For the past couple of years, per request, I have done my best to create some gift idea lists. This list includes both new ideas, and those I have shared in the past. Many of the links are Amazon affiliate links, and it is a real gift to us when you shop Amazon through those links, as we earn a small percentage when you do. Thank you so much!
For the kids:
We bought Job this bucket swing for his birthday, and we are very pleased with it!
Last year, his godparents gave him this pop up peg people toy and he still loves it! There is a fire truck version that is super cute! This Sun Sorter puzzle is very pretty, and popular with my little ones. And I also really like this Hape First Shapes Puzzle and this little cottage puzzle.
Silas received this Schwinn Kid’s Balance Bike for his third birthday, and absolutely loved it. We took it to every baseball game, and he also rode around the yard on it. This year, we bought him a small regular bike without training wheels and he was able to ride it almost immediately, having learned to balance on the balance bike. I highly recommend them!
I think that Keva maple planks are the single most played with toys that we own, and I say this having had them for over five years. I can’t say enough good things about these very simple blocks that appeal to a very wide range of ages. The ones that I linked to are actually made in the U.S.!
A close second would be wooden train tracks and trains. I don’t have the set that I linked to here, but they look like a really good value. I bought all of ours about ten years ago when Seth was a toddler. Now Silas is playing with them and the older boys will still sit down and build tracks as well.
Pattern blocks are really popular with my kids. We have had this set of Parqeutry blocks since Seth was preschool age, and each child since him has loved it.
If I had to name the item most played with by my girls it would have to be play silks. They are always in use it seems.
Silas recently spent his long saved birthday money on this little crossbow after playing with it at a friend’s house. It is very well made, and he is having a lot of fun with it.
I like these beeswax crayons that seem to be holding up better than other (more expensive) beeswax stick crayons I have tried, although the sturdiest beeswax crayons for younger kids are the Stockmar blocks.
This screw block activity set is great for preschool aged kids. Silas really likes it.
Orchard is probably my favorite game to play with kids 9(ish) and under. My older boys more recently have been loving Ticket To Ride. Favorite card games include Art Close Up cards, Rat-A-Tat-Cat, and Mille Bornes. Shut the Box has seen lots of play time over the years as well.
My little girls love these Little House Paper Dolls.
I bought Jonny this Bocce Set for his birthday and he and the boys love playing together.
When the weather is cold, my older boys typically get interested in coin roll hunting. Seth likes to search through nickels the most, the other two like pennies. Boxes of coins would make great gifts, especially if you were already planning on giving money to the recipient.
My older boys all enjoy metal detecting and we highly recommend the Garrett – ACE 250.
Job rides around on his Wheely Bug everyday!
If you are looking for handmade leather toys, Made by Alejandro is offering 10% off your order today using the coupon code SmallThings2015.
Gifts for adults (and big kids):
I recently bought myself The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection on DVD, because these are comforting movies that I will watch more than once. Good for winter evenings!
I use these Organic Cotton Mesh Bags to hang onions and garlic in my pantry. They are high quality.
While Jonny and I still don’t regularly carry cell phones, I did purchase an Apple iPad mini earlier this year (I guess the model I purchased is outdated now.) I use it for listening to music, looking up recipes, and Instagram. I’m trying to learn more about apps and how to use them, especially those for prayers. I’m just a real old lady in this department, though. Too much technology stresses me out! I try to keep it put away most of the time, because I don’t like feeling tied to a screen, but it has proven itself to be a very useful tool, and I don’t regret purchasing it. I bought this cover to protect it.
I know I have mentioned it before, but if you know any gardeners this Nejiri Gama Hoe is the best little garden hoe! Prices really fluctuate on Amazon, but I just ordered myself a new one for 8 dollars! I have been using (and losing) these for many years.
Seth received this USB Digital Microscope Magnifier Video Camera for his birthday, and uses it all the time to magnify and photograph small fossils. He really likes it.
Jonny bought a Korg Kaossilator for himself last year (birthday, I think?), and he absolutely loves it. I don’t quite understand what it is, but he uses it to make music. The older kids use it as well, and they all have a lot of fun with it.
I finally bought a Hobby Floor Lamp to use while cross stitching or doing other crafts that need a little extra light.
I have the midsize wooden drying rack from Homestead Drying Racks and absolutely love it. Ours is in daily use, mainly for drying wool items and other things that don’t go in the dryer. It is really well made and sturdy. Silas climbs on it like a jungle gym. My only problem is that even with the midsize rack, I don’t have a great place to store it, because it is really big!
A dehydrator! Here’s a little excerpt from an older blog post: I sometimes get a little fixated on a specific food, usually something that someone else has cooked and shared with me. That happened recently when my friend Sarah brought me a jar of cranberry granola. And of course it wasn’t ordinary granola. It was made with lacto fermented cranberry relish and then dehydrated. So it’s not like I could just throw some together myself. There was special equipment and time involved. I thought about it for a few days, and then I decided that I had to order the “special equipment” myself. I ordered a Pickl-It jar to make the cranberry relish in, and a dehydrator.
Living in a small house with lots of people, I love this white noise machine.
This is the perfect time of year to give the One Line a Day Journal.
Though I was skeptical at first, I found my Kindle Paperwhite to be really useful, especially when nursing the baby at night. Sadly, mine appears to have been stolen out of my purse at a store earlier this week. (Update to this: I NEVER read on my Kindle anymore, though it was great when I was nursing at night and I sometimes use it now to light my paperback book when I can’t find a book light. )
Jonny says that the best gift I’ve ever bought for him is this Leatherman.
For kids (and adults!) who like to collect things, and would like an inexpensive way to display them, I recommend riker mounts. This is what we store our nicest shark’s teeth in along with some of our other fossils. We order ours here.
For the knitter:
I’ll work on an updated book list this week!