I’m sure that all of you are very together this year and completed your Christmas shopping weeks ago… but just in case, I thought I’d throw out a friendly reminder that today’s the last full day to take advantage of Amazon’s free two day shipping (with your free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime) and get your gifts shipped to you by the big day.
And just in case you still have a few holes in your list, I also thought I’d take advantage of some handy dandy data compiled by MPMK since Black Friday to let you know the top 10 toys parents are fawning over for their kiddos this year. (Consider me your personal, just-in-the-nick-of-time, holiday elf). The people have spoken and the facts are clear: this year it’s all about little builders/innovators and dramatic play.
The list isn’t in any particular order here because, for the most part, all ten of these picks were solid hits and there wasn’t a large diference between them. There was a clear winner though: Snap Circuits.
I’m so happy these kits made it to the top of the list. It just confirms what I’ve always known, you guys really are my peeps. Read on for a full explanation of why the Snap Circuits are so great, as well as the rest of the list.
Snap Circuits $31.83 – This clever kit is a multi-award-winner that takes advantage of kids’ natural interest in building toys like LEGOs to teach the principals of electricity. The components aren’t intimidating, snap together simply, and can be used to create a bunch of cool projects.
This set comes with over 60 pieces to create over 300 different electronic projects. The pieces include snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music integrated circuit, and a speaker and are numbered and color-coded to make identifying them easy. These components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices.
For bigger kids, you’ll definitely want to check out Snap Circuits Lights. Just connect any MP3 player and be amazed as your music creates a mesmerizing light display. No two songs will ever produce the same light show. Includes prepunched patterns for motor, strobe light, and color-changing LED, lighted and glow-in-the-dark fans, strobe integrated circuit, color organ controlled by MP3 player, voice, or finger. Builds over 175 experiments.
Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register $35.99 – My kids recently hoarded the register at a local drop in play center for over an hour and I knew we had to get one for Christmas this year. A lot of research pointed to this one as being the best learning register on the market thanks to a working calculator and scale as well as being able to recognize real money and even incorporating some math games. It’s also a great price right now on Amazon!
Gears! Gears! Gears! $34.99 – This is another great set for those kids who love to tinker and figure out how things work. This one has won numerous toy awards and it’s not hard to see why. Kids can put their mechanical engineering skills to the test to build a myriad of working 3D structures.
Melissa & Dough Brianna Doll $15.68 – There’s a lot to like about this basic doll. At 12″, she’s a good size for hauling around. Her soft body allows for laying or sitting and her hard arms and legs easily wipe clean. She has lots of shiny hair to play with and her eyes open and close. Plus, her open mouth allows her to suck on either her thumb or pacifier. Last but not least, her price can’t be beat!
Educational Insights Design & Drill Activity Center $28.38 – I like how this particular toy combines fine motor skills with pattern recognition AND adds a great dramatic play element. We’re getting it for C this Christmas and I’m pretty sure he’s gonna go nuts over the interchangeable drill heads.
Tobbles $23.95 – Because babies can be engineers too. These weighted spheres are fun to stack, tilt, spin, and wobble.
Qwirkle $17.49 – (This one wasn’t part of MPMK’s Gift Guides, instead it was included in a super secret Black Friday Deals message I sent out to my newsletter subscribers - did you get it?) Games always make it under our Christmas tree because family game night is such a great tradition for connecting with the kids. This was the game on the top of my list this year because, since it uses only shapes and colors, non-readers can play right alongside readers.
Monster Feet Stilts $12.89 – I used to play on stilts like these in elementary school gym class and I remember fighting my friends over them. The price is super cheap so be sure to get a pair for everyone.
Letter Construction Activity Set $30.38 – Instead of using flashcards (blech), I like to sneak in letter learning wherever I can – on blocks, through stamps, foam letters in the bath, etc. I think these large-scale construction letters would be perfect for my little builders. I’ve seen magnet toys using these same curve and line shapes but I think my kids would prefer the satisfaction of physically snapping the pieces together.
Learning Resources Pretend & Play Tape Measure $7.84 – Kids love tape measures and they’re fabulous for teaching beginning math skills. I like that you don’t have to worry about any accidental pinching with this over-sized version.
Designed by You Doll House with Furniture $98.17 – Whenever I make a big toy purchase for my kiddos, I obsess about it a bit. I research (a lot) to find the train table, play kitchen, etc. that’s not only going to hold up the best, but will also offer up the most beneficial play experience. When my daughter indicated that she wanted a doll house for her birthday last year, my research led us to purchase this one and we’ve been really, really pleased with it.
Want more suggestions? For all of MPMK’s favorite finds this year, check out all seven of 2012′s Gift Guides.