Stocking Stuffers for a 3-Year-Old

I keep an eye out all year long for little gifts for my boys, which get used for birthdays or are held over until Christmas as stocking stuffers. I try not to buy stuff that is too age-specific, since they may grow out of it too early. Come December, stores are filled with so many larger gift items, it can sometimes be difficult to find stocking stuffers. Plus, I hate shopping in December! So, here’s a look into what my 3-year-old son is getting in his stocking this year! I try to do thing somewhat in parallel between brothers, so some things are similar (but never exactly alike) to the 6-year-old stocking!

Stocking stuffers 3

  1. DJ Mixer – the Scratch Box is our fun novelty gift this year. Though not exactly like the one I found, it mixes up pre-recorded or recorded music
  2. Lego Kits – like the Lego Creator series, or Mixels, are super small Lego sets, perfect for a stocking! You often find these end-of-aisle in stores like Walmart. This year, I didn’t get Lego, but instead a Mega Bloks set, since the Hot Wheels was a perfect fit for my boys!
  3. Novelty Toys or Candy – I like to throw in a small toy or candy toy, just to be fun. This year I found some light saber candies, and many options exist including this M&M version
  4. Super Tubes Science Kit – these little science experiments in a bottle are perfect for the stocking! Lots of options to choose from. In the past, we’ve had other sicence-y things such as a dinosaur egg dig, growing creatures or fake snow
  5. Star Wars Pez – or other novelty pez dispenser. Who can resist these?!
  6. Gummies Game Book – since big brother is getting the gum book, I thought the gummies life safer book would be more appropriate for age 3!
  7. Minifig or squish figure – this would be depending on age. Damien doesn’t love Lego as much yet, but there are many “minifig” grab bag type products. We found some cute Paw Patrol ones!

See also my Stocking Stuffers for a 6 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 5 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 4 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 1 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 2 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for Men, and a Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her.

Stocking Stuffers for a 6-Year-Old

I keep an eye out all year long for little gifts for my boys, which get used for birthdays or are held over until Christmas as stocking stuffers. I try not to buy stuff that is too age-specific, since they may grow out of it too early. Come December, stores are filled with so many larger gift items, it can sometimes be difficult to find stocking stuffers. Plus, I hate shopping in December! So, here’s a look into what my 6-year-old son is getting in his stocking this year!

Stocking stuffers 6

  1. Lego Minifugres – you can never go wrong with a minifig! Specialty toy stores, or shopping online, are your best bets to find the widest variety in which minifig series you can buy from
  2. Lego Kits – like the Lego Creator series, or Mixels, are super small Lego sets, perfect for a stocking! You often find these end-of-aisle in stores like Walmart. This year, I didn’t get Lego, but instead a Mega Bloks set, since the Hot Wheels was a perfect fit for my boys!
  3. Last Mouse Lost – is a super quick game we recently discovered. Made of silicone, you pop the bubbles to take your turn, filling up one or more bubbles per line. If you’re stuck with the last bubble on your turn, you lose. Just flip over to restart. It’s flexible enough to keep in the car or a purse!
  4. Novelty Toys or Candy – I like to throw in a small toy or candy toy, just to be fun. This year I found some light saber candies, and many options exist including this M&M version
  5. A book from a series – we read a lot of book series’, so I often have a drawer of books I’ve purchased from Scholastic that I haven’t yet given the boys. Too many books at once and they don’t read them! So, for Christmas I have a few to choose from, but I’m leaning toward one of our Magic School Bus books. Anything small and flexible is perfect for a stocking!
  6. Super Tubes Science Kit – these little science experiments in a bottle are perfect for the stocking! Lots of options to choose from. In the past, we’ve had other sicence-y things such as a dinosaur egg dig, growing creatures or fake snow
  7. Star Wars Pez – or other novelty pez dispenser. Who can resist these?!
  8. Hubba Bubba Fun Book – though I don’t like to fill the stocking with junk, there is inevitably some candy and chocolate! Aiden is learning how to blow bubbles with gum, so this cute Hubba Bubba Fun Book was right up our alley! Plus, it comes with a fold-out game board!

See also my Stocking Stuffers for a 5 Year OldStocking Stuffers for a 4 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for a 1 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for a 2 Year Old, Stocking Stuffers for Men, and a Guys’ Guide to Stocking Stuffers for Her.

iPhone and iPad Apps for a 5 Year Old

When we went to Hawaii in January, I spent a while loading up our iPads with apps geared toward each child. Since we have two iPads, we were able to specify the video content and apps on each iPad to cater to the age and interests of each child. My 5.5 year old, Aiden, rarely plays on the iPad. When given “screen” time, he almost always chooses to watch tv. Since he doesn’t get much screen time to begin with, gaming isn’t a mainstay for us. 

With that said, flying at night with two boys unlikely to sleep, I was prepared. I checked out ‘Best of’ lists, I browsed reviews, I put together quite a lot of apps for my boys to test. In the end, several apps were a bust, while others were clear winners. Some apps required a lot of parental involvement to click through screens or explain, so those were a bust from my perspective, at least for air travel.

Ipad apps aiden

Top iPad Apps / iPhone Apps Decided By My 5-Year Old

Aiden gravitated toward just a small selection of apps, which he played almost exclusively on the plane ride there and back (instead of watching tv). His app preferences lean toward puzzle-based games right now (things that are challenging) vs just zone-out games (like racing cars or trains). 

