from JK Heirloom. Bloomers are from Amazon (link below)  Shoes are Mini Melissa and the headband is from One Stop Bow Shop. Doll is from Little Sunshine Creations 

Even though I'm not super big on the little character prints, I HAD to make an exception for this exquisite set from Gabriella Design Studio.  It seriously makes me swoon every time I see Holiday in it.  In the morning and evening we paired it with this little Mini Boden sweater.  Knee socks are Little Jeffries, Shoes are Livie and Luca Ruches and headband is from Hanna Andersson 

Just a little closeup of this Beauty and the Beast fabric 

Another completely adorable swing top from JK Heirloom paired with polka dot leggings, also from JK Heirloom. Shoes are Ruches from Livie and Luca and Minnie Ears Headband is from The Disney Store.  Doll is Squishy Bee. 

Another amazing creation from JK Heirloom!  I paired these with bloomers I found on Amazon (link below).  To make it look more Belle-ish, I paired it with these Jason Wu for Mini Melissa Red Shoes and Red Headband from Hanna Andersson.  Cogsworth and Lumiere are from The Disney Store! 

If you've followed me for any length of time, you know I'm in LOVE with these character inspired dress up "aprons" from Ross and Rosie Designs.  I pair them with a simple tutu underneath (along with Monkey Bar Shorties)  for fullness and the little ruffle sleeve plain top is from Persnickety.  The boutique that made the Cinderella necklace is out of business, headband is from Hanna Andersson, shoes are Mini Melissa.  Jaq and Gus are from the Disney collection at JC Penney. 

This super sweet, completely comfy dress is from Sweet Petunia Clothing.  Mouse ears hat was a souvenir from our last Disney trip!  Paired this with Livie and Luca black Ruches and knee high socks from Little Jeffries. 

Another AMAZING dress-up Apron from Ross and Rosie Designs!  I paired this Mary Poppins Jolly Holiday inspired creation with Red Shoes (Jason Wu for Mini Melissa) along with a basic ruffle sleeve top from Persnickety Clothing Company.  Hat is from Hat and Mouse (Etsy/ Instagram).  Parasol and lace gloves from Amazon.  I also put the white bloomers under this set (link below). 

Adorable hand pained Snow White Tee from Chick-a-tee-Shu (Etsy) paired with glitter tutu from Cat and Jack, Target.  Headband is from One Stop Bow Show.  Shoes are Jason Wu for Mini Melissa

Another adorable dress-up apron, this one Rapunzel inspired, from Ross and Rosie Designs.  Ross and Rosie also made the hairpiece.  Shoes are Mini Melissa, Basic Ruffle Tee is from Persnickety.  We paired this with a simple tutu for fullness. 

In love with this Mickey Dress from Sweet Petunia Clothing.  We paired this with red Converse and black headband from Hanna Andersson. 

Totally cute and comfy outfit we wore for a travel day.  This Pearl (dress/top) is from Tessa's Trunk.  The cropped pants are Sweet Petunia Clothing.  Minnie/Mickey shoes are from Mini Melissa and headband is Hanna Andersson. 

Another totally adorable hand-painted shirt from Chick-a-Tee-Shu. Tutu is from the Hairbow Company, Shoes are Puma (Nordstrom) and headband is Hanna Andersson

We had one fairly chilly day during our Disney stay- we wore this top we bought on our first day at the Disney Store in Disney Springs.  The leggings are from GAP, headband is One Stop Bow Shop. 

GAP Mickey Leggings are still available here

Closeup of the adorable, glitter Mickey heads on these leggings. 

I took this outfit in anticipation of the chilly days the forecast was calling for when we were packing for the trip.  This super cute applique dress and leggings are from Lemon Loves Lime (fall 2016).  Boots are Ugg and Headband is from Hanna Andersson. 

This applique SO reminded me of Cinderella's Castle in Magic Kingdom! 

