As we announce our Top 10 PAL Picks, Holiday Gift Guide, I will be blogging about several of our winners to help you on your hunt for the best toys, games and books to give your kids and grandkids this upcoming season.
I just returned from such a fun week with some of my grandchildren–four under 4 years. The 3 1/2 year old twins are just at the age of being able to sustain attention for and enjoy a game, and make some art “projects.” When I was little my favorite Christmas gift was a box from my mom that said, “Sherry’s project.” It was filled with all the supplies to make something from knitting, to sewing, drawing or glueing! So when the kids kept asking to do a project, I was ready with a great kit filled with short construction projects and learning. Alex Toys “Ready, Set, Go!” series is a perfect “Sheshe (grandma) gift” and it easily fits in your carryon. (Just bring fewer clothes). I chose “Ready, Set, Dinos!” with 8 different dinosaur crafts. Each project has ample stickers for decoration before construction which make it fun. I did leave with a few stickers adhered to their kitchen floor. We started out making the stegosaurus, finished off with clothes pins clipped on his back for his boney plates, and the mommy dinosaur, with a fluffy pom pom for her belly and her huge egg. Then we made the apatosaurus finger puppet, again with ample stickers but now they were attached to our little friend’s fingernails for the dinosaur’s toe nails! On to the dino puppet which sparked, “Sheshe, let’s have a puppet show,” as I was led into the playroom where curtains were available. The simplest craft involved decorating large foam dinosaur feet and slipping then on top of their shoes. We tried to scare Daddy but were really cute and funny! The finished pterodactyl could fly, and we practiced saying “paleontologist” as we rubbed with our crayon to discover dinosaur bones and plants., while the kids begged to assemble the T-Rex skeleton. A few facts accompany each craft so I read to them as they were constructing.
The true test of an effective make-and-play project is that the kids kept returning to their finished dinosaurs for some play. The puppet was the favorite, easy to manipulate by a 3 year-old.