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automoblox

My Very Best Finds for Stocking Stuffers

For some reason, this year I just can’t stop coming up with stocking stuffer ideas.  Maybe it’s because I’m really trying to stick to my guns and pare down the number of gifts under the tree.  The one thing I didn’t set a hard and fast rule for were the stockings, so (of course) I’m on the verge of going totally overboard.

 

In an effort to curb my madness share the love, today I’m sharing my very favorite picks with you…
First up is the Kimochis Mini Bag of Mixed Feelings.  I was first introduced to the Kimochi line at an emotional coaching workshop and I really love the concept.  Basically, these little guys are a playful way to help kids recognize and express their feelings (see this post for more on how incredibly important this is).  Each bag is  includes one carabineer keychain and 12 mini feelings: Happy, Silly, Brave, Curious, Mad, Sad, Loved, Cranky, Sleepy, Hopeful, Sorry, Excited.  I plan to divvy mine up between the kids stockings.

 

We don’t have any of these yet (that will change after the 25th) but I’ve heard rave reviews.  From what I’m told, automoblox are one of those rare toys that can hold children’s attention for long stretches of time.  The fun is not only in pushing them around like regular cars, but also in taking them apart and switching around all their parts.

 

To that end, I hear it’s best to get 2 or 3 so you have lots of parts to play with.  Luckily, I also hear the kids prefer the more inexpensive mini versions.  There are a ton of models which you can purchase alone or in 3 packs.  They have colors suitable to girls and boys and I’d recommend throwing one in each kid’s stocking.

Go fish and Old Maid were some of my favorite games as a kid.  These Kids Classic Mini Playing Cards are adorable and the perfect size for slipping in a stocking (yet again, you could buy the pack and divide them amongst your brood).  It says they’re for ages 5 and up but I’m getting them now for my 3 year old because the only skill you need for the “Go Fish” game is color recognition and I know he’ll love it.

After our Make Like a Montessori Mama: Animal Activities post, I knew I needed to get C some small animal figurines as soon as possible.  A quick Amazon search revealed exactly what I was looking for – toobs.  Not only is the handy container the perfect shape for a stocking, there are a million themes to choose from.  Whether your little one are into horses, zoo babies, trains, pirates, dinosaurs,  North American Wildlife, or the arctic – there’s a Toob out there for them.  And at only $9/toob, they’re a steal!

Curious Chef makes a great line of real yet safe kitchen tools for kids.  My favorite are the nylon knives (that’s right, I’m advocating knives in the stocking this year) which allow kids to safely participate in their own food prep.  As an added bonus, you might even get them to eat some of those veggies they’ve been carefully chopping and peeling for the last hour.

 

Lacing cards are a great activity for building fine motor skills.  They’re also great to have in the car or to use in your busy bags.  The above construction and sea life sets can also be used for tracing and are only $6 – $8 each.

 

 

S is currently hating bath time (and I mean really hating it).  I’m hoping this fun waterbugs & net toy from Boonwill help.

Finally, we’ve been on the hunt for some new play doh toys.  This set looks like it would be the most stimulating.  Take everything out of the box and you can use all the individual pieces to completely fill the stocking.

And if you’d rather make something this year, kirtsy has a nice roundup of stocking DIYs from some of my favorite bloggers.

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Juliana December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Automoblox are big hits around here! Both my boys love them. We received one as a “big brother” gift when my daughter was born, and the two boys fought over it so much that we ended up purchasing a second one (exactly the same, since they are at that age where it has to be the.same.thing) to keep the peace. Brilliant! They both play with them quite a bit, and my almost-four-year-old can be entertained by it for some time.

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Crystal December 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Toobs are very cool. Great for traveling, playgrounds, beach, tub, etc. If you have an AC Moore or Michael’s store, you can use a coupon and get them for ~$4.00 AC Moore has a variety (space, trains, sea, trees, horses, dogs, airplanes, dinosaurs, etc.) and often has them on sale for at least 40% off.

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The MOB December 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Automoblox are awesome. My oldest (3 yr) loves them and he will play with them for quite a while. They do have lots of small pieces, so you have to keep them away from younger siblings, which is always a challenge! I am getting some Automoblox for my nephew this year.

If you like Automoblox, you would like Zoomorphs as well. Similiar concept, but animals with more options for creativity. We have the dinosaurs and safari set and love them!

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Alicia C. December 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Thank you! I just got my 3 y.o. one of the Curious Chef knives. He’s going to LOVE it!

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jennifer e December 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

we have a bunch of kimochis (bought from a deal site… don’t remember which). my kids don’t play with them much but they are cute. we also have the boon bath toy and it’s used at every bath time. they’re so much easier to clean too. no more worrying about gross stuff growing inside like in rubber duckies.

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jennifer e December 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm

tegu magnetic blocks are awesome too. they’re not very cheap but they’re great to take along on-the-go. both my kids love playing with them.

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Becky December 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Do you have a link for the playdough set? Thanks so much for the other ideas!

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Tenley December 8, 2011 at 3:17 am

Ahh thank you for reminding me I need to get Lily a few playdough accessories…

Another good one is Plan Toys kaleidescope! I’ve added it to my list. :]

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Nicole Manier December 10, 2011 at 5:05 am

Thank you so much for the great ideas! I saw this post in the morning and went right to Amazon to order the Automoblox for my almost 4 year old. I already got them this morning! I can’t wait till Christmas. Love your ideas!

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