Category Archives: boys

Gift Guide for Your Elementary School Age Boy

boys

I thought I’d share some gift ideas for those who might be having a hard time figuring out what to get boys!

I’m all about open ended play. I’m not a big fan of licensed characters and cheap fads. I, personally, like the tried and true toys…. which is why #1 on our list is LEGOS!!! (shocking right?)

Lego Education Story Starter Set

I have recently discovered the Lego Education Sets. I think they are wonderful and SO worth the money!

Crazy Contraptions

My son also likes all things Lego Star Wars and Lego City. It’s all about the minifigures for him and he just informed me that he REALLY wants a minifigure with a Light Up Light Saber!

Snap Circuits

 

We have not actually had any experience with snap circuits, but I have heard great things about them. Big Brother is getting this for Christmas (shhh… don’t tell).

Light Saber

Apparently we are all about star wars around here. I texted some friends that we were meeting at the park a couple of weeks ago to let them know that Big Brother was bringing his light saber. The other boys showed up with their’s as well. It was awesome. I loved watching them play!

GeoSafari Tuff Cam

We got this camera for Big Brother last year. I feel like GeoSafari stuff is kind of hit or miss on quality… but I can say with confidence that this camera is great! Big Brother has LOVED getting to record in video and still pictures. Watch out… some of the pictures they take of you (let’s say when you’re leaning over to get something out of the oven) might not be so flattering.

water color pencils

Big Brother got a set of watercolor pencils for his birthday last year and LOVED them! You draw the picture and then paint over with water for a water color effect. I was super impressed with his work. Throw in a pad of water color paper and there you go!

Games:

Phase 10, Uno Roboto, Scrambled States of America, Angry Birds: Knock on Wood

Books (these are all series.. mostly mysteries):

Boxcar Children, Time Warp Trio, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Imagination Station, Cul de Sac Kids, Sugar Creek Gang

What are your favorite gift ideas for elementary age boys?

Come back this week for my Girls’ Gift Ideas as well as some for Toddlers!

 

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Fifteen Books and Book Series for Ages 6-10

Book List

Big Brother is a crazy fast reader. He loves books. He devours them. I can’t keep up. I am constantly on the lookout for new books and book series to introduce him to. It’s so hard because so many of the books he is able to read are filled with witchcraft, sorcery, sex, boogers and farts and so much more.

I’ve been reading a book called Six Ways to Keep the Good in your Boy. One chapter was very specific on reading being a huge contributing factor in character development. It strongly encourages us to expose our children, boys specifically, to real heroes and purity and authentic manhood. It does not down booger and fart books… but it encourages to limit them and push your son beyond his current level. It does not down fantasy, but does encourage to stay away from books where the line between good and evil becomes blurred and evil things are made out to be good… like friendly, sparkly vampires… just saying.

So.. with that in mind, I asked Big Brother what his favorite books are and here is the list we came up with (they are in order of reading level/ ability):

Henry and Mudge are great for beginning reading, together or alone. There are several books in the series. A girl’s counterpart exists as well… Annie and Snowball.

All of my children love Amelia Bedelia. It meets several different levels of comprehension. Little Sis and Big Sis love the silliness and Big Brother loves the clever word play. Some of the books are about halloween or haunted houses…we just avoid those.

I will admit. I am not a huge fan of Junie B Jones. I think the language is unnecessary and there is an underlying disrespect for adults. I have had many talks with Big Brother and Big Sister about these books. We talk about appropriate language versus inappropriate. Then we discuss where Junie B should have a different attitude, etc. I also told them that if they started using words like “stupid” or “dummy” etc in their own language, the books would have to go. Honestly… I didn’t make that big of a deal out of the whole thing and they quickly tired of the books on their own.

Read my blurb on Junie B Jones above… that’s kind of how I feel about these books as well. Big Brother is really enjoying them right now. I am okay with it as long as these aren’t the ONLY books he’s reading. They are cleverly written and have quite a bit of subtle humor and word play… which Big Brother is a big fan of.

This mystery series has a female protagonist. She is known for her photographic memory. Big Brother has enjoyed this series as well. There is also an easy reader companion series called Young Cam Jansen. Again, there are some haunted house/ ghostly ones… so check titles first.

We are huge fans of Nate the Great. The easy reader mysteries are very clever and great for fans of mystery and detective stories. They usually include riddles and jokes at the end.

