To my surprise, this was the hardest section for which to choose items. I wonder why…
1. International Playthings Lift-Off Rocket: Recommended for ages 18 months+, this rocket, with a lift off sequence, rocket sounds and light up boosters, has been receiving raves from across the board. It comes with 2 astronauts, a space dog, alien, dune buggy and moon crater.
APPROX. RETAIL: $ 39.99
2. Radio Flyer Fold 2 Go Trike: Recommended for ages over 1 and a ½, this is a great, compact award-winning tricycle. My son loved his as did his friends (they have both a boy and girl version). It comes fully assembled for instant riding and folds up for easy storage. It’s also reasonably priced, which is good, since most kids will outgrow it by the time they turn 3.
APPROX. RETAIL: $49.99 (You can get them for $39.99 at Toys R Us.)
3. EEBOO Tot Towers: Fun for ages 18 months and up, these beautiful block towers are great at helping toddlers build language and motor skills. (I especially like the award-winning “Read to Me” tower.)
APPROX. RETAIL: $24.95
4. Melissa & Doug’s Monster Bowling: Recommended for ages 2+, this set is super cute (and I don’t usually like silly looking toys!). Kids love this colorful bowling set, which has a monster ball and 6 pins. While they are having fun, the kids are also developing physical dexterity, which is great!
APPROX. RETAIL: $24.95
5. Imaginarium 5-way Giant Bead Maze Cube: Recommended for ages 18 months to 3 years, this cube is a better version of what kids normally play with while waiting in doctors’ offices. All sorts of skills are learned and/or reinforced in a fun way.
APPROX. RETAIL: $ 49.99
6. IQ Preschool Push Along Block Cart: Suggested for ages 2 years and up, this multiple award winning set include 36 hardwood blocks in 10 different shapes all within a wooden push-cart. I like that it combines a pull toy, building blocks and puzzle solving all in one package.
APPROX. RETAIL: $49.95
7. Building sets by JAKKS Pacific: Specifically, I like their KnotWüd™ sets (recommended for ages 18 months to 7 years) which use a durable, soft (no hard edges!) and lightweight foam material created to look like traditional wood. This line features foam puzzles, construction block sets and other playsets. I also like JAKKS’ colorful new Gorilla Blocks™ which are large, lightweight (they even float in water!), interlocking blocks that allow kids to build almost anything that they can think of creating. They are great introductory blocks for young toddlers.
KnotWüd™: Range from $2.99 to $19.99
Gorilla Blocks: Range from $14.99 to $49.99