Friday, December 7th, 2007
The Young Children’s Super Fantastic Holiday Gift Guide of Glorious and Ample Proportions, 2007 Edition
I couldn’t show my face around the baby and toddler product blog clubhouse if I didn’t publish a gift guide pointing you to the coolest toys and gadgets for the holiday season. I’ve looked over three years of work, more than 700 articles, and boiled it all down to five hotter than hot toys for young children.
These toys are classic. They are ageless. But most important, you only have a time window of 2 to 3 years in which to give these gifts before your child thinks you daft. These are the salad days. Enjoy them.
Now, the top five gifts…
5. Shoebox — Make a doll bed or treasure storage box.
4. Tissue box — Create a finger puppet stage (cut a window in one side, stick hand in tissue opening).
3. Toilet paper tubes — One throws your voice. Two make binoculars.
2. Paper grocery bags of all sizes — Create a costume (decorate the outside and cut a face hole), or roll up a medium-size bag to make a hat.
All of the preceding gifts have many other possibilities as gluing-taping-cutting craft and toy projects. Can you suggest some?
1. Cardboard box — It’s brown. It’s rectangular. It’s in the National Toy Hall of Fame. A giant box is a house, cave or space ship. A medium box is a car, boat, train or plane. A small box is a hat, helmet or play environment for other toys.
We bought a new dishwasher this week. I lowered my 3-year-old daughter into the box and she jumped, screamed and giggled. Turned on its side, the box was a home for her and her stuffed animals. She went to bed talking about playing with the box the next day.
I know you’ve heard all of these “low tech toy” ideas before. My first inclination was to post only a photo of an empty box as the gift guide.
What got me on this issue was my ruminating about the first three years of a child’s life being the most fertile in terms of parental spending on developmental toys.
The life spans of the educational toys you buy are often measured in months, and so you buy toys when they are needed. The idea of a gift guide for babies and toddlers strikes me as odd. I’m buying “gifts” all year long. If I find a cool product in November, do I really want to wait a month before giving it to my kid, wasting a whole month of its limited time in our home?
Plus, I have the whole “Christmas is too commercialized” thing running in my head.
Yes, I’m buying my daughter gifts this year, but I’m not going overboard. We’re halfway through her third year now and haven’t yet reached the “gifts only on your birthday and Christmas” stage. So, I feel a bit hypocritical in producing a gift guide when I think you probably are treating every month like I do — as if every month contains a gift-giving holiday; we just don’t usually wrap the gifts.