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Friday, November 14, 2008

Toys Worth Buying: Part Deux

Since posting my list of toys worth buying for children ages 0-2 last week, I have been asked by a few readers to keep the information coming, especially for older kids. In putting this version of the list together, I considered consulting my husband. However, I quickly realized that unless our readers are looking for a slingshot parachute flying monkey with screaming sound, this might not be the best idea.

Here’s a brief description of the toy that my husband picked out and purchased for M. (Please do not judge me by his toy choices.)

  • The Slingshot Flying Monkey is "limited edition" for 2008. (No joke!!!)
  • The monkey can be shot long distances using his elastic arms.
  • The user makes the monkey take flight by putting two fingers in the hand pockets, pulling back, and letting go.
  • Every time you shoot him, he lets out two loud monkey calls.

Lucky for you, my Toys Worth Buying list for children ages 2-4 is monkey-free:

1. Bubbles, Bubbles, Who doesn’t love Bubbles? ($15): I am cheating with this a bit because our favorite thing to do is blowing and popping bubbles. We love the Gymboree Bubble Kit, but may graduate to the One Step Ahead version because M will have more control over the bubbles.

2. Automoblox ($30): Cool and fun cars for kids and adults to play with. Collect the three smaller cars first, then consider the bigger cars because they can be pricey.

3. Babybug Magazine ($34 for a year subscription): Great way to introduce your little one to mail and affirm their love of books. It’s basically a year-long book subscription. Who doesn’t love getting mail?

4. Schylling Stacking Robots ($15): This toy officially labeled me as a cool aunt. We have a few of these robots for everyone who comes over to our house. I love playing with them and can’t wait for M to be old enough to enjoy them too. Buy two at least for more fun. Rule for buying toys at this age: buy games you want to play with your kids; otherwise it is a waste for everyone.

5. Zimbbos ($25) : Who doesn’t love a fantastic pyramid of balancing elephants? It’s a great game for kids and adults. The company, Blue Orange, offers a wonderful array of games that are award winning.

6. My First LeapPad ($45): A fun and educational toy for your kids. You can switch books when the kids get bored. Genius!

7. Green Toys Tea Set ($25): Aside from being made from recycled milk jugs, these are super cute and completely safe for kids. Perfect for tea with my neice! Now, all I have to find are silly hats and gloves to wear.

8. Photo Book (FREE): Not necessarily a toy, but a ton of fun for you and your child. M recently learned to walk, so we are having a great time with him during his exploring phase. On our long walks together, I try to remember to take my camera so that we can photograph the things we see: family, friends, neighbors, neighborhood dogs, the leaves, the park, ants, and even grocery carts. Doing so captures all of the words we are learning together.

As a Christmas gift for M, I thought it would be fun to put our photos to use. My first idea is to laminate several of the photos and create a memory game that he and I can play together. Not only will the game reinforce the words we are learning, but it will also help him to further develop his matching skills. I am also puting together an album of the photos we've taken during our walks. To my absolute delight, my timing for creating this book couldn't be better. I learned this week that, with Oprah's help, the photobook is free.

FREEBIE and COUPON ALERT: I love Oprah and have been a dedicated viewer for over four years (or ever since I got Tivo). This week, my dedication has paid off! Oprah is offering her viewers a free 20-page, 8 x 11 inch Custom Cover Photo Book from Snapfish. Offer ends at 11:59 pm on Friday, November 14.

Oprah, the most generous person on TV, is also offering her viewers a 20% off coupon at the Container Store until Wednesday, November 19th. I could spend hours in this store, but it’s so expensive. Now, through the power of Oprah, I can feel a little less guilty about my shopping...at least for a week anyway. Check out Oprah's website for additional organization and de-cluttering tips.

A final tip: If books are your thing, check out Chronicle Books. They are offering a 25% discount and free shipping with the code WHS1008. Offer ends Saturday, November 15. I know many little boys who would love the Big, Bigger, and Biggest Trucks and Diggers book.

I hope you enjoyed our list. Don't forget to enter in our cool giveaway! Mama's got a brand new bag...to give away, that is.


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Unknown said...

Hi Thuy, Nice toy recommendations. I too, am a devoted Oprah viewer, and was thrilled by the discounts she offered yesterday.

BTW, the monkey is pretty cool. If I showed that to my hubby, he would be into it as well. :)

p.s. apologies if this posts more than once. This is the first time I've left a comment in a blog and I'm experiencing tech. difficulties.

forever folding laundry said...

Great suggestions, Thuy! I like the stacking robots. The Automoblox look pretty cool, too. I hate to say this, but I'm pretty sure that by the time your little man is in the 6 year old range you're going to be adding Legos to that list as well. They'll be all over your floor, in pockets, in your washing machine, in your vacuum....

wendy said...

oh this list is fantastic.
i love that babybug magazine. everyone loves mail!
& keri's right about those legos - my brothers are huge fans. the youngest one was crushed when after he went away to college our mom gave his lego collection away to a neighbor kid.