When I was a child, the three gifts that topped my holiday list were Lite Brite, Easy Bake Oven and a Barbie Dream House.
I never got the Barbie Dream House because it was too expensive. Lite Brite just didn’t live up to the hype. It was a toy with a great commercial, but the hours and hours of fun promised were simply not delivered. And my mom hated that toy with its way too many tiny little pegs. The Easy Bake Oven on the other hand, I really liked. So much so that when my own daughter was seven or eight years old, my eyes lit up when I saw it on the Toys R Us shelves. I saw us having hours of fun making tiny treats together. Turns out The Easy Bake Oven was not as sweet as I remembered at all. Maybe our taste in baked goods was too elevated or light bulbs just can’t bake like real ovens, but that gift was a dud.
My point is that sometimes a toy looks great on TV or sounds like it will provide tons of fun and it’s just is not worth the money. So with Christmas less than a week away, I started to think about the gifts I have bought my own kids that really delivered.
Here is my list (electronics excluded) of 8 No Fail Toys For Kids:
1) Pretend kitchen and food
A pretend kitchen takes up some space, but provided both my kids (daughters and son) hours of entertainment. I ate many pretend meals that were way better (and less caloric) than our Easy Bake Oven attempts. Kids love a shopping cart too.
2) Roller Coaster (Step 2)
The Step 2 Roller coaster provided hours and hours of fun for years and years. Other kids still talk about spending time at my house playing with it. It does take up a lot of space but, it can be broken down for easy storage
3) Polly Pockets
My girls had American Girl dolls but dollar for dollar, Polly Pockets provided them with much more fun. Whenever we traveled, I bought a small set for the plane and it kept them occupied. I’m not sure I would like these as much now with my middle age eyesight—those little jackets and shoes are tinye and hard to put on—but still a winner.
4) Matchbox cars
Inexpensive, travels easy, and ignites imaginative play. Enough said.
5) Nerf basketball hoop
When I tell my son no more screens for the day, he immediately goes to his room to shoot hoops. The kid actually breaks a sweat! The Little Tikes outdoor hoop is also terrific.
6) Art Supplies
You can never go wrong with crayons, markers, finger paint, glue sticks, and other art supplies. Hands down, they are the best for creativity. Do yoursef a favor and leave the glitter projects for school.
7) Board Games
Personally, I am not a fan of board games with long detailed instructions. Our family favorites are Connect Four, Life, Wits and Wagers, Scategories, Apples to Apples, Scrabble and Bananagrams.
8) Stuffed animal and dolls
Cannot imagine my kids without their AB Elmo, dolly or doggie.