Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide: Our Favorite Toys

As Christmas shopping time is now in full swing, today I wanted to share some of our favorite toys.

Unlike some moms I know, I actually love toys.  I don't love cheap, overly-loud electronic, and ugly toys; but I love high-quality toys that inspire so much fun and creativity in my children.  I like to give these kinds of toys as well, but some high-quality toys can be very pricey. 

Luckily, there is still plenty of good stuff to choose from that works with my very moderate (around $15) gift budget.  Take a look at my top picks:

 - Legos - Legos are not cheap, but in my opinion, they are practically the best toy out there.  Nothing will keep my four year old occupied as long or quietly as building with her Duplos.  And you can actually get a decent Legos set for $15 or under, such as this perfect starter set for a younger child or this neat police helicopter for a more experienced builder.

 - Fisher Price Dog Pull Toy - So simple, yet so beloved.  My girls each have one of these, and I gave one to my cousin in the past.  They are so cute, and they inspire endless fun.  And they're a real bargain at easily under $10!

 - Little People - Okay, they're not quite as cool as the old smaller Little People that we played with as hand-me-downs from my uncles, but I still think the modern chunky plastic Little People are a great toy for 1-4 year olds. All kids of this age seem to enjoy roll playing with a make-believe town.  There are tons of cute sets, from a car wash to a farm to a Nativity set!  Compare prices in different places for different sets, but note that right now has free shipping until Dec. 10!

Melissa and Doug Puzzles - Everyone I know loves Melissa and Doug!  Their wooden toys are high quality yet moderately priced.  We have a number of their puzzles for different age levels, and they're the best.  My four year old especially has loved these four puzzles in a box (there are various different sets) and this ballerina puzzle.

- Play Kitchens - This is one of the most long-lasting toys for children; they will spend many years wanting to imitate their parents.  My girls are always heading over to theirs throughout the day to "make tea" or to "feed" me.  Although you can get some very expensive play kitchens, did you know that Amazon has 843 items in the "under $25" section for the search "play kitchen"?  Some of these are dish sets, but there are actually some kitchens at this price.  This one is cute for $24.99 is cute and I love this Alex Toys tabletop stove.  Or if you wanted to stick with just $15 or under, get the Melissa & Doug Cutting Food or Slice and Bake Cookie Set.  They are the best!

 - Playdough - The classic!  Playdough is a great gift to give for a birthday party or for any time you need a generic, inexpensive kid gift.  For one thing, you can get a really cool set for very little money, such as this Play-Doh Magic Swirl Ice Cream Shoppe or this Fun Factory Set.  Also, even if the kid already has playdough, it always dries up after a while and you can always have more.  My girls can spend a glorious afternoon doing playdough anytime I'm willing to put up with the mess!

Note: most of my toys picks are for preschoolers and under, since that is what I have.  I'd love your suggestions in the comments for great toys for older children, as well as your favorite toys for this age group.

Check out Works for Me Wednesday for other great tips.

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1 comment:

  1. My kids love Playmobil - I think it works great for all ages (for smaller kids just put away the little pieces, though my 2yr old loves putting the hats on the people :) It is a great growing into toy brand that lasts


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