Sunday, July 27, 2014

Munchkin is turning 3! (and Gift Guide)

Munchkin turns 3 soon and we are so excited to celebrate his birthday! He's getting to the age where he understands that a holiday or party is coming up and Bean has been reminding him nearly daily that it's going to be his birthday soon and that he will be 3. He is great with numbers and knows that he is 2 currently, so every time she mentions that he will be 3, he reminds her that he's not yet. "No, I'm two!" It is really cute.

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In anticipation of his birthday, we went over what themes we could work with. What he love most (currently) is Mickey Mouse and Vehicles. We had a Thomas the Train themed birthday for him last year, so we decided to go with Mickey Mouse this year, so we wouldn't have two vehicle themed birthdays in a row. And not to mention, he is obsessed with Mickey Mouse and will be positively thrilled to be surrounded by Mickey Mouse stuff all day. :)

This will also be the first year that I make small gifts for the children to go along with their goodie bags. Last year I had no idea what to make (I admit I am not a fan of Thomas, so I was stumped), but this year I had a clear idea of what I wanted to make. If we were going to have a Mickey Mouse themed party, then all the kids needed to have their own Mickey Mouse ears! And if everything goes according to plan, they will also have a set of white Mickey Mouse gloves too! Or maybe only Munchkin will. We'll see how it goes. Munchkin is obsessed with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, so I really wanted to add something to symbolize Toodles. I'll let you know if I end up making anything!

SO easy to make!

I'll provide the tutorials on how to make your own felt Mickey Mouse ears and fleece Mickey Mouse gloves in an upcoming post. For now I wanted to share the gifts we bought for Munchkin and why. Mainly I wanted to purchase educational gifts that he could play with, but could also be incorporated into our homeschool lessons. The majority of the gifts I chose for Munchkin were purchased at Kohl's, although I have provided affiliate links to Amazon because the prices are lower.

We decided on picking up some pattern blocks. At the time, we only had our felt set and our jumbo set (Parquetry Blocks from Learning Resources). I choose Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards and Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Magnetic Pattern Blocks Set. This way there are two sets that can be used differently. Munchkin loves creative play, so I know he will enjoy these! The magnetic set will also be perfect for traveling (the picture below shows it in the bag it stores easily in)! We also chose the Melissa and Doug sets because they are wooden and durable, but also because I was making the purchase at Kohl's and that was what was available. Otherwise I might have opted for the Learning Resources Pattern Block Activity Pack, which comes with many more pattern design cards.

We also purchased the Melissa & Doug Deluxe Vehicles in a Box Jigsaw Puzzles because this set comes with 8 small wooden puzzles, that I know Munchkin will not get bored with. There is also a wooden box that the puzzles fit neatly into, so it will make the puzzles easier to clean up and store. We have several puzzles that he loves, but only one features any vehicles. The wooden puzzles are a little bit harder to use, but they are durable and won't fall apart the way cardboard puzzles do. Over time the pieces will become easier to use.

We purchased the Discovery Kids Activity World Map and Discovery Kids ABC's Fabric Play Set to hang on the wall in the children's learning area. We don't own too many posters, just a set of Alphabet letters and Numbers 1-20. So these will make a great addition! Both sets are made of fabric and come with several pieces that can be moved around and played with. This will be like having a huge felt board! These will be used for geography and literacy lessons, but they will also be there whenever learning strikes his fancy. I'm fairly certain the World Map will be his favorite of the two, because there are several animals for him to move around. This set comes with 76 velcro pieces for animals, bodies of water, countries and landmarks. I really hope Discovery Kids will make a Numbers and USA fabric play set. :)

One thing my kids also love to do is play outside. What child doesn't? Because they play with a lot of the neighborhood kids who are older, they have learned the basics of a few games and have decided they really like basketball and soccer (football for the rest of the world). We bought him a medium-size basketball and a Franklin Sports Night Lightning Soccer Ball. We opted for the smaller basketball because Munchkin is little and struggles to throw and dribble a regular size basketball. This smaller basketball will definitely be better suited for someone his size. We chose that particular soccer ball because it is made of super sturdy materials, is perfect for any season, AND it glows in the dark. How cool is that? That means we will likely stay up late one night to have a night time picnic at the park, star gaze and play soccer! The only difference is that he chose a purple and green soccer ball.

Along with these gifts, he will also receive some clothes and a lot of books! Many of the books are Mickey Mouse or Little Critter. The Little Critter books are from the current Kohl's Cares Charity set. We check each month to see what the books are and usually pick them up. Not only do these books support great causes, but the books themselves are amazing! Each only costs $5 and many of our favorite books come from the Kohl's Cares line. In particular, the Skippyjon Jones, Llama Llama, The Pout Pout Fish and Winnie the Pooh stories are well-loved. Usually there is a matching stuffed animal available to go with the books, which can make story time even more fun!

I really think he will love all of his gifts! I'm also happy to have chosen durable gifts that will last years and will hopefully inspire many hours of fun! 

What gifts did you give to your 3 year old for their birthday? Let me know in the comments!
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