Although there is magic involved in these books (a wizard sends them on their way in the Magic Treehouse to solve mysteries), it is not the focus. The books are filled with facts about history and science. The children have to collect clues to solve problems. We’ve enjoyed the historical aspects about presidents, wars, etc as well as the animals ones about oceans, penguins, tigers and more. Big Brother has kind of outgrown these as they are rather short and a fairly quick read for him.

Although this isn’t a chapter book, it is a favorite around our house. It is also sure to provide hours of entertainment. Watch out though… this books was on the banned book list once upon a time for topless bathers on the beach… I haven’t seen any such pictures in the copies we’ve checked out from the library… maybe it was taken out in later printings?

We just recently discovered the Buddy Files. They are all about a dog detective and his adventures. Big Brother was an instant fan.

This is a classic series about a mouse and his motorcycle. It was a favorite of mine when I was little!

The Boxcar children is about 4 orphaned children who were adopted by their grandfather. The series has several books. We always leave the library with at least one or two in our basket. There is always a mystery to solve.

The Little House Books are a total favorite at our house. Big Brother loves them just as much as the girls. We just recently finished the entire series and they immediately wanted to start all over again. They just love hearing about Laura’s life on the prairie. I have read these aloud, but Big Brother is able to read them himself. Our library has several abridged versions that are great for early readers.

Big Brother wanted me to include this on the list. We read this off and on this past year as part of our Exploring Countries and Cultures from My Father’s World. It is a collection of short stories of real missionaries and heroes of the Christian faith.

I adore the Chronicles of Narnia. They are by far some of my favorite books. While I’m not sure my kids are ready for ALL of the books in the series, I think the first two or three are okay for now. Unfortunately, my kids don’t agree. They were a little nervous as I read through the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I’m hoping they’ll warm up to them soon. I know these books have sorcery and magic. However, what I like it that there is a clear good and a clear evil. The lines are not blurred. You know that the good is good and will win in the end. Not to mention the parallels to Christianity being great for discussion.

The Lego Ideas book is another suggestion from Big Brother. He reads parts of this every day. He has the profiles of the featured builders memorized. He loves to try to recreate the creations in the book and has started putting his own Lego idea book together. This book has inspired him to think outside of the instruction manuals that came with his lego sets.

We just checked out a few more from the library that we are trying out… Hardy Boys (early editions), Sugar Creek Gang, Cul De Sac Kids, Alvin Ho and Summer According to Humphrey.

I would love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite books for children? Please comment below so we can grow this list!

Linking up with:
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

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Angry Birds Birthday Party on a Budget

Big Brother turned eight a couple of weeks ago! Eight just seems too old. He was torn between an Angry Birds Party and a Lego Party. Personally, the idea of a lego party stressed me out. Legos are small and scatter easily. He wanted his friends to bring their legos so they all could play. The thought of the lego swapping that would happen was too much for my OCD self. So… I gently swayed him toward the angry birds party!

IMAG2797

Thankfully, it did not rain on party day and we were able to run around outside! We had a live action angry birds game. My husband brought up some boxes from our stash (we move a lot, so we have a stash of boxes). I printed out a TNT sign, and we taped to a few of the boxes to make it more authentic. You can download the TNT pdf here…. TNT Angry Birds.

IMAG2811

Some kids chose to be the angry birds and hurl themselves into the boxes. Others chose to launch the red ball toward the boxes. I found the template for the bird face (as well as a pig face) here. IMAG2815

I can’t take credit for the original design of the cake. I found the idea on Pinterest. This type of decorating is not hard. It requires a star tip cake decorating tip and a lot of patience. IMAG2831

For snacks, we had Angry Bird Graham Crackers, Angry Bird Cheese Its and Fruit Skewers (Red Strawberries, Yellow Pineapple and Blue Blueberries to go along with the color bird theme). For favors, the kids got to take home a pack of stickers and a couple of packs of Angry Birds Fruit Snacks. You can find all of these Angry Birds treats at Wal- Mart.

We really weren’t sure of what the weather would do until about a couple of hours before the party. Had we known it would be such a beautiful day, we might have planned more games. However, the kids were thrilled with the live action game, snacks and just having a yard to run around in.

Total cost for this party was less the $30!

Feel free to check out my Angry Bird Birthday Board on Pinterest for more awesome ideas from others who have gone before me.

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Praying for My Boy

My son is six. He is the oldest. He is soon to have a third little sister. I pray for him. I have been praying for him for a while to be able to identify with his male- ness. In today’s world, I suppose I am out of line to want my boy to be boy-ish, aggressive, competitive, loud, wiggly, adventurous… a warrior. I am supposed to provide him with opportunities to explore both his masculinity and femininity… because…who I am I to tell him that he is supposed to be a boy… shouldn’t he have the right to figure that out on his own?