  1. Pettson’s Inventions – this app kept him occupied for hours and was the most engrossing app he’s ever played. He was fascinated with trying to put the machinery together, though sometimes it did cause frustration. In the end, he completed the whole game. 
  2. DragonBox Algebra – this is a math-based app that is more game than anything, but it does secretly teach the basics of algebra, and I’m all for that. Aiden completed quite a number of levels in this recently!
  3. Dots / Two Dots – though higher levels can be frustrating, Aiden is as much addicted to this game as I am
  4. Plants vs Zombies – can be great fun, until you get eaten by zombies!
  5. Reading Rainbow – this was an unexpected win, with Aiden reading through a selection of books and exploring the app
  6. Fruit Ninja – an easy-to-play game that keeps you on your toes
  7. Anything by Toca Boca – Cars, Kitchen, Builders, Doctor, etc. With so many apps to choose from, you can choose ones your child will like for many years (from age 2+). We have found some apps more challenging than others, and some a great deal less interesting. But overall a guaranteed good app. 
These apps also merit inclusion, but eventually become frustrating:
  1. Where’s My Water – this one is a hit, but eventually gets quite difficult
  2. Sprinkle or Sprinkle Islands – very much like Where’s My Water, and also gets quite difficult

If you are looking for Educational Apps for 5 year olds, there’s quite a lot of options for “Kindergarten prep”, but in our experience they aren’t very interesting to play. Aiden did not enjoy playing any of the Starfall apps or the MeeGenius app, for example. App developer Originator make a series of apps that truly engage at different reading readiness levels: Endless Alphabet, Endless Wordplay, and Endless Reader. If you are willing to play alongside your child, you could also use a game such as Charades! that is endlessly fun for early readers. Right now, we use the iPad primarily for entertainment, so I never push Aiden to “play” anything he doesn’t want to play. 

Can You Spot It?

Damien has a new obsession: Spot It. This game, designed for ages 7+, encourages players to find matching pictures between their card and the main deck. Each card has a match, but only one match. We have the standard edition, which contains 3 simple words in addition to pictures, but which doesn’t pose too much of a challenge for my 2.5 year old. I would say it’s easy to skip the Junior version. 

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Spot It comes in may different themes, from Animals to Alphabet, and is a super small and portable game. Damien is surprisingly good at the game, though not always very fast. In his first week playing it, he would often call out matches that didn’t exist, but now he only calls out accurate matches. He seems to memorize the deck card in the process of finding the match in the other, an interesting strategy that, while sometimes time consuming, results in perfect recall of that card. For example, if I find my match first (say I had the anchor on the card below), and the next card had an eye, he would yell out ‘eye’ and hand me the card, since he remembers it would be my match, even though I’m careful to keep him from seeing my cards. 

So, it’s a funny game to play with him. It has really gone a long way to improving his memory and observational skills. He is now, quite logically, also obsessed with I Spy books for the same reason.

The Best Christmas Gifts for Men

Every year, there is a lot of chatter about what to buy for the men in our lives. Be they husbands, boyfriends or Dads, men can be hard to buy for! Now, I know each guy has different tastes, but I know we can do better than ties and golf stuff, right?! Following my post on The Best Stocking Stuffers for Guys, I put together this Shopping Guide to the Best Christmas Gifts for Guys that involves both gifts my husband has asked for in the past, or currently has on his wish list, plus a few ideas of my own. 

Gifts guy

  • Bluetooth speaker – my husband asked for (and received) the UE Mini Boom for his birthday. He did his research on options and hit on this amazing bluetooth speaker that we use either in our office or move around wherever we want some extra music! Since it’s bluetooth, you can play from your phone or any bluetooth-enabled device. 
  • Car Tech Toys – there are a lot of toys you can buy for cars, depending on your guy. Whether it’s accessories for the car itself or, in my case, tech gadgets. Our top recommendations include the Portable Smartphone Mount, which clips onto your vents!, an extra charger (variable depending on your car) or an audio cable so you can play music or podcasts or get audio directions directly from your phone 
  • Cards Against Humanity – even for non-gamers, this entirely inappropriate game is perfect as a gift! Bonus: you can give expansion packs in future years!! They make great stocking stuffers ;)
  • BBQ Rotisserie – you can buy a brand-specific rotisserie for your BBQ, but they are super expensive. You may find a universal rotisserie like this one works for you. My husband got this last year and though it doesn’t fit as snugly as a super expensive option would have, it still works. We roast TWO chickens at a time on it!
  • Home Brew Kit – my husband wants to brew his own beer, but space has always been an issue. He recently discovered the Box Brew Kits which are not only super amazing looking, but don’t require a lot of space. If you don’t want to give a DIY kit, I highly recommend a selection of craft beers! You could even invest in a couple of growlers and pre-fill them with a local beer. 
  • Clothes – when it comes to clothes, I like to buy something that will actually get worn, but is nicer than what my husband would typically buy for himself. Wether this is a nicer pair of jogging pants (like Lululemon) or a great sweater (Banana Republic has the most flattering ones in a variety of styles!) or a new fleece jacket or something of that kind. 
  • Pedicure – because, have you seen his feet? Well, he may deny he needs it, but team up to get him to go with another guy pal if you think that will get him there. Trust me, he’ll thank you. There are salons that offer men’s pedicure options.
  • Tickets & Gift Certificates – this one is really personal. Does your guy like sports, theatre, movies, music, trips? Is he a foodie? Scour sites like Groupon for deals, or grab tickets to a coveted event and wrap it up in a larger box. If you have kids, secure your babysitting as part of a “date night” package.

Here’s hoping these gifts are a hit with the guy in your life!