Thursday, December 2, 2010

In search of the perfect toy

I don't know about you, but lately I've been reading a lot of Amazon toy reviews. I think these reviews are pretty helpful when it comes to choosing which toys you might want to purchase for your kids, but I also like reading them for entertainment. They say so much about human nature to me. One person's "ADORABLE FOR LITTLE HELPERS!!!!" five-star review is another person's "DISAPPOINTED" one-star review. Isn't this how it is with everything in life? There are always those people who will get excited to the point of bursting about a talking vacuum cleaner and then there are the people who say, "meh, I thought it would talk more. Why doesn't it say more things?"

And to the people who are surprised when a two-thousand piece play kitchen with laundry, ironing board, microwave and refrigerator is hard to put together, I want to say, really?

Every year I get suckered into believing the hype about a certain toy. All I have to read is, "my son played with this for hours," and into the virtual shopping cart it goes. Because really, let's be honest here, I'm not buying toys, I'm buying myself time.

So, I'm dying to know. Does anyone have any toy recommendations out there for a 7-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy, and a 2-year-old boy? Preferably, the toy should take up no room, should not require batteries, be made in the U.S. out of sustainable materials and should keep them occupied for hours. That's not too much to ask, right?

I actually do know of a toy that fits this description. Would you like to read my review?


I wasn't sure how my son would react when he opened up the Charmin toilet paper tube I had been saving for him for Christmas. I'd seen him playing with a friend's toilet paper tube at playgroup, and noticed he was having a ball pretending it was a telescope, a microphone, and a even a periscope! Well, my worries were completely unfounded, because as soon as he opened up his gift, he squealed with glee! Now, I can make dinner, talk to my husband, even take a shower and all I have to do is make sure he has his toilet paper tube handy. He even sleeps with it snuggled up next to him at night. We are working on getting him another tube soon. He says he wants to make binoculars! This is a toy I can really feel good about giving--it's sustainable and made right here in the U.S. and not that awful China. If you're thinking of getting this for the child on your list, don't hesitate! You won't regret it!!!!

Happy shopping, everyone!


Rachel said...

This one doesn't look like much, and it *might* be the kind of gift the kids open and toss aside along with sweaters and socks, but it really is hours and hours of fun plus it encourages pretend, reading, sharing, and organizing!!! Can you imagine getting your kids to sort and organize bookshelves while they think they're simply playing?

Just an idea. Going to try it on my nieces (5 and 6). Will report back.

Elizabeth said...

I just put Little Librarian in my Amazon cart. I think my daughter will love it. Thanks for the great tip!

Pamela Ehrenberg said...


I agree that the best toys for both our 2-year-olds are tubes of various sorts, Kleenex boxes, etc. But if you're searching for something slightly more wrappable, I'll share that for his birthday Nathan recently got this tool bench as a hand-me-down from a friend:

--because when we went to their house for lunch and they dragged it out of storage, suddenly Talia and their 6-year-old son could play together uninterrupted and the grownups could all talk--he was that engaged. Of course it's not *quite* that engaging at our house, but he still plays with it a lot, and I'm sure you can find someone on Craigslist wanting to get rid of one before acquiring new gifts for their older kids (I have no qualms about hand-me-down gifts for toddlers). Happy hunting!