Elephant and Piggie Books
We love the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems so much, that we own all 25 of them! My twins have loved these books since they were two. Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie convey many emotions in how they are drawn, and each book has a simple lesson told in a humorous way. All the text in these books are in speech bubbles, making most of the action happen in the dialog between two friends. I gave my kids stuffed Gerald and Piggie toys in 2014, and two years later, they continue to be their favorite stuffed animals.
Osmo Starter Kit
[$80] Osmo was created by young parents and encourages social interaction by expanding interaction with games to the area in front of an iPad. It does this by providing a white stand and a red mirror that works with iPad and iPad mini. The reflector lets the front-facing camera recognize what is placed in front of the iPad. The starter kit comes with Tangrams and Words games.
Osmo Pizza Co.
[$40] This is my four year twins' favorite Osmo game! It required an iPad or iPad mini and the Osmo Stater Kit. With Osmo Pizza Co. kids get to run a restaurant. Funny animal customers come into the restaurant and order pizzas. Kids make pizzas using the game's cardboard pizza and toppings. Osmo's reflector allows the iPad app to see the cardboard pizza creation. The customers react to how the pizza was made. After putting a pizza through the oven, the player makes change. Luckily there is a "junior" mode where the game tells younger players what change to give. Older kids can practice making change by placing cardboard bills and coins in front of Osmo. The camera detects if the proper change was made.
[$48] Osmo Coding introduces young learners to coding skills. It requires an iPad or iPad mini and the Osmo Starter Kit. Osmo Coding comes with a variety of tiles that snap together using magnets. Kids use these to make a sequence of commands to control the onscreen game character. It is challenging for my four year olds, but they do enjoy the game and learn a ton through trial and error.
Action Movie Kid
[$12] Action Movie Kid is one of our favorite books. It's about James and his incredible imagination. The book touts that it has an augmented reality app, but it only works with the cover. The AR isn't that exciting, but it does link to the Action Movie Kid YouTube channel. This is how Action Movie Kid got his start—from a dad who makes amazing short videos starring his son.
3Doodler Start Essentials Pen Set
[$50] 3Doodle is a pen for making 3D creations. It melts plastic that cools and hardens quickly, so you are literally drawing in the air! We don't yet own a 3Doodle, but we really want one (and will be probably getting one near the end of December *wink*). This 3D pen is child-safe as it has no hot parts and the plastic is nontoxic.