I wanted to share these two different bloomers I found on Amazon.  We wore them with so many cute things on this trip.  They work so well with many of our boutique, hand-made tops and dresses.  They were so inexpensive, but so worth it! 

Longer Pantaloon Bloomer HERE

Shorter/ Brook's Treehouse Ruffle Bloomer HERE

Here are a few pictures of these super cute outfits in action! 

IMG_3775.JPG

Tis' the Season for Learning

For those of you who may not know, when I'm not decorating or shopping for the latest mini fashions, I homeschool Holiday.  Truth be told, homeschooling is the main gig happening at our house, all the rest is what happens in my free time (hence why I don't blog as often as I'd like to or plan to!)

While everyone is in the full throes of Christmas shopping, sometimes it's hard to wrap your brain around bringing even one more toy into your home.  Especially when the toy at the top of their list is nothing more than a cleverly marketed Nick Jr. commercial and you know your hard-earned money will end up in the pile of toys that are rarely played with though regularly competing for your sanity.  

Today I wanted to bring you a list of learning toys that I've found valuable in the classroom and play time.  There have been many moments when I'm teaching Holiday that I can tell she just needs something extra to grasp a concept.  I've been amazed at the power of educational toys (aka learning manipulatives) which can add a tactile and fun dimension to learning.  

Tis' the season for early literacy 

Holiday was an early reader- doing easy CVC books at age 3 and reading at a 3rd grade level before she was old enough to be in Kindergarten.  I think part of her reading success was due to the types of toys and resources I surrounded her with from the time she was a baby.  So much of early learning happens in play.  As a baby, I used these simple letter toys in the bath tub would would tell her what sound each letter makes as she played with them.  As early as 10 months, she could tell you the sounds for several letters. Here's a collection of early literacy for your tiny ones up through progressing leaders: 

1. Munchkins Bath Letters: This is a great, wonderful, first way to introduce little ones to letters and their sounds as they're playing in the bath. BUY IT HERE

2.  The Learning Journey Upper & Lower Case Letters Puzzle:  This is a great little puzzle to learn lowercase letters and letter sounds. BUY IT HERE

3.  Smart Snacks Alpha Pops: Holiday has had this set since around 1 year of age.  It was late 3's when she was really able to snap them together, but was a great resources with connecting uppercase letters to their "little matches." BUY IT HERE

4. Mudpuppy Magnetic Letters: I love these magnetic letters from Mudpuppy.  The picture is for the uppercase letters, but I highly recommend buying the set of lowercase letters as well.  There are two color-ways for each.  If you get the same color-way for both the uppercase and lowercase letters, the color/pattern of the uppercase letter will match the lowercase letters.  BUY UPPERCASE HERE.  BUY LOWERCASE HERE

5. Dick and Jane Early Readers Collection:  When kids are building a strong phonics foundation, Dick and Jane books are absolutely invaluable.  There are countless early readers with every recognizable character out there.  However, not all readers are created equally.  There is a reason that Dick and Jane stands the test of time.  The word repetition really helps young readers grasp the CVC words in combination with everyday, simple, high-frequency words.  I also love that many sentences would end in one word and the next sentence would begin with the same word.  I felt like this really helped Holiday recognize that the same word starting with an uppercase or lowercase letter was still the same word.  BUY IT HERE

6.  Learning Resources Goodie Games ABC Cookies: This game/ toy is all lowercase letters.  This is great for when kids are at the point of learning CVC words and word groups.  Simple games included to play with letters make learning deliciously fun! BUY IT HERE

7.  The Land of Nod Letter Scramble Kids Game: I LOVE this game!  I bought this for Holiday for Christmas this year.  Follow the purchase link to see how HUGE this game is-- these fun, over-sized plush pieces make learning even more engaging.  This is pretty much like the old-school Boggle game-- but way more fun and engaging for little ones.  This is a good game for one kids are starting to spell CVC words on their own and can be fun all the way through age 99! BUY IT HERE 

