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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

 

Ghosts of Presents Past

Deciding what toys and games to get the kids for Christmas is a real gamble. Whatever we get them, odds are they'll love it for a couple of days and then it will be gathering dust by New Year's.

I can think of only a handful of Christmas presents that saw serious playtime for more than a few months. Those are like the Holy Grail of the toy store. As I look around our toy-cluttered house, it's easy to pick out what has given us a whole lot of bang for the buck.

I pass this knowledge on to you, in case you are trying to figure out what to get your young ones this year... I've put Amazon links on most of these, if you want to read more about them...


Neon See-Me Connecting Tunnel
We've had this thing for six years and not a month has gone by when this isn't dragged out of the closet or basement for some sort of obstacle course or hide 'n' seek game. I love that it helps stir my kids' imagination. They play with it both indoors and out, and it's amazingly still in great shape.


Little Tikes Cooking Fun Kitchen
This one was pricey, but well worth the joy my daughter gets from it. She's had this in her room for two years now and still enjoys "making breakfast" for her mom and dad. The kitchen makes all kinds of sounds, like running water, sizzling bacon, popping popcorn. What's really awesome is when my daughter invites her big brother over to fix a big feast. Again, the imagination really takes off. I love toys like that.


Tub of Legos
This is a no-brainer. Legos are the best toy ever. Even I like playing with them!


Star Wars Light Saber
Forget those fancy electronic talking light sabers. Just get a couple of these basic models, one green and one blue, and watch your kids battle it out.


Cranium Cadoo
My kids' favorite board game! They don't get tired of it because of the wide variety of challenges, including charades, riddles, sculpting, and drawing. The Cranium Company has an awesome track record with its games, and this one never disappoints.


Spy Safe Cracker
This has been my son's favorite personal toy for the past year. It's a safe for locking up valuables, but it's also an extremely entertaining puzzle game with three different challenges: Sonic Match, Codebreaker, and Maze Challenge.

If you have any toys or games that have been a hit with your kids, I'd love to hear about them.


6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My girls have the same tunnel. It's good to think they might still play with that for years. I thought the Cranium games looked cool at the store, but they're probably a few years off for us (my girls are only 4 and almost 2).

What has gotten a lot of mileage for them are the LeapPad books/cartridges. They are good learning tools and involve things they like such as Dr. Seuss, The Wiggles, etc. Both girls return to those a lot.

Moreso than any specific toys, I think kids just want to play games and have fun... It seems that my girls would play hide-and-seek for hours straight if they could, even in a room where there aren't many good places to hide! And give them something safe to bounce on and they couldn't be happier.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Hliza said...

I love all these toys you recommend, but they look pricey except for the Legos..you know imported stuffs costs us a lot here..but I think I've seen the tunnel in IKEA. Maybe I'll get my kids that one first. I can't remember any toys that stays long in my kid's hands though..

11:06 AM  
Blogger boyhowdy said...

Yes, we got our tunnel in Ikea -- cheap, and I agree, it sees the light of day regularly. My kids are the same age and gender as eric's kids, so I expect it will still be in use for a while.

The LeapPad toys are big for us, too -- I second Eric's recs and raise him some wonderful alphabet and animal fridge-based magnet ones. They tend to be on sale at Toys r Us.

As for other recommendations: You can't beat one of those futon-chair-things, the all soft ones that fold from chair to long "couch" and back again. The kids build forts, slides, and more with them...snuggle on them when they watch the VERY occasional video...they put away easy, and they can be used for grown-up floor-sitting with kids, too, to save the back.

Other oft-used faves, for my kids: a yoga ball, the big kind...and, of course, versatile dress-up objects, such as crowns and our favorite, wings.

Looking forward to other recs, too -- thanks for starting this one!

1:10 PM  
Blogger stebbijo said...

I luv getting these gift ideas. i was telling my son about the spy safe cracker. It sounds perfect for my grandson.

4:57 PM  
Blogger Katrina said...

What a wonderful post! Thank you for the ideas! My kids have a much shorter version of that type of tunnel (it came with their PlayHut tent set) and even that gets constant use. Sometimes the simplest toys really are the best!

Legos are on our list for our son this year. It's been hard to find the plain and simple bucket of Legos among all the expensive smaller sets. I never thought about checking Amazon!

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so afraid that when I have children I'll spoil them rotten. I love everything do do with kids toys and books. I'll probably buy them toys just so I can use them.

Aside from Legos the single most popular toy at my house was our set of Brick Blocks. One of my cousins passed them down to my brother and I, and we used them for years. We built forts, bridges over "burning lava", obstacle courses, anything we could come up with. I think we were about 12 and 9 when my mom finally put her foot down and got rid of them because they'd fallen apart. They do take up a bit of space, but we never cared. They're even fun to clean up, because it's like building a wall!

1:22 PM  

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