I’ve been totally overwhelmed by Christmas marketing this year. (Ironic, coming from a marketer, I know.) One second every toy I see seems like the perfect gift idea, then I get distracted by something else and completely forget about the must-have item. Then I think, my kids don’t really need anything anyway (which is true, but tell that to Santa).
So, even though I’m really focusing on getting caught up in the spirit of the season and not the shopping lists, I thought it would be fun to share my kids’ favorite toys (yes, they are boy-ish boys!). Of course my hope is that you’ll share yours too (in the comments), and we can inspire each other to get a few great toys/books/etc. our kids will really enjoy, rather than a bunch of stuff kiddie actors get paid to make look irresistible on TV.
As many of my friends know, my favorite place to get baby gifts is on FlyingPeas.com. It was started just in time for Big’s arrival by a fun, hip mom I’m lucky enough to know, Terra, who’s tracked down the coolest threads, accessories and toys out there. My favorite items are personalized onesies like these: name onesies, DIY onesies and movie production onesies. She also carries Sophie (who seriously has magical powers over young children) and the wonderous Elf on the Shelf (who started making sure our kids were all nice and no naughty last year…Big can’t wait for the Elf to return!).
New moms and dads shouldn’t be left out either. I know there are lots of great name necklaces out there, but the detail and styling on the one Lenny got me at FlyingPeas gets me all kinds of compliments (and who doesn’t love having a chance to brag about the kiddos?). Holding a spitting up baby is much cooler when dad’s rocking this football burp cloth.
NOTE: While you’ll want to “Like” the FlyingPeas FB page anyway, you’ll see they’re advertising 20% off your order today (Friday) using coupon code THANKS20 and 10% off your order this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) using coupon code THANKS10. Thanks Terra!
Our playroom can often look like Geoffry the Giraffe threw up in there. We have more than enough (until I can get myself to our local shelter to share the goods), but there are a few tried and true favorites in our house.
Vtech KidiJamz DJ Table– Both of my boys LOVE this and their friends do too. They can mix their own music, sing along, record it and carry it around with them on the removable player. The mom-friendly ear phones make this one of my favorite toys too!
Firehouse from Land of Nod– I love that wooden toys like this leave the work to my kids’ imaginations. No bells and whistles, but a lot of creative, quiet play. NOTE: Land of Nod is offering free shipping until Monday with coupon code FROSTY.
Bruder trucks– Santa brought the recycling truck last year, Grandma and Grandpa gave Big the tow truck for his birthday and the DHL truck is at the top of this year’s list. We got a catalog at the toy store about 6 months ago and Big sleeps with it every night just hoping that Santa will work his magic and keep ’em coming. They’re great quality and have provided hours and hours of entertainment in our house.
Guitar and standing mic– These are serious showstoppers if you have little entertainers on your hands.
Leapfrog Tag– Since Big gave up naps last year, I thought the Tag would give me some afternoon quiet time. It hasn’t quite worked that way, but he does enjoy it (and Little has the Junior). It’s been great for learning sounds, sight words and creating a sense of independence/confidence when it comes to reading.
Soccer Guys– My boys can’t get enough of sports—even when it comes to downtime. Big loves setting up the field, cheering on his guys and, yes, he even sleeps with the little plastic guys.
Magna-tiles– We don’t have these, but they’re at the top of my list this year. Our preschool and our friends seem to think these are well worth the investment.
And if you find that no matter how many stores and websites you wander, you’re still coming up short (or you have a husband who’s incredibly hard to shop for), check out You + Me. I met one of the owners, Elisabeth, at BlogHer and I thought this was such a cool concept. You give them a gift-giving challenge and they’ll come back to you with creative ideas. I might be trying this out this year…
What are your kids’ favorites? (Or your biggest purchase regrets?) Fun ideas for other family members? Friends? Hostess gifts? Share any great ideas you’re willing to…I’ll be looking forward to them.
I love those onesie ideas! Perfect for the two baby gifts I have to buy. We used to have a toy microphone on a stand, but when my son was 2 he tripped and impaled himself on it. The mike went through his mouth up into the back of his throat and on the roof of his mouth. The blood was horrifying. He’s alright, of course, but that experience made me throw out that microphone immediately! Oddly enough, he still loves music. I shudder every time I see one of those toy mikes.
Oh my goodness, I can see why you’d be anti-mic. I should have included a legal disclaimer on this post! Glad your little guy is ok and still loves music.
My son and daughter’s favorite was their wooden train set. We would set up track all over the house, in and out of our “tents” and up & over the dog bed. I’ve kept every piece and every once and a while we pull them out for fun. Pretty remarkable considering my son is turning 18 this week! I loved toys that did not require batteries. The imagination and creativity still brings laughter to my heart – not to mention we never had to worry about finding replacements!
Thanks for your FB idea about Discovery toys too! My kids are lukewarm on trains, but I know if you have a train lover, they’re wonderful and truly last a lifetime. My kids enjoy playing with my brother’s when we go to visit my parents!
I wanted to share a couple great comments people left on this post on Facebook. Thanks, ladies!
Jennifer: Our son is newly and completely consumed by the wooden Thomas trains. I have been lucky to find a lot at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I’ve also seen some Bruder trucks very recently at Marshall’s and Home Goods. Red Envelope has some super cute customizable gifts for new babies and moms.
Kristin: So the blog crashed in the middle of my reply (epic fail) – I swear I think im electromagnetic or something. What I was trying to say was that I’m a huge fan of gifting experiences over things. Zoo and museum memberships, parks & rec classes, etc are all a great way to enrich the family and keep the playroom clean 🙂
Yes to the magna-tiles (I think I’ve raved about them to you before)! Great for both the 4 year-old and the 2 year-old and the baby who puts them in his mouth (third child…) The structures have gotten taller, bigger and more elaborate that I convinced myself we needed two sets… why?!?! The kids also love lego (duplos and the little ones too) – it’s great to see their creative minds build elaborate little cities better than I ever could.