1. Washable Crayons / Off-brand Coloring Books
Penny took to "drawing" or "coloring" somewhere between her first and second birthday (is it bad I can't remember?). At this age they go through pages in a coloring book like I go through M&M's, so fancy activity books or name-brand coloring books are a waste of money IMO. I say get a variety of cheap ones and let them scribble. Did someone say dollar-store three-packs? This is one of my favorite things to sit down and do with Penny. We use our imagination, talk about our colors and animals, all the while secretly working on sitting still and having quiet time. Make sure you supervise because crayons are sooooo tempting to chew.
2. CamelBak (non)Sippy Cup
The eddy™ Kids .4L Bottle to be specific. We have three. After endless battles with different cheap sippy cups, straws, suckies, intro-drinking-cups, this is the ONLY cup that I like for this age. It's the quality you would expect from the Camelbak brand, and also not a hassle to clean, and very durable. You can order them on Amazon, and extra bite valves too. It says age 3+ but we started using them at the recommendation of a friend when PJ was about 19 months, and I've never turned back.
3. innovativeKids Green Start Book Towers: 10 Chunky Books
Penny got the Nursery Rhyme box as a gift for her first birthday, and we have probably gotten more mileage out of these little chunky books than anything else in her library. She can
4. Super Why
Move over George, this is my new favorite show for Penny. As much as I don't like most things about our government, The US Department of Education kind of nailed it with this one. On the show, the "Super Readers" jump into books and use their super powers of reading, spelling, rhyming and the alphabet to solve kid-relevant problems. Penny LOVES it, and before age two, could say the whole alphabet and identify almost every letter in writing, even knowing some of the sounds that letters make. Early reading prowess is not necessarily a parenting goal of mine (I'd much rather work on character and manners than academics) but I do think it's pretty awesome that my little one is so into letters and words and books already, and I definitely give some of the credit to this show (plus the fact that someone reads to her every night). You can watch full episodes of this show on Netflix or Youtube, or it airs on PBS Kids.
5. Joy brand 42-count Mini Cup ice cream cones
We love ice cream in our house. Especially me, pregnant, in the Arizona summer. We eat ice cream a lot. These tiny ice cream cones make an early-toddler feel like they scored big time and got their very own ice cream cone... when really you are only giving them, like, 2 Tbsp of the frozen stuff on top of a 15-calorie cone just the right size for her little hands. I eat them too for a craving; little cones enable Penny and me to indulge on a regular basis without over-stuffing our faces or getting tummy aches. They also taste delicious, and I kind of love that this company has been in business since 1918! Locally here in Gilbert, I get them at Fry's Marketplace.
There's more where this came from... Five Things I Can't Live Without:
Nobody paid me or gave me anything for free... I wrote about this stuff on my own volition because I couldn't live without it!