Are you ready for Black Friday? This is when millions of families nationwide will be starting their holiday shopping, and trying to snag the best deals while they’re at it. Magic Beans should be central to your shopping strategy with this terrific deal: from Friday through Sunday, if you spend $75 or more on toys and other items, you get an additional item that’s $20 or less, FREE. Not bad, huh?
Today’s gifts are the ones that will be the centerpiece of your child’s holiday: the ones that inspire the screams of joy, and will need to be played with immediately. They’re the marquee items, the stars of the show, the ones that you’ll remember for years to come. Get out your camera when these come out of the wrapping paper, because the reactions are going to be great!
And of course, if you buy any of these items Friday, you’ll be able to get a second small item for free – so I’ve added a few suggestions to go with each.
Alex Toys Gigantic Step & Play Piano, $64.99, ages 3 & up
Ok, this one is actually under $75, so you’ll need another toy or two to get the Black Friday deal, but that’s hardly the point – it’s a GIANT PIANO YOU PLAY WITH YOUR FEET. Kids won’t be able to resist it – and you probably won’t be able to either! Plus, it has 8 instrument sounds and 4 play modes, and can record and play back songs, adding to the play value once the sheer novelty wears off.
…and for FREE: if you’ve got a little musical prodigy on your hands, how about adding a Bontempi Silver Saxophone? It would be pretty cute if they tried to play both at once, wouldn’t it? Get out that camera again…
HaPe Gourmet Kitchen, $129.99, ages 3 & up
There’s nothing a preschooler loves more than pretend-play that imitates what adults do, so little kids who love following you around the kitchen (but are a little too small to actually help) will be psyched to get one of their own! It’s realistic but simple, with a sink, stovetop, oven with a clear viewing window, and a cabinet/fridge. And it’s big enough to look huge to your child but small enough to not take up your entire playroom.
…and for FREE: Now let’s get that kitchen stocked up! There are tons of options, although I think the Melissa & Doug Slice & Bake Cookie Set is the obvious home run here. The Green Toys Salad Set is also super fun (and a personal favorite of mine); or, to outfit the kitchen in dainty pink, how about the Schylling Garden Party Tea Set?
Micro Kickboard Mini Kick Scooter, $79.99, ages 2-5
Ride-on toys are always extra-special gifts, and this one’s a doozy: the three-wheeled “Holy Grail of scooters”  is designed to be easy enough for your preschooler to use, letting her skim down city sidewalks with ease. If you live in Boston, near any of our stores, you’ve seen tiny kids using these already, since they’re immensely popular – and your kid has probably already asked you for one!
…and for FREE: Ok, our superb Little Nutty Bike Helmets aren’t going to be free with this purchase, but you definitely need to add one along with this gift – safety first!
With that said, the Stomp Rocket Junior Set is under $20, and is another great outdoor toy that encourages kids to run around and get some exercise. If the weather is nice enough the day you give your child this gift, it’s another one that will get used IMMEDIATELY by the whole family – you get to blast foam rockets up super high by stomping on the launch pad!
Schleich Watering Hole, $99.99, ages 3 and up
It’s a pretend-play paradise for little kids who love animals: a realistic habitat full of animals and plants! It’s a 17-piece set, so the play value is immense, for a wide age range.
Schleich animals are so beautifully detailed and realistic, and their animals are awesome for open-ended pretend-play: while Schleich’s description for this product emphasizes how a real-life watering hole is actually where predators hang out to wait to pounce on zebras and antelopes and whatnot, I think it’s more likely that your kid will turn this into a hangout for a bunch of animal friends. That’s what I would do if I were five years old, anyway.
…and for FREE: while most of our Schleich critters who would fit well into this environment are considerably less than $20, there’s no reason not to give your kid a unicorn or a stegosaurus too. As noted above, small children aren’t going to care much about realism, they’re just going to love having more cool animals!