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SHOPPING GUIDE: for small hands Fall/Holiday 2022

Every year, For Small Hands holds a promotion where families can purchase from them to benefit a school. If you place an order between $25 and $500, Happy Holler Circle earns 10% of the merchandise total as a credit voucher!

When I am looking for something specific for the classroom or for families to use at home, this is often the first place I look. I feel comfortable and confident recommending them to you. However, I don't always purchase here. Sometimes the same item is cheaper somewhere else, and I am a frugal gal at heart. (Fun fact: My first blogging experience was about a Buy Nothing Year I did post college.) So please, do not buy anything you wouldn't purchase already, and shop around! But if you do shop from For Small Hands, please use my link so I can benefit from your spending. :)

If you go to their website from this link, it automatically knows you want to support this program. If for any reason that does not work, when you go to check out, step #4 is "School Credit Promotion (Optional)". You can either enter the code for Happy Holler Circle, which is 628475, or enter Knoxville in the search bar and choose from those options.

I would never ask you to buy things I do not actually recommend, so I wanted to make a list of items that I either have used or are on my wish list! In no particular order, here are 15 For Small Hands items I wanted to bring to your attention:

1. Stools are really common in Montessori spaces because we want children to be able to reach everything. This white folding step-stool is great for tiny spaces. It folds flat to about 1 1/4" thick, and it has a carrying handle built into the top. It also holds up to 300 lbs, and feels really sturdy. I have seen this get heavy use in a classroom and still hold strong.

2. The artful skwish is a fascinating for very young babies up through young toddlers. The design of the cord and wood makes it easy to hold, and it is one of the first objects babies are capable of manipulating independently. I am a huge fan of it.

3. The pop-up toy is one of the next items on my list to buy for the classroom! It is fun for children from around one year old, when they start to become interested in putting one object inside of another one. I've even watched parents play with this one. There is a little spring in the bottom that makes the figures POP out if you them press hard, and I have watched a room full of children do this together and giggle.

4. This glass pitcher is a staple in Montessori classrooms. It holds about 16 oz, and it is a sturdy and wonderful option for children learning to pour their own drinks. It also cleans easily and is dishwasher-safe!

Related - real glass glasses! They have both a 5 oz option (pictured) for children 3+ and the CUTEST 2 oz option. The two oz glasses are the size of a shot glass and perfect for infants and toddlers just learning to use an open cup. If they spill, it's only 2 ounces! In my experience, they can and do break, but they are thick and durable as far as glass goes.

5. If you have a new helper in the kitchen, the vegetable chopper with wooden handle is a good first knife. It requires the use of two hands - one on the handle and one on top - which helps to reinforce "safe" places for hands while using a knife before they are practicing with a real one! Once they are good at cutting with that one, the nylon knife set gives a little more versatility in foods they can cut.

6. Another fun item for little kitchen helpers is the egg & mushroom slicer. It's one of those kitchen gadgets that feels really unnecessary until you see how easy it is for your little one to use it. It also works on strawberries and helps those foods last just a liiiiiitle bit longer when they are broken into more bites!

7. One final kitchen item - silverware. This flatware set is the correct size for small hands. They are about 5" long, and the tines are blunted for safety. This is the kind I generally recommend for children learning to self feed using utensils over bulky plastic ones. Each piece is also sold individually.

8. For those outdoor helpers, this mini galvanized watering can only holds about 3 cups of water! Perfect for tiny hands, and perfect for allowing independence. Even if they spill half of it, it's just not a lot of water! I also love how easy it is to fill up with the top being open, and the fact that the spout is a single stream (instead of a rain spout) makes it easier for children to learn how to aim the water.

Related, cute, and so unnecessary is this recycled green glass vase set. If you pick a lot of wildflowers with your littles, this set is one of many adorable tiny vases they sell!

9. Another option for outdoor helpers are the primary garden tools. The rake in particular has been well loved in every classroom I have ever been in, but I think all of them would be used if you garden at home! They are also all sold individually - just make sure you order the 'primary' size and not 'elementary' if your child is young enough to attend my classes!

They also have kids' garden hand tools.

10. This is the first item on the list that I don't have firsthand experience with, but I wanted to include it because it checks my boxes for a children's wheelbarrow (even though it has a steep price tag). The Lil' True Temper Wheelbarrow is the right size for little ones AND the reviews say it is deep enough to haul things AND can carry a decent amount of weight. Most children's wheelbarrows are too shallow to hold much even if they could handle the weight. I am tentatively excited to find this one!

11. A variation on a work I always have on the shelf, the bolt block is another item that tends to have a long life of interest if you rotate your toys. At first they are just learning to how turn the bolts into the block, and then eventually they notice to color match the bolts to the right hole. Eventually, they realize the red screwdriver is another way they can attach the bolts - all while working on the hand strength they will need for writing!

12. The Fiskars Drill with Bits is a wishlist item for when I have a more permanent classroom space. This hand drill obviously requires adult supervision, but your little ones will love drilling holes in a big log in the backyard!

Pairs well with this Stanley Jr. Tool Set & Toolbox. Child-sized hammer, screwdrivers, measuring tape, safety glasses!

13. Crayon rocks are my favorite first crayons, even up to the preschool years. If your child is still learning a proper three fingered grip, use crayon rocks! They force the hand to shape more properly for using a pencil, and they are adorable. They also come in a larger set (Just Rocks in a Box) if you color a lot - or know you will lose some!

14. These last two are for older kids - it says 6+, but that could be more towards 3 with an interested child - is a memory match game with a twist. You match the male and female of a bird species together! I love the idea of Match a Pair of Birds for any kid that spends a lot of time outside. I will say I am not sure how many of the birds are local, which would influence how much I love it, but I still think it's neat.

15. I'm pretty sure I am obligated to include this last one because these cards are so on brand with Happy Holler Circle (look at that graph paper background!). In Flower Families, you play 'go fish' for flowers that are in the same scientific family. This would be best suited for a child that can read the family names, but it's just so neat I had to add it in. What a great way to support a budding botanist!

I hope you enjoyed browsing, and if you do end up purchasing something from the list, leave a comment and let me know how you like it! Hearing your reviews helps me know what to recommend to future families and stay current on what's available, even if it ends up being something you returned. I am particularly interested if anyone buys that wheelbarrow - I want to know if it's as good as I hope it is!

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Hi Rebekah! Lin loves the power drill screw set you have in your classroom and he loves his dad’s toolbox. Do you think the crank drill and Stanley tool set would be too advanced/unsafe for his 3rd birthday next month?

Rebekah Carpenter
Rebekah Carpenter
Sep 18, 2022
Replying to

Hey Katy! I think Lin would love both of those but would need supervision and support while learning to use them safely. For either one, I would get a big log for the yard that he can drill holes into or small flathead tacks that he can hammer - that way the tools are immediately useful for him. Happy almost 3rd birthday to Lin!

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