Gift Ideas for Christmas 2014: Toys Part 1

I’m gonna say one thing right off the bat: I’m a big child, and I love toys, and there are a lot of cool ones around these days, so it’s going to be hard to choose just a few. Therefore I’m going to do three of these toy posts to spread things out a bit. I’m also going to do my best to represent lots of different toy categories, including classic stuff, board games, video games, more affordable stuff, and more pricey stuff. So let’s get started!

Build-a-Bear Stuffed Toys

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I’m a huge fan of Build a Bear for numerous reasons. One is that their stuff is so well-made and nice-looking, not to mention being pretty resilient. Another is that they will re-stuff a previous purchase for free if it starts to get squished or worn down, which is just a nice service to have. A third one is that they make a bunch of licensed characters and they do an absolutely amazing job of making them look like the actual characters as they appear in their prospective cartoons/movies/whatever. Currently available in stores and online are a score of My Little Pony characters, all four modern-version Ninja Turtles, and Toothless from “How to Train Your Dragon”, amongst others. And right now you can even get Rudolph and Clarice from the Rankin-Bass stop motion Christmas classic. A single plush in any category averages between $25 and $30, which sounds like a lot for a stuffed animal, but they are a very decent size and very well-made. And if you want to really make the toy special, there’s a huge selection of clothing and accessories for your recipients’ little buddy. Just be warned: if you start delving into the clothes and accessories the price tag is going to rise very quickly.

Monopoly Junior

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Before you say anything, no, I am not bringing this board game up because I got it for free from Influenster. I’m bringing it up because I was genuinely impressed with it, and the fact that my daughter wanted to play it a million times in a row proves that it achieves its primary goal. This board game is a great way to introduce little ones to board games because it is easy to learn, and it is designed for the rounds to take around 10 to 20 minutes, so kids don’t get board or lose interest. There’s even a bit of an educational factor to it, since there’s counting involved, and you can use the game as a way to help teach your kids about money. At $15-$20, I personally think this is a great present that you and your little ones can enjoy together.

LeapFrog’s LeapBand

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Confession time: I haven’t actually seen this thing in action, but I do think it’s a really cute, interesting addition to the LeapFrog family. The LeapBand looks a bit like a smart-watch, and features software similar to the LeapPad “Pet Pals” games. Kids choose from a number of virtual pets, who then guide the child through fitness activities. They’ll be asked to jump, run, hop, roll, and any other number of activities, while the band monitors their motion. By completing activities the child earns rewards for their pet, levels up, and unlocks more games and activities. At $50 it’s not exactly cheap, but if you’ve got a small kid who is already becoming a bit of a couch potato, this might be just the thing to get them up and moving!

Come back tomorrow for more toy gift ideas!

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