In which Brianna selects a few toys to help kids celebrate their family's military service. This article contains affiliate links. By shopping with these links, you're helping to support Busy Nest News. Thanks!
As we’ve mentioned before (and will again in the coming weeks), April is the Month of the Military Child. Military kids sometimes have a pretty tough gig. We’ll talk more about those specific challenges in other articles, but today we’re looking at something fun: toys! Military kids are still kids, and so most of the toys they want will be the same toys every other kid in America wants. However, I believe there are some toys that will particularly resonate with their situation. I’ve rounded up a few fun toys to help military kids understand and celebrate their family’s service. Let’s get started!
In which Brianna reviews her daughter's art easel. No affiliate links this time, but we thank you for your support all the same. Enjoy!
Crayola Magnetic-Double Sided Artist Easel
Monkey loves to draw. She will attempt to draw with any implement she can get her hands on. And she will do this drawing on the first flat surface she comes across. Far too often the first surface she finds is a wall. We rent right now, and for some reason the places we rent come painted with entirely flat paint. This is not a semi-gloss, or a wipeable matte. No, flat and absorbent is what we’re working with. Nothing washes off these walls. Just, nothing. So we were pretty thrilled when Monkey was gifted a Crayola easel this past Christmas.
The Magnetic Double Sided Artist Easel by Crayola has a beautiful teal frame. So many kids’ easels come in garish shades of primary colors, but everyone in our family enjoys this bright blue shade, so that’s pretty neat. One side of the easel is a white dry-erase board, and the other is a black chalkboard. Both sides have a yellow clip at the top, for holding a paper in place for other art endeavors. The way the legs are positioned, you can only use one side at a time. Setup of the easel was fairly simple, but I don’t think we could say it was easy. It took some force to snap all the pieces in place to construct the base. There were no screws, pegs, tacks, Allen wrenches or other hardware involved, though, so that is definitely a big plus!
In which Ariel admits a rookie parenting mistake and a major parenting win: the Cook's Corner Play Kitchen from Melissa and Doug. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. We truly appreciate your continued support!
Cook's Corner Wooden Pretend Play Kitchen from Melissa & Doug
I was on the fence about purchasing a play kitchen. Did I have one as a kid? Yes. Did I love mine as a kid? Absolutely. But – and it’s a big but – I live in a small apartment at the moment. Where was I going to put it? So when Nana Bear and Aunt Titi offered to buy one for Christmas my first question was “But where is it going to go?” At Nana’s house of course! With that crisis averted, my next question was “Oh boy. Oh boy! Which one?” Melissa and Doug’s Cook's Corner Wooden Pretend Play Toy Kitchen.
In which Brianna describes an app that has captivated and educated her daughter. This article contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links.
Endless Alphabet by Orginiator
There are loads of apps and games out there for kids. A lot of them are…not great. At best, they’re mindless and repetitive. At worst they can be harmful. There are dress-up games with questionable story lines and bizarre let-the-toddler-perform-a-c-section games. Then there are the ads for things that have nothing to do with the game you’re in. We don’t let Monkey play endlessly with her tablet, but it does have its uses, especially for long car rides. To avoid all the pitfalls mentioned above, I’ve carefully curated a collection of games and apps for Monkey’s tablet. This is about one of her favorites, Endless Alphabet.
In which Ariel goes on and on (and on) about how awesome Lego's Duplos are. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News going strong. Thank you for your continued support!
Duplo: Everyone's Favorite Building Block
Duplos! Where do I even start?! They are everyone’s favorite building block for a reason. Many reasons in fact. For those unfamiliar with Duplos, they are Legos more robust cousin. Legos - the tiny building blocks always featured in parental editions of the floor is lava videos on youtube. And yes – if you haven’t experienced it – stepping on Legos is roughly equivalent to walking across a field of hot coals. Are you picturing a Lego? Enlarge that image to five times it’s normal size. Now you are picturing a Duplo. Duplos are designed to be the ideal building material for young hands still learning fine motor skills. Also, they are too large to be swallowed. Though I swear Bean tests this every time she plays with them.