8. Leap Frog The Letter Factory DVD and Flashcards: This link is for a 3 pack DVD set and they are ALL excellent.  I can't recommend the Letter Factory DVD enough for learning letter sounds.  I specifically linked this set because it includes a set of flashcards that link back to the movie for each letter.  I think the tangible, visual reinforcement is really wonderful bonus.  The other two DVDs in this pac are also wonderful.  Going to School goes over all the basics- letters, counting to 20, Days of the Week, Months of the Year and more!  Talking Words is the next step after The Letter Factory-- it shows children how to blend letter sounds together along with "Sticky Letters" (aka Vowels) to make words! BUY IT HERE

9.  Hooked on Phonics PreK:  I am a HUGE believer in phonics as the best course for early reading.  Many schools and curriculums focus on memorizing long lists of sight words and high frequency words. However, I've seen first-hand, how valuable a strong phonics foundation is.  We have used Hooked on Phonics all the way through.  Holiday did the Kindergarten Hooked on Phonics when she was 3, so I wouldn't go by age as much as what their literacy skill level is.  This Hooked on Phonics Pre-K is to develop letter recognition and learn all of the letter sounds.  Once your child knows all of their letters, letter sounds and STRONG lowercase recognition, you're ready to jump into the Kindergarten version of Hooked on Phonics.  BUY PRE-K HERE.  BUY KINDERGARTEN HERE 

Tis' the season for STEM development 

These days there are so many awesome, play-based, resources out there to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Skills.  Here are some of our favorites: 

1.  Learning Resources Hundreds Board: If you have no other early math toy in your collection, have a good Hundreds Board.  I shopped around quite a bit for just the right hundreds board (would have loved an all wooden version) but this one was the best one I have found so far.  There are individual tiles 1-100.  In addition, two sets of colored translucent tiles (red and blue) are also included.  The colored tiles were really helpful when we were working on skip counting (2's, 5's and 10's).  There have just been more times than I can count that I've pulled out the hundreds board to teach a math concept whether it be to use as a number line or finding the nearest '5' when learning to tell time.  It's also a great visual resource for teaching multiplication. BUY IT HERE

2. Math Marks the Spot Game: Super, over-sized, math fun!  Roll the big, plush dice and solve the match problem. BUY IT HERE

3. Math Mat Challenge: We don't own this, but I have read a lot of reviews on this one and it looks like a super fun and engaging way to work on math! BUY IT HERE

4. Learning Resources Magnetic Apple Fractions: Many of the learning toys we have are also play food!  These apples get played with, regularly, just as play food.  However, they are such a good, tangible learning resource too.  When it came to teaching Holiday fractions to 1/4, no teaching was really necessary-- she immediately understood the concept because she had played with these apples so often.  They were also super useful when she learned to tell time to the quarter hour.  BUY IT HERE

5.  Bunny Peek-a-Boo Logic Game:  This is an awesome logic game from Smart Games for little ones (geared for ages 2+).  My neighbor lent this one to us a few years ago and I loved how this toy made Holiday think in a way that her other toys didn't.  Such a great way to work on STEM skills early on.  Cards are color-coded for difficulty so you can really scale for a variety of ages (I would say this one would be good through age 5).  BUY IT HERE

6.  3 in 1 Construction Bulldozer, Dump, Excavator Drill and Build: Kids are just attracted to cars and things that go.  This toy takes that concept to the next level by having your little engineer build this multi-functional dump truck/ excavator/ bull dozer first!  Super durable, can be built and re-built over and over.  Plus, it's a super fun truck to play with assembled.  BUY IT HERE

7.  Inchimals Blocks:  I really love these Inchimal Blocks from Fat Brain Toys.  12 blocks with the largest being a 12 inch giraffe and the smallest, a 1 inch lady bug.  This has been a great toy to get a sense for measurement, addition, estimating and figuring out how to get to 10.  Having a tangible learning manipulative that shows scale, the number and has an identifying animal gives children a variety of ways to latch onto mathematical concepts.  It also comes with a dry erase booklet and marker to work on number sentences using the blocks.  BUY IT HERE

