Hit Toys from the Holidays

I thought I’d share the hit toys (a la Kate) from Christmas so far. Whenever I hear of an awesome book/toy/puzzle, I add it to a private Amazon list so that I have A) a lot of ideas to choose from to make shopping easy when it’s time to buy for our own kids for Christmas/Birthdays and B) a great list of ideas that are age appropriate for our friends’ kids. I try to buy for a little bit ahead of where they are so they grow into gifts, rather than buying for their immediate age level (as long as safety’s not a concern), and I’ve had good success with this. So here are some of our hits in the toy department:

Gifts for a 6 Month Old (that the 2 1/2 year old plays with, too)

Santa brought Nell the Fisher Price Learning Home. I held off on this when all our friends bought them for their kids when Thomas was an infant, not seeing the appeal. But I love Amazon lists for gift ideas for my kids’ next stages, and the reviews and lists sung this toy’s praises. And it’s a hit – mostly with Thomas right now, he sits and plays with it all the time, but Nell will grow into it. I am 99.9% sure that Santa found this second hand and got this toy for half the list price.

B and I gave Nell the Infantino Activity triangle as her Something You Want. I like that it doesn’t require batteries, but is colorful and fun for her to play with and help develops her fine motor skills.

My mom and dad bought both Nell and my 1 year old niece the Playskool Busy Ball Popper, and it’s a hit. Nell thinks it’s fun to watch, but everyone from the 1 year old to the 3 year old was obsessed with it at Christmas. We put ours in the basement to pull out again in a few months when we need a new toy, but seeing the hit it was on Christmas, that day might come sooner rather than later.
Nell also got this roller for Christmas, which she and T both love. Thomas likes to use it as a maze to try and drop the balls from one level to the next, and Nell is working on her gross motor skills rolling (and hopefully eventually crawling) after it.

Nell also got a Coroelle Doll that we both adore (I had a very similar one when I was little) and a few other loveys, which she loves. She’s a lovey girl – wants something in both hands and a pacifier in her mouth at all times.

Gifts for a 2 1/2 Year Old Boy

Santa brought Thomas a Melissa and Doug train set (T doesn’t watch shows yet, so while he knows from his friends that there’s a train out there with his name, he hasn’t demanded Thomas themed stuff as of yet) and a Brio train table that Santa found second hand at the last minute after realizing that containing the enormous amount of train track in one spot would probably be a good call, despite originally thinking that we didn’t have enough room for a table. That Santa comes through, let me tell you.
I asked both my brother and sister-in-law and sister for games when they asked what Thomas wanted for Christmas. And they delivered! We play the Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game and Memory every single day. The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, from my brother and sister-in-law, is adorable and perfectly geared for ages 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 as a first game – teaches patience, turn taking, and there’s some fine motor skill work in there, too.  When two of us are playing, we can get through a game in under 5 minutes, and the max a round takes is 10.  Thomas could literally play this game from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed. I think “Play more more snacky squirrel, mama?” is his most used phrase in the last three weeks.
My sister, knowing her little sister and nephew to a T, opted for Alphabet memory instead of the character themed ones available at every big box store. T hasn’t quite grasped the concept of remembering where each letter is after we turn them back over, but he’s getting there, and he loves when he accidentally makes a match. These two games have been played multiple times a day every day since Christmas.
Thomas also got a National Geographic interactive globe for Christmas. He loves looking at it and touching the countries, and I feel like he’ll only get more out of it as he gets older. And B and I love it too – the day after Christmas I had to remind B that it was actually Thomas’s toy when Thomas was trying to play with it and B was in the middle of a geography quiz.

There were lots of other awesome gifts – and some of them I’ve put away in the basement to pull out in a month when we need a new activity, but I thought I’d share what the hits were so far. What are your kids loving after the holidays?
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  1. Your posts about Thomas are like a preview to me, and it is crazy to think that in six months or so, Callum will be ready to play games. I mean, simple games, obviously, but still. Crazy!

    We haven’t given this to Callum yet, but another blogger highly recommended it so I snapped it up on sale to give to him for his birthday: http://www.target.com/p/b-symphony-in-b/-/A-13832024#

  2. I’m so glad you do these posts, friend. Because I feel totally inept at picking out good toys for Henry and his development so I plan to jut but off your list the following year. 😉

    Henry loves that triangle you, too. He likes anything with that rattling sound. He also got a loud activity board thing that does numbers and letters and songs. He is obsessed and its the only thing that keeps his attention for more than a few minutes. We just put the legs on it and he really likes to stand up to it. So. I totally would have never bought it because it was loud and plastic and larger than I’d prefer. But it’s totally worth it.

    I don’t know that there were any flops, but there are some things he hasn’t grown into yet. We got the wagon walk behind at your suggestion and he does like to stand up to it. But I am excited to see him really use it.