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My sister got us this advent calendar a few years ago and I bought another one last year after a bunch of the pieces accidentally got thrown out with the Christmas tree...
There's a story for every day in December (the 1st through the 24th, so not necessarily every day in Advent...) that leads up to the birth of Jesus. The books are sturdy and ours have been chewed on quite a bit and are still going strong! Then the kids can hang the books from the Christmas tree and read them again throughout Advent. We use a little fake tree because we don't get our real Christmas tree until Christmas Eve.
I've done a LOT of research on nativities for children. There aren't a lot out there that are baby-friendly, actually stand up on their own, and don't cost a million dollars. You can usually find a Fisher Price nativity for around $30, and the price is absolutely worth it. This is the favorite of all our nativities, and we don't have to worry about the pieces getting chewed on. The kids acted out the story of Jesus' birth ALL Advent (even though we hid Baby Jesus), and loved making the wise men move closer every day until Epiphany.
Another gift from my sister - this is a great price for a nativity AND Noah's ark set. The pieces are only painted on one side and the stable is a little tricky to put together, but it's a great group of characters that allows for a lot of creative play!
The ark and nativity in action, 2011 (on the toy box). Honorable mention: Giant Baby Gate that kept the kids away from the tree!
I get such a kick out of this one, and the kids do too! Baby Jesus duck? Angel duck? Yes please!
You can get it for a better price at Oriental Trading Company, and we picked up some awesome St. Nicholas ducks a few years back (complete with a bishop duck - how amazing is that?) so it's worth a try!
I picked this up on a huge discount after Christmas last year and the big kids are getting it for Christmas this year. Since it has a lot of small parts it'll be one of those toys that they only play with at the big table, or while the babies are napping. I have a feeling they're going to be ecstatic, particularly Cecilia. All those animals!
Next week I'll be rounding up some of my favorite books for the Advent season - get excited!
Linking up with Hallie at Moxie Wife - check out more awesome favorites!