8.  I Sea 10 Math Game: "New Math" has an early focus of getting to 10.  Many early math activities focus on what we must add to numbers 1-9 to get to 10 and what combination of numbers will get you there.  This game is a super fun skill builder that develops an overall numbers sense.  Fish are turned over to reveal a number.  As soon as a combination of 10 is on the board, the first person to should "I See 10!" gets to keep those cards.  BUY IT HERE 

9. Ocean Raiders Math Board Game: There are a variety of ways to play this fun addition game.  Whether adding single numbers, double digit numbers, numbers without carrying and numbers with carrying.  BUY IT HERE 

10.  My First Lab Mini Duo-Scope Microscope: This was on Holiday's Christmas List this year and reviews as a great, little first microscope!  I'm excited about adding a new dimension to our classroom and learning activities!  BUY IT HERE 

11. Lunar Telescope: This was also on Holiday's Christmas List this year! She loves outer space and what better way to bring the galaxy a little closer. BUY IT HERE

12. Magna-Tiles: We love Legos for STEM development, but Magna-Tiles are really more open ended in my opinion.  My husband grew up on the mission field in Chile and Guatemala and a suitcase of Legos were his main (and one of his only) toys through childhood.  He often comments while doing Legos with Holiday that today's Lego sets aren't what they used to be.  Where Legos used to be almost all bricks, now there are lots of specialized, large molded pieces that are very specific to each, individual set.  Out of all the magnetic block options, Magna-Tiles are far superior to its competitors.  They are a completely open-ended toy, fun for all ages. BUY IT HERE

13. Design and Drill: There are several versions of Design and Drill (some are less gender specific), but we have found this to be a great little game to get the brain thinking and the drilling is just SO much fun for kids.  Holiday has really enjoyed this toy over the past year.  BUY IT HERE

14. Robot Turtles Game for Little Programmers: My husband, David, is a Senior Network Engineer/ Architect at Google and this board game has been a big hit for he and Holiday to play together. It teaches computational thinking in a simple way for little ones to comprehend.  You can start playing this game as early as age 4.  There's also an add-on pack for more advanced programming challenges.  BUY IT HERE

15. Trucky3 Logic Challenge Game: Not all little ones will have the attention span to sit and figure out a logic came.  HOWEVER, Trucky3 is a game changer for lots of those kids!  For ages 3-8, this challenge is more difficult than it looks!  You must fit specific shapes into the beds of each truck without any shapes sticking up over the bed of the truck.  Such a fun and engaging logic and STEM activity for your vehicle lovers! BUY IT HERE

16.  Camelot Jr. Logic Game: Camelot Jr. is much the same concept as Trucky3 and the next level of difficulty after Bunny Peek-a-Boo listed above.  A great logic challenge!  BUY IT HERE

Tis' the Season for Telling Time 

Telling Time is getting its own mini section apart from other STEM resources as I just finished teaching Holiday how to tell time to the minute.  We have loved and used each of these, daily, during our math time.  

Eeboo Telling Time Game: This game is AWESOME!  Four individual clocks are included and can be played with up to 4 players or can be scaled to just a single player.  For Holiday play alone, she plays in rounds-- I set out each of the four clocks in front of her and put a different time card above each clock for her to set the correct time on each clock.  Her goal is always to get 4/4 correct for each round.  The deck of time cards is color coded so you can included cards for telling time to the hour, half hour, nearest 5 or by the minute. BUY IT HERE

Mindware Owl Clock: This clock has been invaluable in teaching time.  The back of it is chalkboard so you can either draw the hands on the clock and have the child write to time below, or you can write the time and have them draw the hands on the clock.  The front of the clock has a little moving window that helps with the "Secret Code" (aka counting the hour numbers by 5's to figure out minutes).  It also includes cards if you want to use it as a game to set the right time.  Plus, it doesn't hurt that it has a vintage look to it and is adorable in our Homeschool Room or Playroom!  BUY IT HERE

