Holiday Gift Guide for Your Kids to Develop and Make an Impact

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And as the big day gets closer, I thought I’d drop a blog post and share my holiday guide. Short and sweet, yet mindful for children. Take a read through my guide, provide feedback if you’d like and most importantly, if you know of other businesses, products or services, please share in the comments below.

PINNA PODCAST

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I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I always thought podcasts were an adult thang! Podcasts are ah-mazing for children. I worked with Pinna on a collaboration a few months ago and the boys loved their podcasts so much that I had to include them in my holiday guide. Its audience is targeted from ages 4-12 and the podcast is categorized for easy selection (e.g. podcasts Under 10 Minutes, Bath Time or All About Sports). And a “woot woot” for their seasonal podcasts. This is my favourite time of the year and it’s really got the whole family in the Christmas spirit.

I recommend listening to podcasts during car rides and as part of a bedtime routine. It’s worked best with my boys.

Our favourites in no particular order: original podcast “Quentin and Alfie’s ABC Adventures”, audio book “Good Night for Rebel Girls” (I’m a boy mom, but it doesn’t mean they can’t learn from these books) and “Good Sport” where pro-athletes tell stories from before they were famous.

Pinna Podcast: Click here for link or try it out for 30 days free.

A KIDS BOOK ABOUT

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My sister in law tagged me when she came across these books on Instagram. I’m always on the hunt for books that cover topics that aren’t always easy to talk about and the ones I’ve come across are either too complex or not of age for them. I love books that start conversations and don’t just speak to you. The mission at A Kids Book About is to help kids and their grownups have honest conversations about things that matter. Books written by a great team of authors who tell their stories and publish them for the world to read. The topics/titles may appear to be too heavy, but the content is simple and relatable. So many topics covered in their collection.  The boys have just read the  Book about Belonging on our trip. And the Book About Money we will wait until after the holidays to read (LOL). Recommended age is for 5+ and their grownups.

A Kids Book About: Click the link which will take you straight to their selection and with the purchase of three or more books, you get 40% off your entire order. I’m already looking forward to seeing which books my boys will scoop up next.

LOVE POWERED CO

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Where do I begin? I just love these mom bosses who created these beautiful and positive I AM affirmation cards. And literally it just takes minutes to put you in a positive space. You can buy the entire collection of three (Littles, Femme and Teens) or buy them individually. I currently have the Littles set in the boys’ room and the Femme set in my office at work.

I’m not a Monday person but I have to tell you, having the Femme box at work has given me that extra boost in the morning along with the caffeine kick of course. As for the Littles box, the boys pick a card that they can relate to and a popular card for them is “Uniqueness is My Power”. They are twins and sometimes they get lumped into a category of just being twins and people not taking the time to get to know them. And this card serves as a reminder that while they have this special relationship, they should celebrate and share their unique qualities with others.

Love Powered Co: click here for their amazing collection

KICK START READING

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The perfect gift for those ages 3 to 6 to help littles build confidence with reading.   Simple to use, interactive two minutes videos and their motto is “screen time you can feel good about”. Lauren, who is the voice and teacher behind this learning tool developed Kick Start Reading with her brother with the idea of making reading fun for kids and keeping it simple for busy parents. After a long day at work and having to come home and read with the boys, I wasn’t always engaged and sometimes just went through the motion. For those long hard work days, Kick Start Reading helped break up the routine of just learning with books and sounding out words. I would sit with the boys and we would go through the videos together. And remember that kids need a change of pace when it comes to learning as well. When the boys aren’t keen on reading books, but I want to get the learning in, I’ll switch up the bedtime routine and we’ll go through a few videos. Link can be found below and with the purchase of a membership, you have access to all videos. There is also a customized section for your little reader.

Get started by clicking the link to sign up for Kick Start Reading.

