**The second installment in our gift giving guides for The 2016 holiday season.
The holidays are right around the corner. Which, for me, also means my children’s birthdays are right around the corner. Since I have a November birthday myself, I know the pain of having a birthday so close to Christmas. As a parent, I would prefer if they had a summer birthday to cut down on the amount of new video games and toys that clutter up my house and fuzz up my kids’ minds, but it is what it is so I have to get creative. Lakeshore Learning is one of my favorite places to shop for their gifts because they are always so much fun, and they provide an educational aspect that is lacking in so many other areas. This year the kids were lucky enough that they got to try out two games BEFORE their birthdays and Christmas, and I am lucky enough that the toys are educational, fun, and can be enjoyed without a screen!
Remember that game where you try to push a whole bunch of shapes on the tray before it pops up and scares the living daylights out of you? You knew it was coming….but you jumped nonetheless. Survive the Quake Engineering set is an interesting combination of the thrill of that game plus the skill required for an intense game of Jenga. Plus, there isn’t a set way to “win”; that is up to how many patterns and designs you can come up with. You can start small, maybe building a small barn and testing it with an earthquake level of 1. Or you can start at the hard side with a level 5 earthquake and a skyrise.
My kids love it, especially when it topples over and they say “TIIIIMBERRRR”. They spend hours trying to figure out the best way to build something that will withstand the category 5 earthquake. Apparently my husband loves it, too, since I catch him playing with it when the kids aren’t. (I may or may not play it myself. And I may or may not be the best engineer who refuses to divulge my secrets). The kit also comes with a book that explains earthquakes so when I don’t have the answers to their questions I can look it up and pretend like I did.
This has become my new “go-to” birthday present gift for all of my daughter’s friends. Who doesn’t love making cute little things out of clay? My daughter and I love it! The charms are super cute…they are also fun to make and easy to customize and they allow plenty of time to chat and giggle while we have some fun. My daughter’s favorite part is that she gets to actually wear the charms to school and show them off to her friends.
The age range for this kit is suggested at 4-11 years, but making the charms is a bit difficult-especially if your kiddo is looking at the picture and wants hers to look the exact same. Fear not, with a bit of parental help it can be done, but it does take a bit more concentration than my daughter had at 4 years old. My daughter loves showing off her charm bracelet that she made to all of her friends, and her best friend wants one so they can make ‘bff’ charms!
You can find these-and a ton of other great educational toys- at Lakeshorelearning.com.
*I received these toys to help me write an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Vicki Little is a freelance writer with two kids that give her plenty to write about on her own blog Living In Moments. She shares her experiences of being a Christian mom raising an ADHD son that is destined to be a lawyer with his negotiation skills and a daughter that has a heart of gold and may hold the world record for a child that has a lot to say. She is also a regular contributor to The Mother List.