Blocks, Puzzles & Games
There are tons of benefits that come from playing with blocks and puzzles. They promote imaginative play, creative expression, experimentation, problem solving, building an awareness of space and shapes, improving fine motor skills, etc. All this to say, a good puzzle or set of Legos is as worthwhile a purchase as it gets when it comes to kids’ play.
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I Never Forget a Face memory game $16
A fun memory game in which kids can match the smiling faces of 24 children from countries all over the world.
Fisher-Price Food Truck $75
James sees me cooking all the time so naturally he loves having a kitchen of his own. He got this for Christmas last year and has enjoyed it so much that I sent it to my best friend’s daughter on her birthday.
Musical Instruments Set $35
We as parents may regret getting these when we’re on hour ten of tambourine jangling, but the kiddos will be so happy it’ll be worth it.
I firmly believe there’s no such thing as too many art supplies when it comes to kids’ activities (even better if they’re washable and mess-free!). These are some favorites:
Aquadoodle Mat $24.99
We have a dozen or so Jellycat stuffies for James and Levi and they’re all as soft and cute as can be. In fact, James’ best friend might be this Jellycat bear that he creatively named Teddy Bear.
Hopscotch Play Mat $39.99
I love the idea of bringing the classic playground game inside.
Little Tikes Basketball Hoop $31.99
We have a basketball hoop in our driveway that Daniel and James use all the time, but this mini version is perfect for indoor play (especially during the long months of winter).
Little Tikes Trampoline $56
So many fellow parents recommended this mini trampoline to us—and it has proved to be a fantastic buy. James jumps on it (and gets a little of his neverending energy out) every day.
There are about a million great children’s books that I could recommend, but this year I’m focused on books with stories that center BIPOC and women.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
Get to know celebrated Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—in the first picture book about her life—as she proves that disagreeing does not make you disagreeable!
I Am Every Good Thing
The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through—as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you—and shows you—who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!
The Girl and the Wolf
While picking berries with her mother, a little girl wanders too far into the woods. When she realizes she is lost, she begins to panic. A large grey wolf makes a sudden appearance between some distant trees. Using his sense of smell, he determines where she came from and decides to help her. Through a series of questions from the wolf, the little girl realizes she had the knowledge and skill to navigate herself—she just needed to remember that those abilities were there all along.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
This beautifully illustrated board book edition of instant bestseller Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History showcases women who changed the world and is the perfect goodnight book to inspire big dreams.
Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History
Author-illustrator Vashti Harrison shines a bold, joyous light on black men through history in this #1 New York Times bestseller. An important book for readers of all ages.
The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story
Kanzi’s family has moved from Egypt to America, and on her first day in a new school, what she wants more than anything is to fit in. Maybe that’s why she forgets to take the kofta sandwich her mother has made for her lunch, but that backfires when Mama shows up at school with the sandwich. Mama wears a hijab and calls her daughter Habibti (dear one). When she leaves, the teasing starts. That night, Kanzi wraps herself in the beautiful Arabic quilt her teita (grandma) in Cairo gave her and writes a poem in Arabic about the quilt. Next day her teacher sees the poem and gets the entire class excited about creating a “quilt” (a paper collage) of student names in Arabic. In the end, Kanzi’s most treasured reminder of her old home provides a pathway for acceptance in her new one.
Rockabye Plush Rocking Horses $100+
My bff Sabrina gave this unique rocking horse to James on his first birthday and he loves it. It’s soft, cute, and even plays music.
Damhorst Toys name stools $80
These customizable, solid-wood name stools will come in handy and last forever.
Kids Fire Tablet $139
This 8-inch tablet with a built-in parental controls and a kid-proof case can provide your kiddo a mix of entertainment and education, with access to thousands of books, games, shows, apps, and more.