Thursday , 24 April 2014

So many ways to play: Our Top Ten Toys for this year’s holiday gifts

Picking out the very best toys is part experience, part instinct: some items are just obvious kid-magnets (if it lights up, they’ll probably love it); others just set off the seasoned toy buyer’s spider sense. Of course, we don’t sell toys that aren’t great – our toy selection is carefully curated to include a balance of classic toys and the latest toys kids are clamoring for – but these toys are all truly special. You’ll notice that most of our Top Ten Toys have a few qualities in common that add a ton of value:

  • A lot of these items have a “wow” factor that makes them irresistible to try out, like Laser Pegs.
  • Most of these toys have wide age ranges, pleasing both younger and older kids, and making them much more fun for parents, too; they’ll get more use for more years than your average toy.
  • Nearly all of these toys are designed for open-ended play, encouraging kids to stretch their creativity as far as it goes. (This is our favorite kind of toy!)

So let’s look at what your child can do with each of the Magic Beans Top Ten Toys of 2013!

Sculpt with Living Sands

Living SandsPlay Visions Small Living Sands Set

Bring the best part of the beach into your playroom! Living Sands can be molded into solid and sturdy shapes like wet sand, but when you squish those same shapes, it runs smoothly through your fingers in the most pleasing way. Living Sands offers both creative possibilities and simple, wonderful sensory stimulation – and it even leaves your hands feeling clean afterwards.

Illuminate with Laser Pegs

laser-pegs-bot-6-models-9055BLaser Pegs Bot with 6 Models Set

Laser Pegs snap together like LEGO bricks, and they light up. This is an obvious, simple formula for kiddie thrills – build one of the six suggested models, hook it up, turn off the lights, turn on the fun! Plus, Laser Pegs are compatible with other building toys, so there’s no limit to what more advanced kid-builders can create. (Note: If you’re getting Laser Pegs for younger kids, be prepared to do the building yourself. The kids will be no less thrilled when they light up, we promise.)

Pretend with the Ferry Boat

Green Toys Ferry BoatGreen Toys Ferry Boat with Cars

This 100% imagination-powered toy boat is amazing fun in the bath, the pool, or on dry land. It encourages endless pretend-play scenarios, and it plays well with others (it comes with two Mini Fastbacks cars to load and unload, and has room for additional toy “passengers”). And did we mention that Green Toys are, well, green? They’re made in the USA from kid-safe 100% recycled materials.

Build with Magna-Tiles

Magna-TilesMagna-Tiles Clear 100-Piece Set

These captivating magnetic building sets allow for unlimited building possibilities (Magna-Tiles stick on all corners and on all faces with no repelling), and they delight everyone from preschoolers to adults. Build in 2 or 3 dimensions, make abstract shapes or concrete objects for pretend-play (how about a rocket ship?), or make a huge mosaic on the living room floor. And the Clear Magna-Tiles look like gorgeous stained glass!

Click with Tegu Blocks

Tengu Magnetic BlocksTegu Magnetic Blocks 14-Piece Tints Set

So what if we’ve got two magnetic building sets on this list? Both Magna-Tiles and Tegu Blocks are so great that we refuse to choose, and we don’t think you should either. Tegu Blocks also allow for multi-dimensional magnetic building, with an extra auditory/tactile treat: the lovely click of magnetic hardwood blocks sticking together. Add in their eco-friendly, community-friendly manufacturing process and the sheer beauty of these wooden blocks, and one can only conclude that a set of Tegu Blocks belongs in every toy box.

Sing Along with Playmobil Pop Stars

Playmobil Pop Stars BandPlaymobil Pop Stars Band

This pink-haired prima donna and her two ultra-hip buddies are ready to rock. What sort of pop star adventures will they be having? This Playmobil pretend-play set lets kids play out their rock n’ roll dreams – and if you add the Playmobil Pop Stars Stage set, they can even play real tunes through a plugged-in mp3 player!

Giggle with the Pop Pop Piano

lauri-mirari-pop-pop-piano-7942-A-fLauri Mirari Pop! Pop! Piano

There are so many ways to play with this clever and surprisingly stylish toy for babies and toddlers! When you press each key on the piano, you hear a sound (either a musical note or a wacky sound effect), and a rattling colorful star pops out of a tube. Remove the clear plastic dome, and the stars are launched out instead, for kids to chase and find (an activity that thrills crawling babies). It combines musical play, cause-and-effect play, physical play, and social play, and older kids love inventing their own games to play with the piano and stars.

Imagine with Star Wars Thumb Doodles

Star Wars Thumb DoodlesKlutz Star Wars Thumb Doodles

The fun to be had with Star Wars goes far beyond watching the movies, and kids love creating their own scenarios with the beloved cast of interstellar characters. With this book, kids learn to draw cute and quirky thumbprint-based versions of Star Wars characters, and then they can create their own stories, whether they’re silly or serious. The ink pad is built in, so it’s easy to take along. And there’s a light-saber pencil, too!

Explore with the Disney Eye Found It! Game

Disney Eye Found It
I Can Do That! Games Disney Eye Found It! Hidden Picture Game

How many Disney delights can you fit into one board game? It helps if the game board is six feet long! In this game, players move their characters through 12 Disney and Pixar worlds, searching for iconic Disney objects. The level of detail in the game board is astonishing, and it’s just cool to see all of these completely different characters and their fantastic Disney universes rubbing elbows.

Glide with the Mini Kick Scooter

kickboard-usa-mini-kick-scooter-green-MM0007-ABKickboard USA Mini Kick Scooter

You won’t believe how easy it is for your child to learn how to scoot on her Mini Kick! These wildly popular scooters are designed to make it simple and intuitive for preschoolers to “surf the sidewalk.” Fantastic engineering and high-quality materials make this the perfect first scooter for your adventurous kid. Got an older child who wants a scooter? The Kickboard USA Maxi Kick Scooter is equally awesome and will grow with them up to age 11.

As if these weren’t enough fantastic gift options, we’ve got a few supplementary Top Ten gift lists for you to explore! Check out our Top Ten Toys for Boys, Top Ten Toys for Girls, and our other Top Ten Toy lists for dolls and dinosaurs, Playmobil and Quadrilla, toy trains, toy planes, toy automobiles, fashion crafts, bead crafts, bracelet-making kits, and so much more!

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