June 17, 2008

Presents For the Big Kids

When I only had one child and one arriving soon, it seemed like a brilliant idea to get a little something special for the older child from the new baby. We got my oldest a metal Tonka dump truck from his new sister and the toy was definitely a winner. We still have it. It still gets played with and it is still memorable to the oldest as the present from his sister.

When the next new baby came along, I didn't do nearly so well. I got my son some drawing stuff (now all long since used up) and my daughter a baby doll that didn't last for some reason that I can't now remember. When the littlest arrived, he brought a book and a puzzle for his brother and nice rag dolls for his sisters. Those are all still around and being played with and used.

This time I have multiple dilemmas. First, it feels like we already have ever toy known to man and I want to get rid of most of them. Second, I'm just at a loss for what the older two really need or would especially enjoy that isn't too pricey. I have found presents for the youngest two. Perhaps not things that will last forever, but still things I know they will enjoy -- a nice baby doll for the three year old, who loves dolls of all kinds, and a big bucket of sand toys for the 1 1/2 year old who still even in the hottest weather would spend all day, every day out in the sand pile under the tree.

For the older two though -- I need help. I know the oldest would love Legos, but we aren't exactly hurting for Legos. He'd love a good book, and although we certainly have plenty of those around too, I don't know what he would especially enjoy. He reads so much and so fast that I would want to find something lasting that he would enjoy again and again.

With the five year old, a lot of the toys marketed to girls her age involve make-up or inappropriately dressed dolls that I will not be getting for her. She's starting to read a lot, but again -- what would be a real keeper of a book that she would enjoy now and later? Or what toy would she love for a long time?

Please leave me suggestions! I need help!


I got D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths when I was about the oldest boys age. I loved that book, I still have that book and I can't wait to share it with Squink. Most others who had the book when they were young remember it vividly (in a good way) as well.

Posted by: blair at June 17, 2008 11:43 AM

I might add that my brother used to love it too and I think he regrets that he never had his own copy.

Posted by: Blair at June 17, 2008 11:46 AM

Blair, that's a great book, but I think we already own it.

Posted by: Jordana at June 17, 2008 12:02 PM

I think he's old enough to enjoy Sounder or Where the Red Fern Grows or Tuck Everlasting or the Westing Game. Also less serious, but fun, Judy Blume's Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge. Has he already read them?

Posted by: Frazier at June 17, 2008 12:40 PM

Actually, I don't think he's read any of those. The only Judy Blume he's read came from his Aunt Mimi. :) I'm not sure he would like a book with an ending like Where the Red Fern Grows. I suspect that would really bug him.

Posted by: Jordana at June 17, 2008 12:45 PM

Can you ever have too many Legos? I happen to think he'd love an Indy set.

Along the D'Aulaire theme, I'm ordering the Jim Weiss storytelling CD of Greek Myths for this summer. I think there's a fairy tales CD for P. Perhaps hours of listening would last longer than a book.

Posted by: Meredith at June 17, 2008 01:03 PM

A site we recently discovered is the legoeducation.com. They have some neat mini-kits about simple machines.

Posted by: Jennifer at June 17, 2008 02:24 PM

Also on the D'Aulaire (which we love) theme, you might consider Kate McMullan's Myth-O-Mania series - reworkings of eight or nine Greek myths from Hades' point of view. The eldest Llama-ette found them quite enjoyable and read the whole seres three or four times.

Posted by: Robert the Llama Butcher at June 17, 2008 03:09 PM

Playmobil is usually a good investment

Posted by: Henrietta at June 18, 2008 01:48 AM

If he hasn't read The Westing Game, I stick with that as my #1 recommendation. Next up (and I know you liked this one): From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. No sad endings. Both deserve more than one read.

Posted by: Frazier at June 18, 2008 02:52 AM

I take it y'all have K'nex already?? That is my 7 1/2 and 5 1/2 yr olds' favorite building toy bar none.

Book idea for your oldest: any in the series by David Macauley on construction: Jon was given City but there is also Cathedral, Pyramid and a few others? they are great books. we have the hardback which is only about $12 on Amazon, but you can get paperback as well for less.

For your daughter, maybe paper dolls - with modest clothing of course!?! My 9 yr old daughter has a set of American Girl ones she loves, and received about 4 yrs ago now.

Or, the Jesus Storybook Bible, which my 5 1/2 yr old ADORES, but which my older two will also listen to happily at Bible Time, or a book like the Tale of the Three Trees. Also a winner with our whole family.

You may already have these, but a few of the larger volumes which are really child friendly but keepers in the sense that my olders love them still. these are great lit with amazing illustrations:
the full Winnie the Pooh volume
the full Babar Stories Volume
Large volume of The Wind in the Willows with illustrations by Kenneth Grahame.

Sorry this is so long, but maybe it will help!! Happy Shopping!!

Posted by: Tricia at June 18, 2008 12:08 PM

I loved my old View Master, but the laptop might have done away with that sort of fascination for the five-year-old.

Posted by: Janis Gore at June 18, 2008 06:29 PM

I am a new visitor to your blog! I do hope your newest baby comes quickly and you both flourish!

We are a book family - avid readers all. My children are just loving the "Bloodhounds Inc." book series by Bill Myers - they are funny, imaginative, and for once, the Dad in the story is treated with great respect and effectively shares his faith with his children in a real and practical way - which of course, they remember at all the right times. My husband is reading them out loud to the kids (though they could easily read them - he is having fun reading to them) and the laughter in our front room can be heard near and far. We got a few of them through amazon and some at our local Christian bookstore. There are 12 total, so it is nice to get something you can add to later.
Hope this helps!

Posted by: Heather at June 27, 2008 10:56 AM