12 Great Christmas Gifts for Preschoolers with Down Syndrome

“Oh well, I do nothing but shop all day.” This is a quote from St. Zelie Martin, the mother of St. Therese of Lisieux. I think any mother of a large family can relate… I certainly do! My kids are constantly outgrowing and outwearing everything. She goes on to write, “Your father says, amusingly, that it is a passion with me! It is no use explaining to him that I have no choice; he finds it hard to believe.” (Letter 143)

I find these words so consoling, especially nowadays when I feel I have stupendous amounts of Christmas shopping to do. A saint shopping all day… can you image? Shopping seems so materialistic, but we can find holiness even in shopping if we do it out of love for our family and friends.

So for those of you with littles, here are some Christmas gift ideas to make your shopping a little easier:

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Nativity and Christmas Picture and Word Cards

Just over a year ago, Junior began learning to read sight words using DSE’s See and Learn Reading program. We have been amazed at how quickly he learned to read, and since then he has completed all three of the See and Learn Phrases kits and the See and Learn Sentences kit (which is huge!). Now there are no more See and Learn Kits for him to use, but I don’t want to slow down his momentum. We have since moved onto phonics. However, the process of matching, selecting, and reading sight words is such a powerful learning tool for him that I want to keep using it in addition to learning phonics.

So I am making my own picture and word cards, See and Learn style. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort, especially when I see how quickly and eagerly Junior learns new words. Here are two sets I am sharing with you today: A Nativity Set and a Christmas Vocabulary Set.

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Free Advent and Christmas Art Cards for Little Ones

Preparing for Advent, I’ve been thinking about how to make this time meaningful for my little guy, Junior. Since he loves pictures, I made him a collection of art cards that depict the Christmas Story. And since he loves nursery rhymes, I added short little poems to go with each picture. The verses are very simple and repetitive, so he can understand and repeat the words. My hope is that by looking at the pictures and saying the verses, Junior will see the beauty of the Christmas story. Sacred art really has the power to draw us into contemplation.

Come take a peek:

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12 Great Gifts for a Toddler with Down Syndrome

Hi, it’s me, Junior. Last time I hacked my mom’s computer, I told you about stuff for a baby shower. But now that I’m a big boy (I recently turned 2 1/2!) I’m here to tell you about my favorite things for a  toddler… with or without T21.

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Six Homemade Montessori-Inspired Toddler Toys

One thing I love about homeschooling: I never stop learning about teaching. Recently, I read that Maria Montessori discovered her educational methods while working with children who were mentally challenged. I have always admired the work of Maria Montessori, but now that we have little Junior with T21, I’ve embraced her methods for preschool. And Junior is thriving on them.

But there’s one little problem: Montessori toys are really expensive. So, with the help of Pinterest and a little creativity, I’ve been making our own Montessori-inspired toys. Here are 6 inexpensive homemade toys for your toddlers:

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Christmas Carols and Why Children Should Sing Them

A few years ago, we began the tradition of singing Christmas carols. It all started when Feisty and Sparky had roles in our parish’s Christmas pageant.  Someone gave 6-year-old Sparky the role of Joseph, which was a terrible idea. During the rehearsals, our impish, irrepressible Sparky kept pretending to scold Baby Jesus. I was terrified concerned that Sparky would scold Baby Jesus during the actual pageant, but he played the role perfectly, with a reverence and seriousness we never knew he was capable of. Phew! Anyways, the kids had to learn the songs, so we practiced the carols at home. And we all loved it.

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Christmas Gift Ideas Part 2

If you read last week’s post, Christmas Gift Ideas, I promised a list of homeschooling curriculum that could easily pass as gifts under your Christmas tree.  Mary and I talked again on Friday and came up with some ideas. These are the nice-to-haves, the supplemental things, the stuff I often pass on in July when I am ordering all of the core subjects.   (A few disclaimers – Most of the links go to Amazon.   My advice would be to shop around for the best prices.  Secondly, I only gave one example from the series in the interest of space and time.  If you have a specific item you are looking for from something I mentioned, drop me a comment and I will do my best to get you a link.)

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Christmas Gift Ideas

On Friday, Mary and I were having our weekly chat and both had the same question…What on earth are you getting your kids for Christmas that doesn’t involve LEGOs or plastic toys made in China?  Now I have to preface this with neither of us have anything against LEGOs or plastic toys, but we are both inundated by them.  Admittedly the Grinch sneaks into my heart this time of year as I threaten to either throw out all the toys or tell everyone I know that there is a toy ban on our household.  Truth be told some of each will end up at both of our houses this Christmas no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  That being said, we are both looking for creative gift ideas.   We spent an hour mulling over this topic (at least that is what we told our kids so we could have some uninterrupted mom chat time) and here is what we came up with.  Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”