In past years I wrote a series of holiday gift guide posts, but this year I decided to focus just on one category. I hope that you’ll enjoy these gift ideas, and please add some of your own in the comments section as we all begin our last minute shopping!
(HASBRO/ages 3 years and up/ARV: $14.99 to $29.99)
I first met the Adventure Heroes at the BlogHer conference last summer and was thrilled to see a toy that nicely bridged the gap between toddler toys and big kid boy toys. I’ve struggled to find appropriate toys for my four year old son because so many toys seem to leap from baby toy to weapons and scary action figures. Adventure Heroes are age appropriate action figures that will keep pre-school age boys entertained without the need for characters that are too mature for their audience. The Hero Talk assortment make for perfect stocking stuffers, while the Hero on the Go Playsets are perfect for a Santa or grandparent gift. What I like best about these toys is that they store inside themselves making it less likely that little hands will lose the little figures. Want more figures for your children’s sets? You can also pick up the Adventure Heroes Figure Pack Assortment for an average price of $9.99, another great stocking stuffer idea.
(HASBRO/ages 3 years and up/ARV: $9.99 to $39.99)
For little guys who fell in love with Chuck the Talkin’ Truck last holiday season, these motorized playsets are the perfect present. Ranging from the individual stunt trucks (Chuck, Handy, Rowdy, and Boomer) to the large set, Chuck’s Stunt Park, these sets can be rearranged individually or brought together to complement one another. I like to find toys for my children that are not “one hit wonders” because they provide more opportunities for future use as well as gift ideas. Did Santa bring Handy’s Hangtime Bridge? Perfect! Then maybe some more individual stunt trucks would make a perfect birthday present. If your child is not interested in a playset, Chuck is also back this year as Tonka Chuck & Friends Rumblin’ Chuck, perfect for ages 3 years and up and available for $39.99.
(HASBRO/ages 4 years and up/ARV: $14.99)
We have been fans of the FurReal Friends line of products for two years now, and this year’s collection of newborns is no exception. Each pet comes with an accessory and an adoption certificate. I love that these products provide an opportunity for the little guys to “nuture” and “care for” a toy without the need for a pink and purple doll covered in hearts and flowers. My personal favorite is the tough looking newborn puppy with his orange and blue bone. Boys can pet their puppy to hear doggy sounds or watch as she lays her head down to sleep. The newborn chimp and bear cub are also favorites!
(PLAYMOBIL/ages 4 years and up/ARV: $6.99 to $169.99)
I still remember the Playmobil sets I played with in my own home and daycare as a child, and they continue to be made incredibly well and hold the interest of children. Right now we are opening a new Playmobil box each night as part of the Playmobil Advent Calendar, and I love that my kids continue to play with their sets throughout the evening, watching them grow and develop with each new component that arrives. Playmobil playsets are particularly great gifts because they allow open ended play and focus on themes, not on branded characters tied to television shows. Parents can choose to purchase a series of small sets to use together or invest in a larger set that also works with the smaller components. Because they are available at so many price points, they also make great gifts from grandparents.
(HASBRO/ages 4 years and up/ARV: $3.99 to $79.99)
The vehicles available from Tonka Garage range from a single die cast Tread Shifter to the Ricochet RC Vehicle, a double-sided stunt vehicle. The coolest thing about this line from Tonka is that they go far beyond your typical die cast vehicle. The Tread Shifters come with supersized tires and have an adjustable suspension. This allows your child to change both the look of the trucks as well as the way he plays with them. With a starting price of $3.99, these also make a great last minute gift or stocking stuffer!
(FISHER-PRICE/ages 2 years and up/ARV: $70.00)
CART STOPPER ALERT! This is the toy that makes every cart stop, if not because the child in the cart demands to stop, then because the child walking next to the cart simply refuses to move along until they’re done making Mickey dance. My son has been asking for Dance Star Mickey ever since I hosted the Twitter Party to launch him onto the shopping scene. When I asked him what he would like to do with Mickey, he yelled, “Dance with him every day!” As much as he loved Mickey online, he loves him even more in person. This toy is a hit.
(LEAPFROG/ages 4 to 9/Explorer Camera and Video Recorder – $24.99, Leapster Explorer – $59.99)
We reviewed this item awhile back and it has become one of the absolute favorite toys in our home. My son begs to play it every day, and the games that are available for the Leapster Explorer are outstanding. Recently we also received the Camera and Video Recorder attachment which takes the Explorer to the next level allowing the kids to record video, take and store pictures. Once stored in the Explorer they can manipulate the pictures, doodle on them and more. If you are considering the Leapster Explorer, I simply cannot recommend it enough, and if you have the Explorer, I also highly recommend the Camera and Video Recorder add on. The amount of joy this has brought our kids is immeasurable.
(MATTEL/ages 5 years and up/ARV: $45.00)
This is the first toy that I purchased this year for my son because not only did it catch his eye in every catalog mailer that came to our home, but I also remember having the HotWheels Criss Cross Crash Track Set when I was a kid. Yes, I bought this partly based on sentimental value. The fact remains that HotWheels track sets remain a favorite of my four year old, and this is one of the most fun sets out there!
Hasbro: Visit HasbroGiftShop.com for FREE shipping with no minimum order
Playmobil: Order by the 19th via UPS Express from Playmobilusa.com for guaranteed Christmas delivery; some Playmobil items are ON SALE and eligible for FREE SHIPPING from ToysRUs.com.
Dance Star Mickey: While Dance Star Mickey is out of stock online at ToysRUs.com and Target.com, I have seen him in stock at both stores. Check in store availability on the website before visiting the store. He is available online at Walmart.com for a low price of $69.o0 with site to store shipping available.
LeapFrog: Save $20 right now on select Leapster Explorer gift packs at Leapfrog.com.
Disclosure: Some of the items above were sent to me to review either this year or at some point in the past. All opinions are my own.