Kids often get fixated on certain things as they are growing up. For some kids it’s dinosaurs or sports or princesses. In this house it’s all about animals, morning, noon and night. If we aren’t pretending to be an animal, we are drawing one or playing guessing games about them. This is animal central. Needless to say when my friends asked me what Drake would like for his birthday, I said animals. I know that’s kind of broad, but Drake couldn’t be happier with all the different types of animal-themed gifts he received for his birthday. I was impressed with some of the interpretations my friends took!

1) Stamps – Like most four year olds, stamps and stickers are right up Drake’s alley so nothing could please him more than animal stamps. Drake spent an afternoon recently stamping and coloring to his heart’s content.

2) Adopt an Animal – One of my friends bought Drake an adoption kit to adopt an animal at the local aquarium. He was allowed to choose it from a packet, which was so much fun to look over with him. We are waiting for the kit to come which will include a photo, a plush toy, tickets to the aquarium and other fun things. I love that Drake can go and learn more about the animal and feel more connected to it, as well as the whole idea of educating him more about animals and conservation. I also can’t wait to take Drake to the aquarium to see the penguin he chose to adopt!

3) Spot It Jr – Drake is just getting to the age where he is starting to be able to sit down and play board games. Spot It is a game that is as simple as it sounds — spot the matching pairs and there are multiple different ways to play the game. Whats great about Spot It Jr is that every card has animal pictures on it. Drake was able to pick up on this game quite quickly and since it’s so small and portable, I now take it with me in the diaper bag to entertain Drake when we are waiting at restaurants or the doctor’s office.  He loves looking at animals so these cards are perfect for him.

4) Magnets– What’s great about these magnets is that they are large enough to play with even without a magnetic surface.  Drake often likes to line them up along the walls as he rearranges them. He also likes it when we use the animals to hold up his art work on the fridge and will often request a certain animal.

5) Animal Planet Box – Drake got this set from a classmate that are similar to the squeezy animals on the guide. The figures are a bit more realistic in look and are harder plastic. The set also comes with some background scenery including rocks, hills, and trees. Drake likes setting up different environments for his animals.  My one caveat is the rocks are small and I worry about Juliet,  so Drake plays with them when Juliet isn’t around or on a higher surface where she can’t reach them.

6) Magnetic Pattern Blocks – I didnt think Drake would take to this as much as he has. Many of the cards inside happen to feature animal shapes and maybe that’s why, but Drake can spend a good part of an hour playing with this on the table by himself.  He very much wants to make all the animals by himself and really has a great time on his own. I love that he enjoys it, plays by himself mostly, and it does promote thinking and trying out patterns on his own.

7) Drawing Book – A lot of times when Drake is on my tablet, he likes to look up You Tube videos of people drawing animals. I do think he has learned a lot about how to draw from these videos, so this book works perfectly with that idea. I hope we can sit down and look at it together so I can show him how it’s like his videos.

8) Squeezy Animals – We were playing at a friend’s house recently when Drake discovered this animal set. The figures were a nice soft shape and were just the perfect size for little hands. I had to pry them away from him when were leaving, so I knew exactly what to get him for his birthday. Drake has played with this set non-stop since he has gotten it.  He loves to take one with him when we go out (always a different one), line them up, hide them, put them to bed and in time out (sometimes at the same time). I like that they are large and soft so Juliet can also play (when Drake lets her). Drake’s uncle and aunt bought him the farm animal set  after I told them how much he enjoyed these, so I know when those arrive he will be over the moon happy.

9) National Geographic First Animal Book–  This book is an animal lover’s dream. I like that it teaches Drake more about the animals he loves so much.  The pictures are beautiful as would be expected from National Geographic, and I think this will be a book that can grow with him as he learns to read himself.

Animals all the time