I took the kids to the new Golden One Center last month to see Disney on Ice and to check out Sacramento’s new downtown arena for the first time. Only afterward, when Hudson didn’t believe me that the characters had been ice skating (“but it wasn’t cold”) did I realize I’d probably been more prepared to show them the new venue than to drum up excitement about what we were going to see there! Whoops! It is such an awesome addition to the city, and there’s just a ton of great stuff moving in around it. I included a few more photos below.
It feels like that was already ages ago as we race toward the holidays. (It feels like it was, in fact, a world away.) We started opening up the drawers in the advent calendar yesterday, kicking off the month with a children’s parade and tree lighting downtown! The marching band plays, The Grinch shows for free at The Varsity, and there are horse-drawn carriage rides. It’s pretty sweet. Today I’ll take the kids to the Art Center where they get to shop with a helper for us, in a secret no-parents-allowed room!
So. Here we go!
As I try to wrap my head around this, some links of note…
9. A collection of Wildsam Field Guides (or just the one from your city with a prompt to visit) would make a great gift for the wanderer. Each has suggestions and stories from locals. For example, San Francisco’s features Joan Didion and John Muir, Beatnik lore, the science of fog, and bread baking—as well as itinerary suggestions.
2. The kids circled just about everything in the Land of Nod catalogue this year. A Zebra Sleeping Bag would be perfect for a first sleepover.
3. Equilibloc can be played up (like reverse-Jenga) or down—or simply used for imaginative construction play. I love Janod’s colored wood toys.
4. Like their other maple-wood toys, Wooden Story’s Rainbow Stacking blocks are colored using oils and wax and are worthy of keeping for years. 20% of the sales of this one will be donated to the play area of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital by the shop, Over the Ocean.
5. A realfirst camera. We started with this one when Hudson was a toddler—and the kids still love it—but the images aren’t great.
6. This birch plywood DIY Modular House Kit can be taken apart and reassembled in many different forms, to inspire more creative play.
7. Illustoria Subscription, a magazine for creative kids and their grownups just released their 2nd issue, and would be especially suited to that 6-12 age range.
8. We picked up these Travel magnetic tiles when we were in Los Angeles and they’ve gotten a lot of use on flights and at restaurants. A win for everyone.
9. Beginning slackline that can be set up anywhere to get those wiggles out. A good exercise for everyone in the family, in fact.
10. Cubebot. Inspired by Japanese Shinto Kumi-ki puzzles, and made from beech wood, it can hold dozens poses with his elastic-band muscles or fold up into a cube. Great for busy little hands.
11. Fjallraven just knows good design. Everyone raves about this for a first backpack: the fabric is water resistant and durable, the straps well-positioned and comfortable, and the little handles mean you can easily carry it for little ones when they grown tired, or toss it over a stroller handle.
13. Adults will appreciate the design of this game of Go Fish, illustrated by Richard McGuire, and kids will have fun playing. Here are more games they’ll want to play over and over: Uno, Sequence for kids,Memory, Outfoxed, Connect 4, and Tangoes (this last one is new to us, and challenging enough for everyone to enjoy).
14. The sweetest little hand puppets! (If you’d like to pair it: this one would be perfect with Eric Carle’s picture book, or with one that helps children understand climate change.)