84: Nativity Scenes for Kids

One of the most meaningful experiences for children at Christmas is listening to the Christmas story told by their parents and setting up the nativity scene or crèche. This is a great activity for the family as each child can have characters to put in the scene themselves as the story is told. If the kids can read, print out the story and assign everyone a verse to read aloud. For the greatest impact, this activity should be repeated several times throughout the season. It’s a great bedtime story and emphasizes the meaning of Christmas. We can all get a little carried away and distracted by decorating, gift-buying, baking, and events, so before the kids get completely out of control with Christmas craziness, have your nativity set ready to go with the Christmas story printed out and ready to go.

Our top pick for older kids is to make your own scene with LEGOs! You can find instructions here. If you need to order extra pieces, like golden yellow wine glasses for the camel’s wobbly knees, go to The Official LEGO Shop: The best selection of LEGO bricks in the world!

Our top pick for younger kids is the Little People Christmas Story Nativity Scene Playset. Any child would enjoy playing with this adorable nativity set!

Celebrate a special day, from long ago and far away. Place the angel on the stable and the star lights up to guide the wise men from afar and the tune “Away in a Manger” plays. Two fence pieces connect to the stable and to the other Little People playsets. Children love retelling the Christmas story through play, and with a charming set of their very own, they might leave your holiday collectibles alone! Requires 3 “AA” batteries (not included).

Some other sets available include:

There’s one for every family’s style! Please feel free to add to this list in the comments!

Wikipedia article on Nativity Scenes

87: RoboChristmas ’08 – Top 5 Robotic Toys

Robots are hot! If you don’t want to chance a huge disappointment, you will need to let Santa know about these gifts early! Some of these toys are for the techno-tyke, and others are pure fun for everyone!

First on our list is Fisher-Price’s Elmo Live. This lovable character is sure to please the preschooler in your life!

In this truly life-like creation, for the first time ever, Elmo seems to actually be speaking as his mouth opens and closes just like the real muppet, Elmo, from Sesame Street. His mannerisms are right on target as his head bobbles back and forth as he speaks. He waves his arms, sits and stands, even crosses his legs all the while telling stories and jokes, singing songs and playing games. Children can activate the magic with a tickle or a squeeze of Elmo’s foot, tummy, back or nose.

Scheduled for release on November 1 for about $60,  Elmo won’t be hanging around on any store shelves. Click-through and pre-order him today!

Playskool’s Kota My Triceratops Dinosaur is the priciest toy on the list at $299.99, and also possibly the hottest.

Kindle your child’s curiosity for prehistoric creatures and make-believe adventures with his very own life-sized baby dinosaur. You may have seen “talking” and “moving” toys before, but chances are your dino-loving toddler has never seen a prehistoric “pet” that comes to “life” with realistic electronic sounds and motion. It’s fossil-sized fun standing just over three feet tall. A hidden handle helps kids hold on once they climb onto the dinosaur’s back. Realistic stomping sounds add to the make-believe fun as kids bounce in place on the spring seat. Talk to KOTA the Triceratops and he roars back with expressive tail, head, eye, mouth and horn movements. Hold out your hand and KOTA “sniffs” it! In fact, it’s easy to trigger all of his sensitive spots – try tickling his belly or chin to make KOTA “laugh”. And when you think this pretend dinosaur has worked up an appetite, be sure to “feed” KOTA his leafy snack – it really sounds like he’s munching on it! Four different adventure-themed tunes set the mood for your child’s wild imagination as he embarks on a dino-filled daydream. But don’t worry! A convenient volume control switch lets you adjust the level or turn it off. KOTA the Triceratops may look thick-skinned, but just one stroke on his scaly-like fabric “hide” will prove he’s really a soft and snuggable playmate who’s ready for all of your child’s dino-roarin’ escapades. Dinosaur figure comes with leafy snack and instructions.

This prehistoric preschool pleaser is available on October 13, but you can pre-order today!

At slot number three, we have the cuddly puppy, Fur Real Friends’ Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup.

Playtime is going to the dogs and this playful pooch is leading the charge! The lovable mutt features voice recognition, obeying six commands, including, “Sit,” “Speak,” and “Lie down.” Tell your furry friend to give you his paw and he’ll raise his right or left paw! Ask him if he wants a treat, and he’ll nod and whimper to let you know he’s ready for his dog ‘bone’. Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup pet will even ‘shake’ at your command, lifting his paw to your hand, or ‘sit up and beg’ just like a real pup! Feed him his dog ‘bone’ and he’ll sniff it before ‘chomping’ away on it. Moving his head and ears and even blinking his eyes, this sweet sidekick is sure to become your new best friend. Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup pet wags his tail and barks, too, to let you know he’s ready to play! Use the special adoption certificate to register your pet online and ensure that you and this adorable pup will be friends forever! Pup pet comes with collar, tag, brush, dog ‘bone’ and adoption certificate.

Biscuit is in stock now for just under $200, so order early!

This next one is a favorite of ours! The LEGO Mindstorms NXT is sure to delight the technology fans and do-it-yourselfers at your house.

The next generation of robots! Create the smartest, strongest and most advanced LEGO robot ever, in as few as 30 minutes! The new NXT Intelligent Brick, your robot’s “brain,” features a powerful 32-bit microprocessor and more memory, plus support for USB 2.0, Bluetooth and more! A highly versatile palette of LEGO Technic elements combines with state-of-the-art ultrasonic, sound, light and touch sensors in the next generation of intuitive robotics. With included Quick-Start guide, easy-to-use software and step-by-step building instructions, beginners and experts alike can create humanoid, vehicle and animal robots that obey every command! Improved light sensors can detect different colors and intensities, while the new sound sensor enables robots to respond to sound patterns and tones. Robots can really “feel” with improved touch sensors, while ultrasonic “eyes” measure distance and movement. Programming software is now available for both PC and Macintosh, plus with Bluetooth support, you can even command your robot from your mobile phone!

This bounty of LEGO bits is in stock now and available for $249.99. Buy today and get free super-saver shipping!

And last, but not least, the HexBug Robot- Collection of 5 robotic creatures packs a lot of punch in tiny packages!

Tiny, Intelligent, Obedient. A Micro-Robotic HEXBUG is an tiny, intelligent, and obedient insect that you can control. Bump Feeler Sensors help it avoid obstacles while roaming on its own. You can help guide the Hex Bug during adventures by clapping or making noise to have it backup and change direction. Crawling Bug Bump Sensor Feelers – help it avoid obstacles Changes Direction – clapping or making noise Fits In Your Hand Batteries Included Five Different Colors: Pink Blue Green Yellow Orange.

These little guys will certainly entertain your little ones, and are in stock now and on sale for $49. You can also get individual HexBugs for about $10-11 a piece. These small-but-smart robots will be gone before you know it, so get one, or five, today!