Encouraging Building

MagnaTiles have always been the most played with toy in my home and daycare.  I’m amazed at the structures the kids build and as my kids get older they build even more creative ways and things I wouldn’t have thought of.  Recently I added something fun that has increased the building level even more.  Hexbug Nanos.  The kids adore them and will spend an hour or more building mazes and houses for them.  Having something that actually moves around your structure really changes the way they build and think about their buildings as opposed to the stationary toys they usually put in.

This is one of the blogs that first inspired me to get a couple Hexbugs with my son’s ToysRUs gift certificate which we hadn’t used yet.

I do recommend getting extra batteries as they get used up fast.  They look like real bugs as they run around the mazes and structures.  We have the V2 ones but climbing up only really works with the Hexbug play sets so the original ones are just as good for mazes and such.

This is the “house” Pumpkin 1 built for her Hexbug.

 

 

Our New Play Kitchen

We had a plastic Step 2 play kitchen that I bought second hand for our playroom but I’ve been trying to move toward more open ended toys and activities with a bit of a Waldorf touch.  The kids didn’t play with the Step 2 kitchen much and the cupboards and fridge were so small.  Kids love kitchen play because it’s something they see us grownups do every day.  It is important to get your children helping you in the real kitchen but I believe that imaginative play is important too.  I sold the play kitchen I had, it went quite quickly as Christmas was coming up and I hope it made another little child very happy.  Next I had to decide which kitchen to get.  At first I was thinking of getting a Kidkraft kitchen.

I really liked this one.  It had everything, even a little washing machine and would make a little house corner in the playroom.  But it did seen kinda small when you look at it in relation to that boy and it just seemed to be too much going on.  I wanted simpler, something that didn’t do everything yet was beautiful.  Then I found Elves and Angels.  It is a family owned company out of Maine that has been crafting natural wood products for 25 years.  I decided to go with Sylvie’s kitchen as I wanted something a little larger so it would last as my Pumpkins got older and taller but I wanted to see what the kids thought.  I showed 3 of my daycare children separately the two kitchens and asked them which they liked better.  The children were ages 3, 5 and 9.  I thought for sure they’d pick the KidKraft kitchen but they all were very definite that they liked the Elves and Angels kitchen best.

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Julianna at Elves and Angels was great to work with.  I was able to purchase from Canada and though shipping wasn’t cheap, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be.  And I got it at my door in just a week’s time.

I debated not getting the ice box but I’m really glad I did because Pumpkin 1 loves it and was trying to play with it as I put it together.

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The counter on the kitchen is just the right height, Pumpkin 1 who is 2 years old and a little tall for her age can easily play on it but there’s still room to grow.  I’m glad I purchased the larger kitchen as it has a little counter space and the shelves are lovely.

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It was super easy to put together.  I did it all myself with Pumpkin 2 watching from his high chair and Pumpkin 1 “helping”.  It took just over an hour to put the two together.  It’s made from Northern white pine with a linseed oil finish and formaldehyde-free Baltic birch plywood backing.  The quality is excellent and it’s so beautiful  It’s truly heirloom quality.  The only down side is it’s pine (they do have hardwood options for more money) so it will dent and scratch and the hinges snap back a little quickly but it’s not a big deal. I’m so happy with my purchase.  Now to save up for a doll house for Pumpkin 1’s 3rd birthday.

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Yes, she has a bow on her head, lol.

Yes, she has a bow on her head, lol.

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