Not a parent, but have kids to buy for this Christmas? Unsure of what to buy? Here are a few ideas that will get played with constantly and not annoy parents.
Hide and Play
Remember building forts, spaceships, castles or caves out of cushions and towels? Well, kids still love forts and takes it to a whole new level. Using sticks and ball joints, a structure can be built in minutes and put away in minutes. Plus it is less likely to topple over like those of yesteryear.
Why: Hours of imaginary play that transforms with the kids as they grow.
Ages: 2 – 8 years. Younger kids (2+) will love hiding. The older kids (6+) will love building.
Approx. Price: $50
Where to buy: Laugh Play Learn (in store), Chapters/ Indigo (online), MasterMind Toys (online), ToysRUs (online /in store)
Tip: Pick up a king-sized flat bed sheet at Ikea in a bright colour and a couple of Crazy Fort Lights to make it a really awesome present.
It’s Easy Being Green
PlanToys are ideal for the environmentally-conscious and toxin-concerned families. They are made from organic rubberwood and non-toxic glue and paint. More importantly, they will delight kids. An owner of Tiny Footprint Toys, Andrea, says her 4 year old constantly plays with his fire truck and her 2 year old is getting the breakfast menu play food. Personally, I’m in love with their ultra modern Eco doll house.
Why: Feel-good, heirloom quality toys that are fun.
Ages: 0 – 5 years (depending on the toy)
Where to buy: Tiny Footprint Toys (Edmonton-based online store)
Approx. Price: $7 and up. Many great toys in the $20 - $50 range.
Lego my Lego
Lego is pure creative fun for everyone! The Star Wars collection won a ‘best toy’ award and is great for boys aged 7 – 10. For the budding architect, start off his collection with Lego Building Fun. While Duplo (larger blocks) develop small motor skills and imagination in preschoolers. They come in basic sets and fun movie themes.
Why: The limit on this toy is simply imagination.
Ages: All ages (check the box for suggested age)
Where to buy: Lego (online), Kites and Other Delights (instore), ToysRUs (online/ instore),
Approx. Price: $8 and up. depending on the size of the building set.
Melissa & Doug is a line of toys that entertain, educate and facilitate imagination. Each toy we own gets played with constantly. Our favourites are the Band in a Box, Bake and Decorate Cupcakes, and wooden Food Groups. They also have nice wooden puzzles. But the most unique gift for travelling families is Trunki. This cute suitcase is easy to pull and sturdy enough for kids to ride on.
Why: These durable toys will delight them.
Ages: 0 – 9 (depending on the toy.)
Where to buy: Audreys Books (in store) Kites and Other Delights (in store), Chapters/ Indigo (online), MasterMind Toys (online)
Approx. Price: $10+
Create a solar rover, weather station, potato clock or windmill generator on the kitchen table. These hands on kits from 4M sound really cool. Some of them have won awards. We haven’t tried them yet, but would like to!
Why: It’s a craft that works.
Ages: 7 to 12
Where to buy: Scholars Choice (online /in store), Chapters/ Indigo (online)