Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Gifts: Hit or Miss

Christmas is in full swing and we are full of holiday cheer in my house. From decorating a tree just for Lawyer upstairs to Lawyer break-dancing to Frank Sinatra Christmas classics, the fun keeps going on and on. I thought it would be fun to show how and why I choose the items (I truly dislike the word "toys" - or at least today's toy-makers perversion of the word) I do for Lawyer, the 4-year-old boy in our household.

Lawyer definitely doesn't NEED anything and I'm not a toy person, per se, so I put plenty of thought into what I would declare as old-fashioned, classic or multi-sensory for Lawyer. I love the classic toys that Lawyer does have since they allow for an imagination, thought-provocation, hands-on manipulation and fun of all kinds. One such "classic" are Lincoln Logs. Oh, how I love this construction toy.
Did you know that the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect of both the Arts and Crafts period and in our American history, created the logs after being inspired by a building in Tokyo? They have been around for almost 100 years and there is something to be said about a toy that can last a century in the fickle world of toy-making and toy-selling.

Anyhow, my point is this: I like sensorial, imaginative, battery-less, educational "toys" for Lawyer to both play with and learn from. I plan on doing posts on the different items I purchased for him and explaining the analytical reasoning for the purchase. Wait, did that even make any sense? Never mind, don't listen to me, I know not what I say.

This bug discovery kit has real bugs encased in clear, acrylic blocks. I think it will be a real winner with Lawyer, especially since you can look at both the tops, bottoms, sides, heads, rears, etc. of each and every bug. The few things I'm not fond of are the cheap, plastic magnifying glass (I plan on purchasing a real one for Lawyer's stocking) and the ridiculous storage container the bug blocks came in (a plastic bag, or better yet, a reusable canvas bag would have sufficed for me). I'm sure most of my money for this item went to pay for the container and the colorful packaging but seeing as I have yet to catch bugs in my yard, put them to their death in a gas chamber of bits of cardboard doused with rubbing alcohol (that's how I used to kill bugs for my biology bug projects anyway) and then put them in a plastic-y, see-through grave of acrylic, I doled out my money for this item.

You can see the detail of the bugs here a bit better but my picture is a tad on the dark side so you can't get the full-effect of seeing the hairs on the wasp's thorax. What? Don't know what a thorax is? Look it up and be enlightened by the wonderful world of entomology. Huh? You don't know what entomology is? Good grief people, get a set of encyclopedias and look it up...and I don't want to hear the excuse that nobody even owns physical sets of encyclopedias anymore. Although, Santa Claus did bring me a fabulous set for my 6th Christmas (it was at the top of my Christmas list) and they were a beautiful shade of 80's maroon tinged with gold. Anyhow, I digress.

These blocks could be used for bug identification (Montessori is very big into this), a matching game or even to learn about the different parts of an insect.

Kids LOVE "real" things to play with, thus the reason I'm purchasing a real magnifying glass for him to use and the real bug blocks. And seeing as I'm originally from Arkansas, I know that "my people" LOVE to have the real deal stuffed and placed oh-so-carefully on their mantle to display the one that "didn't get away". This particular item is right up my Arkansas-roots alley. Plus I'm a science nerd - that probably explains more than enough about me.

If you are interested in this bug discovery kit, you can purchase it

Ooh, and if you REALLY are into science, this online store is AWESOME! I can't wait to buy a few experiments from there for Lawyer.

1 comment:

TRENDY said...

Ok I've decided that if you get tired of selling T-shirts for a living you could easily move right into writing your own book, being a stand up comic, have your own cooking show, go into landscaping or even construction. You have lots to fall back on! And knowing how much you LOVE all of that science stuff it doesn't surprise me that Lawyer loves it too! What some don't know about your wonderful Christmas gift Santa left you at 6yrs old (your cherished encyclopedias, which you could also spell at 6) is that the "S" was worn thin after you studied and looked at the snake section your entire life! What 6 year old runs downstairs on Christmas morning screaming, "Santa remembered, he brought me my encyclopedias". Only you! I'm smiling just remembering back! Mom