Favorite Toys

I dislike crowded stores so I try to get most of my Christmas shopping done either before Thanksgiving or on-line. When I am able to accomplish this, the holidays end up being a lot more relaxed for me. I am always on the lookout for fun toys which also have learning value. Below are some of our favorite toys and also toys that are on our wish list. These toys are all available at the Kids Love Learning Store through Amazon.com.

Frigits are a magnetic marble maze toy I discovered about a month ago and it has been added to our Christmas wish list. Here is what one reviewer said: "My kids got this for Christmas, and it's been a huge hit - with the kids, with my husband, and with visitors of all ages. Even a young child can create a fun simple maze, and older kids (even the adult kids ;-) can make incredible twists and turns. The pieces seem to be sturdy, as they've been dropped on our floor many times with no breaks. Works with any marbles, which is nice when the original marbles roll under the stove or get batted away by the cats. It teaches about gravity, planning and executing, making contingency plans, refining... and it's incredibly fun. Highly recommended.

K'nex are a huge hit with Jacob and he has been asking for more advanced sets that have motors, pulleys, and levers. Here are a couple of sets on his wish list.

Building blocks and legos are popular toys in our house. I think these Architectural Blocks by Melissa and Doug and this Lego Creator House would inspire some fun and creative building.

In the crafts department, we have Jacob's favorite My Book of Easy Crafts by Kumon and the Melissa and Doug Deluxe Stamp Set which Rosa is getting for Christmas. I think Rosa will really enjoy making cards and pictures with this stamp set.

The Pop Bead Critters and Crayon Rubbings, both from Chicken Sox, would be great presents for a child who needs a little extra help with fine motor skills.

I love dolls! Now that I have a girl, I have a good excuse to buy them. I actually got the Corolle Kalin Yang doll for Christmas from my parents nine months before we travelled to China for Rosa. I would hold this doll when I really wanted to be holding my daughter. After Rosa came home from China, I gave the doll to her. Corolle makes beautiful dolls and some of my favorites are below.

I really like the wooden doll houses made by Melissa and Doug which are so much nicer than plastic doll houses. Shopping for girls is so much fun!

We own the Little People Nativity Set which is a very cute set for the kids to play with. After Thanksgiving is over, we get this out and the kids act out the Christmas story with it. It is nice to have a nativity set you don't have to worry about the kids breaking.

My kids like games and I have read some really good reviews about Apples to Apples Kids and Blokus. These two games are on our wish list.

We like to do puppet shows at our house and these princess and pirate puppets look like they would be fun to use in a show. We throw a blanket over our two kitchen stools spread a couple of feet apart and this has made a great free puppet stage in our home.

Last Christmas Jacob got a scooter from Grandma and riding the scooter greatly improve his balance. This summer he was able to take the training wheels off his bike and I don't think he would have been ready for this if it had not been for the scooter. Jacob was a late learner when it came to bike riding. Jacob loves his scooter and rides it all the time. I would really like to get the Radio Flyer Scooter to help Rosa with her balance.

We bought an easel for our kids that gets almost daily use with homeschooling. Jacob thinks spelling is fun because he gets to write his words on the easel. Rosa has improved her fine motor and bilateral coordination skills a great deal from using our easel to practice drawing and writing her name. This wooden easel below gets excellent ratings and is a great price too.

Our last favorite toy pick is the KidKraft Deluxe Kitchen. Rosa got this last year and both my kids have spent a great deal of time playing with this well made wooden kitchen. Some other selling points on this kitchen are its reasonable price and attractive appearance. The kitchen actually adds to the decor of Rosa's room which is pink and yellow.


Mike and Barb said...

Amy, these are great ideas. You're totally along my lines when it comes to toys.
A couple of additions you might like are the play food from HaBa (a German product) - they make wooden playfood, and they make these little tins with little playfood. Nina and her friends LOVE to play with it!
Also, as far as balance goes, the very, very best thing I have found to develop balance is a pedal-less bike. I know it sounds crazy, but check it out at Maukilo.com.
It's called
Kettler Kettrike Sprint 12in Push Bike
Ours is not quite as fancy, but there are other brands out there as well. We got this for Alex, who, with his disabilities, had a horrible time with balancing. He got it for his 4th Birthday,which was in the winter, so he wasn't really able to use it until Spring, and within weeks, he rode a bike without training wheels. You will never need a bike with training wheels again, and while the intial cost seems high, if it's a "therapeutic" thing, it's even more worth it. Nina is even starting to ride a bike without training wheels (she is soooooo close, but still a bit scared).
Love, Barb

Mamabear said...

That kitchen looks very similar to what ours use to look like. It was so pretty the first week after Christmas a few years ago. Poor thing has been thru alot. I have learned it's not made to be moved a zillion times or used as a climbing toy. It still stands with modifications and all three still love playing with it.

Amy Smith said...

Thanks for the toy suggestions Barb. I will definitely check them out. I always love to hear about great toys!

Amy Smith said...

I checked out the running bikes on Amazon.com and they sound like they are a great toy for developing balance. I have added the best rated reasonably priced balance bikes to my store and also to my own toy wish list. If anyone wants to check it out they can go to:
Thanks again for the suggestion Barb!