Flik Flak Swiss Watches for Kids: I'm in LOVE with these Flik Flak watches and was so happy to find them.  Holiday's was really helpful while she was learning to tell time and is such a good reminder now as well.  You'll notice that around the outside of the clock face, the "Secret Code" for figuring out minutes is also included.  There are TONS of options from prints to solid colors to choose from.  They are a nice, lightweight watch and not at all bulky for little ones to wear.  BUY IT HERE

Tis' The Season for Geography 

These are all such great resources for not only learning about our world and country, but also to learn individual facts for each state.  Lots of fun while your family is traveling or on road trips, to explore your destination or towns you'll be passion through-- or even to learn a little more about the state you call "Home." BUY IT HERE

1. The 50 States Big Book: This is a beautiful, BIG, colorful book that has a layout dedicated to each state with lots of fun and practical facts. BUY IT HERE

2. Atlas of Adventures: This is a wonderful, highly rated book to discover the wonders of the world.  A good way to grasp continents, countries and the major landmarks and cultural highlights for each.  BUY IT HERE

3. Janod Magnetic USA Map: I've been through several USA Map puzzles and activities and I really think this Janod one is the best!  It is nice, heavy duty and magnetic.  I love that the individual state pieces are the right shape for their state (versus just a puzzle piece).  This whole map, assembled, can also be hung up without pieces falling off.  The only drawbacks is that Alaska isn't to scale.  Also, a few of the northern New England states are combined onto one piece. BUY IT HERE

4. The 50 States Activity Book: This activity book is a wonderful compliment to the 50 States Book-- definitely worth having!  It also includes a beautiful pull-out, full color poster of the USA, all the state flags as well as all of the presidents through 2016.  BUY IT HERE

5. Globe: I researched quite awhile for the right globe for our homeschool room and this Advantus Desktop Globe was the winner.  I have been more than happy with our purchase.  It is really a beautiful, high quality globe and a great value for the money.  The colors and bright, nice contrast to make it easily readable and mountain ranges are raised.  BUY IT HERE

6. Land of Nod Road Trip Soft Wall Map:  This is a really fun way to learn the states and serves as a great room decor piece as well!  The felt USA map comes with a set of velcro state names as well as a separate set of velcro state capitols.  In addition, there are several fun landmark pieces to put on the map as well.  Pieces like "I Live Here," the statue of liberty, etc. BUY IT HERE

7.  Me on the Map Book: This is a great book for little ones to begin to comprehend their place in the universe.  We don't just live in a house, but in a town, a city, a state, a country, a continent and a planet.  This is a great, little, first geography book for any little one.  BUY IT HERE

8. Alex Toys USA Map in the Tub:  I have always been a big proponent of incorporating learning into play time and this USA map puzzle for the bath is a great way to introduce the 50 States!  BUY IT HERE

9. MAPS Book: This is, by no means, a comprehensive atlas, but rather a wonderful collection of 52 beautiful world maps to pique a child's interest in the world around them and in geography-- especially for a child who already really likes maps!  There's also an accompaniment activity book that can be purchased separately!   BUY IT HERE

tis' the season for anatomy 

1.  Janod Body Magnetic Set: This is a favorite toy at our house and super useful in our homeschool room.  This set comes with cards in a variety of languages, but rest assured, English is included as well.  This is a wonderful learning tool for children to realize there's SO much going on inside their amazing, little bodies!  There are pieces to make both a boy and a girl, full skin bodies, skeleton, muscular/ circular system as well as organ systems.  This is a great learning tool!  I often buy this along with the Outside-In book as a gift! BUY IT HERE

2.  Outside-In Lift the Flaps Book: This book is an awesome way for kids to being to understand how magnificent their bodies truly are and how different body systems work together.  BUY IT HERE