1. Crayola Beginnings’ TaDoodles™ Scribble And Sing™ Art Station: Recommended for ages 18 months and up, this station will keep your kids busy with over 15 activities. Most little ones like to scribble and/or color so I especially like the fact that the five markers in this set are shaped for the hands of young children. I also like that both singing and drawing are combined in this one product. (Sean’s aunt is getting him TaDoodles for Christmas and I look forward to spending time making some fun “creations” together with my little musical one!) Note: This toy requires 3 AA batteries.
2. Fisher-Price’s Little People® Learn About Town™ : Kids ages 2 years to 5 years will enjoy these four play sets in one. They can choose to play at the doctor and dentist office, the pet shop, the ABC school or the pizza shop. Wherever they decide to go, there’s plenty to learn (including the alphabet, counting, colors, shapes, etc.) and experience (opening and closing, pressing, etc.). The songs and sounds also help to make the learning more fun. This is a classic toy with a new twist that both parents and kids will like. Note: This toy requires 3 AA batteries.
3. Leap Frog’s Fridge Phonics® Magnetic Set: Appropriate for ages 24 months to 5 years, this is a set that will grow with your child. At first I was a little thrown off, because Leap Frog has changed the look of this set. (I and many of my friends have the former version on our refrigerators!) However, I was happy to see that the core of the product is still the same. The set comes with 26 colorful, magnetic letters and a magnetic letter reader that easily attaches to your fridge. When placed in the reader, each letter both talks (teaching the name of the letter and the sound that it makes) and sings (fun, little learning songs). Many kids love playing with magnets on the refrigerator and this is a great toy to make that playtime educational.
4. Little Tikes’ Jungle Jamboree™ Tiger 2-in-1 Piano: Kids ages 1 1/2 years and up will love playing music (AKA banging) on this little combination piano and xylophone. There’s a reason that I see this toy in almost every home with young kids that I visit (including my own home) – it’s cute and fun! Four music sheets with the notes to popular nursery songs are included with the piano. (Most young kids – except musical prodigies – won’t use the sheets, but they are enjoyable for the adults to play songs for their kids.) This is an item that I highly recommend and often give to toddlers as gifts
5. PLAYSKOOL CLIPO CREATIVITY TABLE : For ages 18 months and up, this is a great little play station. CLIPO pieces are already fun to connect by themselves (my kids love playing with their CLIPO sets). Combine the pieces with the toy’s spinning turntables and the creative fun is taken to a whole other (better!) level. Also, on a practical note, the shape sorter and drop slot will also help kids’ motor skills. Note: This toy requires 2 “AA” batteries
6. Radio Flyer’s #46/#46G Classic Lights & Sounds Trike: For ages 2 years to 5 years, these retro-styled bikes cannot be beat. Practically every kid loves getting a bike for the holidays. There are plenty to choose from, but this is my bike pick for 2008. First of all, these bikes are both well-built and beautiful to look at. Besides the aesthetics, kids will enjoy the electronic aspect of the bike (the dashboard has a turn signal, music, and a honking horn) as well as the fact that they can store their little “treasures” under the bike’s seat. Note that 3 AAA batteries are needed for this bike.
7. Step2 50’s Diner: Kids ages 2+ will enjoy hours of pretend play in this (multiple!) award-winning retro-styled kitchen. Normally, I try not to include large toys as picks (due to urban space restraints), but I just had to make an exception for this great toy. (Besides, I know that some of you have basements, play rooms, etc.) Both adults and kids will enjoy this fifties styled 2-sided designed diner (there is a kitchen on one side and booth-style seating on the other). There’s so much for kids to love in this diner including a variety of accessories (coffee pot, sound-making griddle pan, dishes, silverware, etc.) as well as play food (burgers, fries, ice cream, etc.). Note: This diner requires 4 “AA” and 2 “AAA” batteries.
*8. Thinkativity’s Soar & Explore Storyteller : Ages 2 years+ will enjoy this airplane-shaped storyteller. Kids will be able to build their own stories as they spin each story block and listen to the plane “read” their various adventure stories. What’s especially neat is that the storyteller introduces kids to eight different languages!
*Mom in the City newsletter subscribers can enter to win Thinkativity’s Soar & Explore Storyteller by leaving one of their personal top toddler toy picks in the “Comments” section below or in an email to [email protected] with “Toddler” in the Subject line by November 30th.