Gift Guide #3: Toys! Toys! Toys!

November 14, 2012

toy gift guide

This post is sponsored by eBay. From the new to the hard to find, when it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.

By Gabrielle.

At our house, Santa brings something to read, something to wear and something to play with (you can read more about how we do it here). And this list is the play with list. My kids would be delighted with everything pictured. In fact, we’ve bought several of these items — so I know they’re truly kid approved!

1) First up, the Symphony in B by B.Toys. We have this amazing toy and I can tell you that I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard it won Toy of the Year. It’s pretty fantastic. And it’s made for kids 3-13 years old, so it’s a fun one for the whole family. You may not be able to resist it yourself!

2) This silver tricycle is so sleek! I love the color (it looks like it would age well) and I love the styling of the winged hubcabs. With a big red bow, this would make any girl or boy’s Christmas morning.

3) How about a fantastic wind-up tin robot? There are 4 styles and you wind it with a little metal key! Very low tech. Very high charm. This one is perfect for a stocking.

4) I love toys like this! Blocks are appealing to people of all ages, and these are especially well-designed. I like to keep toys like this in the living room — even when they’re in a jumble on the floor, they still look great.

5) Tech + kids can be tricky, because tablets are so fragile! But this Kurio Tablet from eBay is made specially for kids. It has everything you want from a tablet and comes with a kid-safe bumper.

6) This is the best little tea set we’ve come across. It’s not plastic! The colors and design are lovely, and the pieces feel good in your hand — like the real thing. A total bargain at $10.

7) It’s fun to have something “big” under the tree! If you live in a snowy area, sleds are a smart choice because you can put them to use right away instead of waiting till the next season. The Zipfy gets great reviews.

8) These dolls from Petit Collage couldn’t be more charming. The patterned textiles are beautiful and you just know they would be cherished by your little ones. Cute sitting on a bed. Cute being dragged around the house behind the two-year-old. An heirloom in the making.

9) I can’t remember the last Christmas morning at our house that didn’t involve Nerf guns! (Available at eBay.) Just remember to buy at least two — one Nerf gun = annoying, two Nerf guns equal hours of running around the house/yard/neighborhood chasing each other.

I’d love to know, what toys are being requested at your house this year?

P.S. — Gift Guide for Book Lovers, and a Plugged In Gift Guide. 

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christa the BabbyMama November 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

I love the trike and the robot!


2 Helen November 14, 2012 at 10:25 am

We love the Ikea tea set. I bought a set for my girls a few years ago and it is surprisingly hardy. We have had a few pieces broken, but not many. I bought a second set last year and now we have enough for all the girls’ dolls to party.


3 Design Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Surprisingly hardy is the perfect description.


4 Gina November 14, 2012 at 10:47 am

That bike looks awesome! My husband works for a bike company and I bet they don’t sell these!


5 Donna C. November 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

Love the symphony toy. I’m tempted to get it even though my girls are 6 and 11.


6 Design Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Ages 6 and 11 are ideal. It’s made for all ages of kids, from toddler to teen. I bet your girls would love it if they’re into making music.


7 Fiona November 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

My 3 year old has a good collection of “Thomas” trains but has asked for a Gordon, when I asked why he particularly wanted/needed Gordon, he said – he was tired of playing with the imaginary Gordon


8 Design Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Fiona! That’s the cutest story ever.


9 Becca F November 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

Have you seen the toy catalog by Land of Nod? It totally blew my mind!


10 Design Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm

This is the second year with no holiday catalogs and I miss them! I’ll have to look up their collection on line.


11 anja November 14, 2012 at 11:59 am

I like the Ikea tea set. Other than that we just go with good old lego and playmobil.


12 Design Mom November 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I remember years like that! Ralph was obsessed with Legos for ages and it was so easy to shop for birthdays and holidays. Love that!


13 shannon austin November 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

We got our first Zipfy just before we moved to Germany last winter…and this fall, I ordered another because it was so popular with both of our girls! (Even my just-turned-2-year-old loved it, which was kind of surprising because it really moves.) So now in our garage we have 2 red ones, a #5 and a #7. Not sure what the numbers mean. Highly recommend! (Like Becca F I also love the Land of Nod — and like you, I miss *some* of the catalogs. But not that many!)


14 Jeannie November 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm

As a longtime reader, I have to say that I’m surprised to see the Nerf guns on this list. I’m conflicted because my daughters have been asking for them for years and I know (from their playdates with kids who have them) that they can be hours of relatively harmless fun but… They are guns! I would love to know more about your thoughts on this, actually, since those things are on their wishlists again this year, and the puppy and Xbox are definitely not happening.


15 Christina November 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I also have questions about the Nerf gun … my boys are 6 and 3 and I know the 6-year-old is ready but the little guy wants to do every thing brother does but I don’t think I’m quite ready for his gun play. Gabrielle, your kids are varying ages, how did you handle this?


16 Jennifer November 15, 2012 at 12:17 am

I like to overthink a lot of issues, but this is not one of them. I have observed that kids will make sticks or other objects into their play guns even if you choose not to purchase toy guns for them. I teach my kids to be kind and careful with others and to respect the personal space of others. Nerf guns are for fun and are never used to terrorize anyone in our house. Having said all of that, I do respect other parents and their rights to decide what is best for their families. :)


17 Design Mom November 15, 2012 at 3:54 am

Hi Christina! There are so many great toy options. If you’re feeling like it’s not quite time to introduce toy guns, I’d say skip it.


18 Design Mom November 15, 2012 at 3:52 am

Hi Jeannie! Toy weapons are tricky. We were so careful to avoid all toy weapons when Ralph and Maude and Olive were little. I don’t think we had a single one in all of our 8 years in New York. (Though even then, Ralph would make weapons out of sticks or legos — or even duplos.) And we’ve never allowed them to play violent video games of any sort.

But once Ralph started making movies, we ended having weapons exceptions. A cap gun for a cowboy scene. A samurai sword he picked up at a garage sale to use as a prop. So Oscar, Betty and June are spending their early years in a house that does have toy weapons.

As for nerf guns, the one I pictured does look very weapon-y, but there are tons of styles available, and some are much more “toy” looking, and geared for younger kids. Nerf wars among the whole family have ended up being lots of fun for us. But if my kids seemed to be especially drawn to weapons, or had a real mean streak, I’m sure I wouldn’t feel so casual about them.

I think it’s one of those parenting calls that everyone has to make based on their own kids.


19 Tasha November 15, 2012 at 4:01 am

I’m laughing since our “toys” get bigger and better – son 26, husband 46!!! It never ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


20 Patricia | unfounddoor November 15, 2012 at 6:31 am

My husband wanted the ikea teaset to use for our morning espresso – gift for all the family. Ha.

Gabrielle – I just wanted to say how refreshing and much appreciated it is that your gift guide doesn’t designate toys as for boys or girls. As a feminist hoping to raise my son as both a feminist and someone who can pursue whatever his interests are, I get so sad to see so many sites with tea sets ‘for girls’ as though boys don’t make fantasy play, or ‘trucks for boys’ as though girls don’t also want to play with these.

Boo to gender stereotyping, yay for designmom is i guess what I wanted to say!


21 Design Mom November 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Too funny! I hadn’t noticed I’d kept the language gender neutral until you pointed it out. I suppose it’s part of being a parent of both boys and girls, at our house all the kids play with all the toys. : )

Thanks for giving me such generous credit, Patricia! I appreciate it.


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