Best toys for Christmas (and other winter holidays)

by DaniGirl on November 15, 2005 · 14 comments

in Uncategorized

(Sheesh, as if I weren’t verbose enough, now I feel the need to qualify every reference to Christmas with an inclusion to all the other winter holidays. If I slip, it’s nothing personal. Consider yourself officially included, okay?)

It must be holiday purchase frenzy time – the toy reports are out. According to this report, the lowly cardboard box was enshrined in the National Toy Hall of Fame, along with old favourites CandyLand and the Jack In The Box.

If you’re looking for something a little more modern to wow the kiddies this year, the Canadian Toy Testing Council has released their annual (and excellent) report on the best and the worst toys of the season. They have categories like “Children’s Choice”, “Best Bets” and “Greatest Books.” You can read the report at Award Winning Toys 2006. I particularly like the look of Balloon Lagoon, under the Children’s Choice category, for Tristan this year. If you go back to the CTTC main page (my first link) you can see prior year reports as well.

This got me thinking – wouldn’t it be nice to have a thread where we talked about favourite toys and best gifts for kids? Sort of like our own bloggy toy testing council. For example, last year we got Simon this Playskool Ball Popper. Not only does Simon love it and still play with it a year later, but Tristan loves it, I love it, and every kid who comes over to play loves it. It is noisy, but so are my kids, so that doesn’t bother me much.

Our gift list this year will be, as usual, full of all things Thomas, with a healthy dose of Bob thrown in for good measure. The boys (and their father) love these toys so much that it’s hard to resist the tidal pull of them. In addition to a roundhouse, a DVD and some Thomas lego, I managed to find a 36 piece puzzle that will keep Tristan busy for hours. We’re also hoping to expand his train horizons with a GeoTrax set. Simon is a little harder to buy for, as he isn’t as demanding or particular as his brother. I’m thinking along the lines of musical or creative expression for him.

What do you think? What are your favourite toys? What are your kids’ favourite toys? What toys would you only give to your evil sister-in-law’s mouthy brats? What will they still be playing with in January? What toys did you bury in the backyard at first thaw?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BeachMama November 15, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Toys πŸ™‚ Ahhh, J loves his Geotrax so much we have asked for extensions for Christmas. He will also be adding to his Thomas set and will be receiving a Guitar.
We are contemplating purchasing more Lego! we have several packages of Lego left lying around by his older brother. He loves them to death! The only problem is the base set seems to be missing over half of the larger pieces used to build and the other sets are all “Star Wars” ships.
Other than that we are hoping to keep the rest of the toy purchases down to a minimum and getting a few more books and PJ’s πŸ™‚

2 Dean Dad November 15, 2005 at 1:50 pm

The Boy is all about building – legos, Thomas tracks, puzzles. If he can manipulate it and make it into something, he’s a happy camper.
I love when he combines them. He has built lego overpasses over Thomas tracks, and has even had his walking Godzilla wreak havoc in lego cities. He even uses matchbox cars to mark the streets in his lego cities. When The Girl attacks his structures, though, it ain’t pretty.

3 Renee November 15, 2005 at 2:41 pm

I love the Cranium games. And my kids also like Pixter. It’s expensive, but worth it. They’re also all about Furby this year, but how annoying are those?!

4 kris November 15, 2005 at 2:47 pm

Well, thanks for two great ideas (the ball popper and the cranium game — I hadn’t seen that one). I’m feeling a little at a loss because my boys have so much already. They LOVE K’NEX, all things matchbox, and the Imaginext castle and pirate ship. We may be adding to those collections. I don’t know why they’ve never gotten into trains too much. Great idea to have a toy thread though. I’ll come back if I get any brilliant ideas. πŸ™‚

5 Alliemom November 15, 2005 at 2:56 pm

Sister in law’s mouthy brats?!!LMAO!! You must have been referring to me!!
My daughter wants new sunglasses and a dress. WTF? Whatever happened to barbie?!!

6 suze November 15, 2005 at 3:34 pm

mike’s almost 4-year-old niece loves her baby tad doll from the leapfrog series. we gave it to her the christmas she was 16 months and she still loves it.
other than gifts for the niece, we haven’t had much exposure to toys lately. but i know i loved my fisher price ‘popcorn popper’ full of brightly coloured balls and it made lots of noise. drove my parents nuts but it was my favourite toy from the time i could walk until i discovered doll houses a few years later…

7 SilverCreek Mom November 15, 2005 at 4:18 pm

AS Tritan does…Nathan loves his Thomas set and Yes we too are buying the roundhouse and a few extra tracks and a few more of the trains…i’ve been given orders. LOL! Anything with wheels is cool for nathan although I’m going to get him Caribou this year becasue soo many mom’s last year loved this. I’ve seen it at Chapters. Plus it wouldn;’t be Chritmas if we didn’t go to the Johne Deere dealer and buy him some asscessries for his tractor. To Scale.

8 Momsey November 15, 2005 at 4:50 pm

I’ve already added to his LeapPad books (on sale right now at Toy’s R Us)and have bought crafty things…markers, finger paints, a smock, scissors. I figure that he should be exposed before he goes to school next year. I’ve also picked up some more bath toys, his are pretty pathetic with just some squirty things he was given as an infant.
We bought my niece the Balloon Lagoon game, she loves it but becomes frustrated with placing the ballons in the holes, when you get close to filling your holder, they don’t fit in easily and pop out.
I haven’t thought about too much else at this point.
Thanks for the ideas! Keep them coming!

9 jo(e) November 15, 2005 at 5:25 pm

The toys that ended up getting used most in my household over the years were the traditional ones: wooden blocks, wooden train set, lego blocks, tinker toys, and rag dolls.
I live near a place where I can buy wooden train track pieces at wholesale prices and we have a huge set. I am saving them so I can play trains with my grandchildren. I love setting up traintracks.

10 nancy November 16, 2005 at 1:29 am

Well….this year in this house it is all about the Buzz. We are currently feeding into a very sincere and passionate OBSESSION with Buzz Lightyear. I just spent a small fortune at the Disney Store last w/e (and yes Dani, but you were away). It is FUN FUN FUN.
We are also adding to our other newfound fun – Rescue Heroes. We may also very well be getting a round house for our train set – I want one!!! Also getting some walkie talkies (did shopping with the grandmother too). Oh and little CD walkmans too!! Gonna be SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!
Dani – jsut a Ballon Lagoon note for you, we gave it to our nephew for his 5th b-day and he was ‘just’ ready for it, you may want to opt for something else for T for another year?? Just my opinion, as you know, I always have one.

11 Running2Ks November 16, 2005 at 1:38 am

My girls love dress up and kitchen and anything pretend. And video games.

12 Running2Ks November 16, 2005 at 1:39 am

I’m a Mexican Train dominoes, poker, board game girl (Monopoly, Yahtzee)

13 Suzanne November 16, 2005 at 4:49 pm

Right now, we are on an All Thomas, All the Time kick. I just can’t get over how much time my son can spend driving those trains around. He sometimes sets up tracks, but often he’s content to just use the coffee table (which we have officially decreed a train table, scratches be darned) or the floor.
Puzzles are also a big favorite.

14 andrea November 17, 2005 at 3:58 am

Good ideas everyone, but for a bit of a switch here’s my list of toys that are not allowed entry into our home, no matter who the giver is. (The in-laws have been warned!)
– Anything related to Bratz aka Mutant Barbies on Botox
– Tickle-me/Dance-alot/I’m-a noisy-imagination-squasher Ernie/Elmo/whoever
– Drums

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