Landfill Toy – Land*fill*toi (n) - a small plastic toy with a play lifespan under 30 minutes, guaranteed to be tossed aside and ultimately embedded in the foot of an unsuspecting adult (like you). Commonly used to supplement the big Christmas / 8th night of Hanukkah gifts.
Can we all agree that landfill toys will be banned from our 2013 holiday celebrations? I don’t know about you but I dread that feeling when I purge all the discarded junk in my house on Jan 2. I get plenty of guilt from my mom (Catholic) and my MIL (Jewish). Nor do I need to experience the familiar shooting pain when I accidentally step on one.
This year join me as I eliminate guilt and pain related to the common stocking stuffer / early Hanukkah filler with small but spectacular gifts. Because small toys can be winners – not only do they keep kids busy during the holidays, they travel well. Which means they’ll be lifesavers at the airport, on the tarmac, in a traffic jam on the way to grandma’s house – or any other time you can’t stomach bored, shrill voices screeching “HOW MUCH LONGER??????????”.
Without further ado, here are 7 gifts to keep your spirits and sanity intact:
1. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty – Age 3 and up: Crazy Aaron’s thinking Putty is upgraded Putty – it comes packed in a neat little tin that doesn’t leak, never dries out, and comes in many radical styles including magnetic, iridescent, glow in the dark, etc. Kids can do a variety of experiments with the putty and if they need ideas, Crazy Aaron (he’s real) has posted a bunch of videos on YouTube.
2. Squigz – Age 3 and up – fun, innovative building toys. They adhere to each other (or anything, really) with suction, making for are endless possibilities. You can build up, sideways, down, diagonal, etc. Just launched this year, they’ve already won numerous awards – you will look extremely on top of your game with these.
3. Tegu – Age 3 – 103 (seriously): Beautiful building blocks with a conscience – eco friendly, easy to use (the ends of each piece contains magnets so again – endless building possibilities). Best of all, the company gives back to the region of Tegucigalpa where the wood is sustainably farmed. I recommend the car kits.
4. Tenzi -Age 4 and up: A thrilling dice game that will hook you and your kids from the first roll. Only child? No problem – it can be played alone! More than one child? Up to four players can duel it out using the basic rules or one of the 10 different variations.
5. Klutz Kits – Age 6 and up: These kits are interesting, easy to follow along, and addictive. For younger kids, I love Cat’s Cradle, which is a lost art that girls (and boys) can do on their own.
6. Nanoblocks – Age 7 and up: If you could shrink Legos you would Nanoblocks. These kits come in small, resealable pouches with several pieces (60 and up), to build the dandiest little creatures. Alpaca anyone? Parrot? Polar Bear? Tree Frog? I’ve tried my hand at building one and due to the number of pieces and the size it definitely takes a good 45 minutes of intense concentration – not counting the playtime once they’re constructed. Challenge two kids to a contest to see who can build them the fastest.
7. Spirograph!!! YES THE TOY WE ALL GREW UP WITH!! If you remember Spirograph as a kid, it’s back and it’s fantastic. This is definitely a gift for the older child – age 8-14 although a 7 year old can manipulate it with intense concentration (i.e quiet time for you!!!). It comes a bunch of spirograph wheels, putty (to hold the spirograph in place), writing instruments, a full color Designers Guide, including fundamentals of drawing with Spirograph and for the novices, step-by-step instructions for creating your own designs
In fact, don’t worry about the kids. Get this at least toy for yourself. Once your kids see how much fun you’re having they may realize it’s time to play with their toys – either way, mission accomplished.
Happy almost holidays!
Hi there! I’m the founder of NeverMissGift.com, a site for well-intentioned but busy people who are tired of forgetting their nieces’, nephews’, godchildren or any other kids’ birthdays and holidays. Feel free to connect via Twitter @nevermissgift or Facebook (www.facebook.com/nevermissgift) for gift ideas and a little dry humor….