Hogwash

God made no mistakes when designing my little guy. He put him in the right body. He gave him the right mix of DNA. He didn’t make any mistakes.

So in the last few years, when my son would walk out of his sisters room wearing a princess dress and heels, I did not applaud his enlightened little heart and encourage him to complete the outfit with crown and wand. I also didn’t shame him. I didn’t fuss at him and say “boys don’t wear things like that.” When I would hear him and his sister playing fairies, I didn’t rush in the room and demand that he stop. When he was three and insisted that his favorite color was pink, we didn’t insist back that pink is a “girl” color.

What I have done is encourage him in his masculinity. I’ve asked him questions about why he’d rather pretend he is a princess, a sister, a fairy than be a boy when they play. I have asked him what is so special about pink that he really likes it. His answers are interesting. He didn’t want to play the daddy because the daddy has to leave and go to work (or school) and he wanted to be home… makes sense… it’s only girls at home with him all day. He likes pink because girls like pink and boys like girls… again… completely logical.

My husband is very attentive to our son and makes sure to spend time with him… wrestling, playing cards, throwing darts, playing make believe. He encourages him and prays for and with him.

Most importantly, I have prayed. Prayed that he would identify with his male-ness… that he would be okay with being a boy… that he would delight in who God made him to be.

I don’t think I realized what I was praying for. When we made our most recent move, the boy went from sharing a room with his sister to having his very own room. He has his own space now. I think that may have triggered something in him. Since we have moved, he has become more aggressive, more proud of the fact that he is a boy… more proud of his bodily functions and the sounds they make (much to my chagrin). He has begun to seek out boys at play groups and is fiercely protective 0f his new friend that is a boy. They have a boy’s club and he has even written rules… part of the rules say “if you like girlish stuff, you can’t be in the club. If you see a My Little Pony, say yuck and throw it across the room.” He is loud, he is wiggly, he needs to be released outside to run around. He is a boy for sure.

I am not, and never really was all that worried about my son’s identity, but watching him run around a friend’s house in fairy wings did spur me on to read books about raising boys and pray for my own little warrior. This world, our society in particular is becoming more and more feminized. Most teachers of young children are women, most Sunday school teachers are women… tv shows and sitcoms feature husbands and men in general as idiots… women are becoming the primary heroes in crime dramas on tv. Our boys are told to sit down and be still and control their bodies. They are squelched early on and that makes me sad.

Although I am not completely sure what I am praying for when I pray for my son and his boy-ishness… I will continue to do so… because this is who God made him to be and God makes no mistakes.

Here are a couple of great books geared for raising boys:

Bringing Up Boys

Wild Things

Linking Up with:

and
Mothers of Boys

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Love and Protect

My husband is a rock star dad. He is so purposeful in training our son in his masculinity and encouraging our daughters in their femininity. One thing I’ve appreciated about him is that he hasn’t waited for them to get “old enough” to have big talks with them. The day after we brought our son home from the hospital, my husband took him out for a walk and shared the good news of Jesus with him. Having deep talks comes naturally between my husband and the kids because he’s been practicing from day one.

“Love and Protect” are words I have heard almost daily from my husband to our son. He commissions him almost daily to look after me and his sisters. The boy is six, but has heard these words almost every day since he was two. He has been taught to love the women in his life by treating them like ladies… by holding the door, helping carry in groceries, refraining from gas and gas jokes in front of them (we’re working on this one… seeing as how he has a new found pride in his bodily functions!) and other things. He has been taught to stand up for his sisters when someone is picking on them. One time at a mall playground, a bigger boy would not leave Big Sis alone. Big brother got in his face and said “leave my sister alone!” My husband was so proud, he bought him a Chick Fil A milkshake.

My son is learning that loving and protecting also means respecting. He is being taught to respect and obey his mom or he’ll have his dad to answer to.

My husband is also really purposeful of setting apart times when it is just him and the boy. They wrestle, they rough house, they throw darts, they play games. They have their man time together. My son knows there are things he can do with daddy that he probably shouldn’t do with mommy… like punches in the arm, tackling, burping… you know.. man stuff!

With another girl on the way in our family, I am so thankful for a husband that really invests in our son. My husband didn’t grow up with a strong male role model… but you’d never know it from watching him with our son.

Linking up today with the MOB Society:
Mothers of Boys

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