Stocking Stuffers For Kids That Promote Literacy

educational stocking stuffersI love learning. I love teaching too but really that moment when a child has grasped a concept or mastered a new skill for the first time and they exclaim ” I did it!” is what keeps me planning lessons for my classroom and this blog. I hope that some of the activities I have shared have contributed to an ” I did it!” moment at your house. Part of supporting our children’s development is to provide the right environment and what better way to add bits and pieces of learning into their environment than with stocking stuffers. I fill my children’s stockings with a random assortment of things but I always squeak in some learning even if they just see the items as fun and new! This list of stocking stuffers for kids are all fun and promote literacy development.

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bath letters

Have fun in the bath practicing letter recognition with these Learning Resources Smart Splash Letter Link Crabs

toddler bath letters

We used these Little Tikes Bath Letters and Numbers in the bath but we also used them around the house for letter hunts!

best magnetic letters

All kids should have some Melissa & Doug Magnetic Wooden Alphabet they are great for all levels of learning from the earliest stages of letter recognition to spelling!

leapfrog fridge phonics

This LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set is one of many Leap Frog phonics toys that I love.

nursery rhymes

Nursery rhymes are wonderful literacy tools but if you are like me you forget to grab books of them, Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies is perfect for car rides. Frankly I think I just need a break from listening to Frozen. I know I am not alone.

hangman game

This Hangman – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere Game will fit into a purse well for road trips as well as a stocking! Hangman is a great vocabulary boosting game that sharpens spelling skills too.

mad libs jr

Did you know there are Super Silly Mad Libs Junior ? These are great for Kindergarten and up ( or a little younger with more help) while Christmas Fun Mad Libs makes the perfect stocking stuffer for those a little older. My kids get these in their stockings every year.

stocking stuff spelling

Have you ever played Bananagrams ? It’s a blast and perfect for kids from 6 or 7 and up. Pop it in their stocking and play all Christmas day!

apple stocking

For families with younger kiddos try Appletters but don’t worry older kids will still love it!

rhyming stocking

These Rhyming Words Dominoes Challenge Cards® are great for multiple ages. Older players can model the rhyming while younger children can feel great about making their matches!

story cubes stockig stuffers

Storytelling is a skill that will help your child understand all the elements of literature as well as work on vocabulary and my favorite thing, engage their imaginations! Rory’s Story Cubes is a great stocking stuffer!

stocking storytelling

Storytelling isn’t only for older kids. Children as young as 3 can get in on the fun with eeBoo Tell Me a Story Creative Story Cards – Mystery in the Forest. ( Shhh don’t tell her but my daughter is getting these in her stocking this year! )

stocking stuffers scene

Take storytelling with you ( maybe to visit Grandma for New Years?) with this Create A Scene Magnetic Enchanted Kingdom !

stocking stuffers spot it

Spot It is a great game for waiting at restaurants, on planes, or even around the dining room table. It focuses on visual perception which is important for reading, but don’t worry pre-readers can play no problem.

coloring stocking

Learning to write starts with making marks and coloring is a great way to prep for writing. This Crayola Hello Kitty Mini Coloring Pages will slide right into a stocking!

smelly pencils stocking

Make writing fun with these smelly pencils Original Smencils 5-Pack or if your child is all about glam try these Fiskars Gel Pens .

journal stocking

Journals are wonderful ways to get your not too keen to write kids writing. I like this Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal because it has prompts built right in! journal 2 stockingIf your child doesn’t need prompts but wants privacy pop one of these Top Secret Lock & Key Diary into their stocking.

bookworm stocking

This book is brilliant. Bookworm Journal: A Reading Log for Kids (and Their Parents) lets kids record the books they’ve read in one place. This is wonderful for kids who like to rank, rate, and compete with everything.

bookmarks stocking

Toss some Robots i-Clips Magnetic Bookmarks into the stocking and your kids won’t be able to wait to use them.

book light

A book light like this Energizer LED Book Light is perfect for independent readers. Letting kids stay up a little later to read is a great message to them that reading is worthwhile.

You might be wondering why I don’t have any books. The list would be very very long and instead of you picking out a book for your child why not pop a $10 Amazon Gift Card or  one for a local bookstore and take them to pick out their own. If that doesn’t promote reading I don’t know what will!


books for kids

If you need book suggestions we have a lot. Start here and our book gift guide here.

1 Minute Christmas Ornaments

Time is short during the holiday season and these ornaments took no time at all to fill. The fun part for your kids is to find things that fit through the hole at the top to fill the ornaments with. As you can imagine we have a lot of craft supplies that we have gathered over the years and me being me I save everything to use again . Having a bunch of ornaments and different fill in a craft buffet would be super fun activity for a holiday party. I like the idea of using these as an alternative to wrapping too.

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All you really need are some clear plastic ornaments waiting to be filled.