We've found board games for kids under three! Are they any fun? Can littles really follow the instructions and have a good time? Read on to learn Brianna and Monkey's experience with one of these introductory games. This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of these links to buy the game, we get paid, and that helps keep Busy Nest News running. Thanks!
Monkey Around game
We are a family of gamers. Monkey’s daddy grew up playing his friends’ GameBoys, and later sharing consoles with his siblings. While he was rescuing princesses, I was learning to play strategy games from around the world, restoring the brain of a mad scientist, and apprehending Carmen Sandiego (I vow that when I’m wealthy, I will pool my resources with others who grew up being called “Gumshoe,” and together we will give a new generation a chance to prove their smarts and win an Encyclopedia Britannica of their very own! Or, a Macintosh computer(?) whatever the contemporary equivalent is.)
Some of our greatest friendships were forged over tabletop battles. Gaming can be a fun, social activity, even for the naturally hermitty, like us. So we couldn’t wait to start playing games with Monkey. But all of our favorites are best enjoyed by someone over three or five. Even educational games are aimed at preschoolers, not two year olds. I figured we’d just have to resign ourselves to not playing any tabletop games with Monkey for a couple more years. Then, Monkey’s grandma came through with this delightful game that even a two year old can play.
Or "Brianna loves the Love Monster and everything that goes with it!" Read why this series is a favorite, and meet the not-at-all scary monster that will steal your heart, too. This post contains affiliate links. If you use one of these links to buy the products mentioned, we get paid, and that helps keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks!
Love Monster, by Rachel Bright
Some books manage to be sweet, adorable, silly, and profound, all at once. It’s a lot to ask of 32 pages, but when you find a book like that, you find that you cherish it and want to share it with the world.
In which Ariel delights in Boon's whimsical bath toys. This post contains affiliate links. By using them you help keep Busy Nest News up and running. Thank you for you support!
Boon's Jellies, Cogs and Pipes
Bean is an aquatic baby. She is happiest surrounded by water. Whether she is in the pool, the bath, the shower or even the occasional puddle – it doesn’t matter – she is in her element! So, here in the Bean household, we are serious about bath toys. Some of our favorites are made by Boon. Boon makes innovative and interesting products, but they excel when it comes to bath time fun! In particular, we love Boon’s Jellies, Cogs and Pipes.
In which Ariel expounds upon the Bilibo by Moluk - a strange looking toy with unlimited potential! This post contains affiliate links by using them you are helping to keep Busy Nest News up and running.
Bilibo by Moluk
In an ideal world every toy that enters my house would be sleek, minimalist, wooden and, preferably, not make noise – unless it is a musical instrument! But that isn’t realistic. Other people love my child and want what they think is best for her too. And while I would love to unleash my controlling tendencies- “Bring out the toy police! No Barbie for you!”- that isn’t healthy for me or Bean.
I can only reasonably control what toys I purchase. This Christmas I chose Moluk – the Bilibo to be exact. Sleek and minimalist? Check. Wooden? Nah. But I am willing to overlook that for a toy this incredible.
In which Brianna endeavors to acquaint those new to snowy regions with the essential tools for winter wonder enjoyment. This post will contain some affiliate and non-affiliate links, but it's all great. If you make a purchase using an affiliate link, we get money from that sale, which helps keep Busy Nest News going. Thanks!
Greetings, snow newbie! If this is your first winter playing in the snow with kiddos, you are in for some fun!
Good news! If you’ve ever brought toys to the beach, you are in luck. Snow isn’t all that different. That is, if it’s the sticky kind of snow. Some snow is very soft, and powdery. That snow is beautiful, but it is difficult to really play with. You need dense, wet snow. How do you know if the snow is good for packing? Try making a simple snowball in your (gloved) hands. If it sticks together and forms a decent ball, it’s ready.
Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
Let's keep in touch!