VOLUNTEERING YOUR TIME and/or DONATING TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS 

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It’s easy to get caught up in the whole holiday spirit and there isn’t anything wrong with that. But as a reminder, during this season not everyone is able to because it is a tough time for some financially, emotionally or mentally. A great time for you to get involved is through programs at work, in your community or through your child’s school. At the age of 18 months, I took the boys to Safety Net – Children and Youth Charities, a local non-profit organization in Oakville and had them help me unpack donated goods and set them up on tables. It was a lot of work and they didn’t understand but being there and seeing the contributions you can make even for a few hours, it makes a world of difference for others. Over the years, I’ve mixed things up and have donated through other charities such as Kerr Street Mission, Bank on Bellies and Ronald McDonald Charities Canada. And finding time isn’t always easy. And a trick I’ve learned is find your local grocery store and see if they have a food donation bin (some have them year-round). Have the kids shop for the items in store and at checkout have them drop the items in the bin.  Below are links to charitable organizations that we’ve partnered or donated our time with this year.

Kerr Street Mission

Bank on Bellies

Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada

Happy Holidays and all the best as we close 2019!

XOXO Sunshine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Shop Love for the Holla Days!

And just like that, it’s December!  Naughty or nice list, To-Do list, checking it twice list or I got no list to work with, I want to make things a little bit easier for you by sharing some of my favourite small shops and the reasons why I have mad love for them.

Buying for my boys is not always easy.  There are a lot of factors that I take into consideration when I buy for them.  There are lots of options for boys fashion, accessories and toys but not a lot of options of representation.

So, below are a few small businesses that I admire and had stumbled upon.  Short and simple list of three, but with meaning behind it.

NOTE: the shops below are for everyone (not just people who look like myself or my boys).

BIRDS LOVE BEES

Handmade one of a kind dolls, quilts and taggie blankets

Brandon

When I was pregnant, I was constantly looking for boy dolls that would represent my them.  Many small shops made dolls mostly for girls and even when I told them I would pay for a boy doll, they just didn’t have an appetite for it.  I met Kathryn two years ago at the One of a Kind Show in Toronto and when I walked by her booth she had rows of beautiful handmade dolls in ALL shades of colours that literally made me stop in my tracks.  Without hesitation, I bought the boys their dolls and to this day, they love their “baby” and “baby baby”.

The dolls are a perfect gift for anyone, not just a child.  Since then, we’ve added Coco the Monkey, Skoy Yoy the Dog and most recently, two custom made Brown Santas, which the boys have named “Santa Baby” and “Santa Baby Baby”.

mimiTENS

Started off making mittens, has now expanded to children’s accessories.  She also launched another business called Some of the Parts.

Maxwell

When my boys were itty bitty, I was on the hunt for a good pair of mittens that would stay on and would keep the boys warm.  I did my online research which led me to mimitens.  I love their awesome designs and high quality mittens. The boys won’t wear anything else.  Somehow Anne Maria (owner) and I connected and every encounter with her, she just oozes energy, integrity and a passion for her designs.

SIDE NOTE: she also has a store in Toronto called Some of the Parts.  She carries her line of adult bags that she designed and it fits securely on wheelchairs (this she discovered after the fact). That made my heart swoon!

So really, Mimitens and Some of the Parts can be a gift for anyone on your list!  Cheers to that!

MODERN RASCALS

Clothes and Toys that kids will love. Bright Colours, Bright Patterns and Ethical Production

Boys

I can’t believe that I only met Jana in person a couple of weekends ago!  I’m blaming it on #momlife.  Jana reached out to me in early 2017 and felt that the brands her online store carried would be great for my boys.  I played it safe when it came to dressing them … in greys, black, blues and white and she got that.  Then as I started engaging with Modern Rascals and understanding her brand of bright colours and patterns, and seeing the beauty of bright colours in her feed, I switched cold turkey to all the colours in the rainbow.  I love the quality of the designers that she selects and no joke, the boys get stopped on the regular by strangers complimenting them on their style.

Jana’s feed and carried brands are a true representation of our society.  From Pride socks to sourcing a company that makes handmade wooden toys that resemble all children, she really gets her customers.

A gift for that special kid(s) in your life, you’ve got a rainbow selection of goods to choose from. She also carries adult sizes with some brands, so that you can matchy match with your little one(s).

Hoping you got your bit of learning from my write up and I encourage that the next time you shop, take into consideration that we’re not a once size fits all society and that we all can gain from representation.

I know that there are so many other shops that I have yet to discover, so if you know of any, share please by leaving a comment below.

Sunshine Lily aka @shinelily

Links to Shop:

birds love bees

mimiTENS

modern rascals