Here were our ideas:

Fuse beads were so colorful and would make a cute stocking stuffer as is.

The glass beads reflected the light so well.

These wood beads would fit right in with our rustic holiday decor.

These pony beads could be packaged with a jewelry box and some beading thread as a whole jewelery themed gift.

The pom poms were fun for my toddler to help me put in and make a great unbreakable ornament for a tree for a young family or someone with cats!

The jingle bells not only looked great they also had a beautiful and a little muted jingle to them.

It goes without saying that the LEGO one was my son’s favorite. I think it might be mine too.

What would you fill your empty ornaments with ?


Quick Link Supply List


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Simple Q-Tip Painted Christmas Tree

Christmas art project Q-Tips are one of my favorite painting tools. Christmas trees all lit up for Christmas are possibly my daughter’s favorite thing ever. This is a fun craft that isn’t too structured but offers kids the opportunity to work on fine motor skills while getting to decorate a Christmas tree just the way they want.Although my daughter dotted the q-tip encourage your child to use the q-tip however they see fit.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper in green and another in black. White and various colors of paint, scissors and a glue stick. You may also want some extra sheets of paper for extra exploration after.
  2. Start by painting the snow scene by using only white paint on black paper. While it looks like snow to us to my 2 year old it was just polka dots and that is cool!
  3. While they paint the background cut the green paper into a Christmas tree.
  4. While her dots dried I gave her a 2nd piece of paper to paint she chose her hands as the tools this time. With toddlers especially always have extras on hand of everything. Emotions are high and their hands don’t always do what they want and art time should be fun not upsetting. I like it because it balances a little structure with a lot of open ended.
  5. After the background is mostly dry add glue to the tree.
  6. Glue it on to the background.
  7. Add colored paint.  When we paint with Q-tips I like using the lids of the paint jars as mini paint plates. You don’t need much paint and you don’t waste much doing it this way. Just make sure you have one Q-Tip per color.
  8. Let dry and grab another extra sheet to finger paint some more.

Find & Fill Nativity Scene Game

We are a church going family and even though I am quite private about our faith I wanted to share this simple nativity activity with you. Every year since my son was 1 we have put out our Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset and played with it. I have tried to teach my son and now my daughter about who everyone is in it but it didn’t really stick. My 2 year old refuses to call the angel Gabriel anything other than the Tooth fairy .  I decided it was time to learn more about who these people were and the roles they played in the Christmas story. Kids play to learn so making it a game was just what we needed.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, pen , a basket, a nativity scene with figurines and a book about the Christmas story.
  2. Write out clues for each figure. Mine were super simple like ” I am the Son of God. I was born in a manger. Who am I? Find me in the dining room. ” Adjust the info about each person based on your child’s age and knowledge. I hand wrote mine because as always I decided to do this spur of the moment. My messy handwriting completely frustrated my son while he was reading . Type it out if you have the time.
  3. Read the story first ( see below for the story we read). I find that reading it first is the best way to create a connection with who each figure is. Let them identify the figures in the scene too.
  4. Next send the kids away and hide the figures. My favorite was the Angel on the soup can in the pantry.
  5. Put the basket of clues in the manger. Have your children tell you who is missing. Read the first clue.
  6. Find the missing pieces.  Ask your kids who they are and why they are important.
  7. Place them back in the manger and pull the next clue. My son read the clues but my daughter mimicked him much to my total pleasure. It was adorable and really great early literacy learning!
  8. Keep going until the nativity scene is complete.

Books About Christmas

What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.

The Christmas Story: The Brick Bible for Kids by Brendan Powell Smith is actually one of my favorite Christmas books this year. I grabbed it at Costco because my son is all about Lego but I have read it over and over to my kids because it is a great telling of the Christmas story. Now it doesn’t sugar coat much so if you don’t want to read about mean old King Herod and how he ordered babies to be killed then skip it. It really helped explain the story of Jesus’ birth to my 6 year old and the Lego photographs were a great novelty.

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11 Easy Christmas Tree Crafts For Kids

christmas crafts for kids I love Christmas crafts and kids love making them. These Christmas tree crafts are all easy to do , inexpensive to make and educational too. Some make great add ons to Christmas gifts, can be used as gift tags or even ornaments. Many of these are the lucky crafts I actually keep and dig out every year to display and reminisce with my kids. Here are our favorites .

Recycled Christmas Tree Craft
Craft By Numbers – Pom Pom Tree
Salad Spinner Tree Ornament
Baby’s First Christmas Tree Craft
Fork Painted Christmas Tree
Shape Christmas Tree Craft
Button and Nail Christmas Tree
Hawaiian Christmas Tree
Bubble Wrap Christmas Tree
Ice Cream Cone and Candy Christmas Trees
Sticky Wall Christmas Tree