Hot Toys for 2015 & Smart Gifts for Kids
Every holiday season a new hot toy is promoted forcing parents to wait in long lines or scour the internet in search of the must-have gift of the season. It’s especially difficult for parents of young children who are certain Santa Claus will be capable of producing the elusive toy.
What parent can forget the craze of ’96, the year of violence and stampedes, when desperation caused parents to pay hundreds for a plush toy? Tickle Me Elmo was in short supply, due to the unexpected demand, and this led to secondary markets where scalpers sold the toy for hundreds of dollars. By Christmas over a million Tickle Me Elmos had been sold and in most cases Santa’s reputation remained unsullied.
Rumor has it 2015’s hottest toy is the Hoverboard. However, many models are already sold out and those that are not are often pricey. Furthermore, in New York City hoverboards are illegal. So given all that, let’s move on to easier gifts…
Other hot toys for 2015 are: Little Live Pets Cleverkeet, a dancing, singing, swinging chatting bird for ages 5 to adolescence. For Lego fans, Star Wars The Force Awakens Poe’s X-Wing is a hot gift. And check out this cutie, Zoomer Kitty, is a robotic cat who is a big favorite with kids ages 5 to 10 this holiday season.
Once you have your child’s must-have toy in hand and Christmas is saved, you can think about educational toys and games rather than singing birds and robotic cats. These next toys and games are recommended because as teachers we not only found them to be favorites with our students, but we actually enjoyed playing with them too.
Snap Circuits SC-300 Electronics Discovery Kit, from Elenco, is a toy which encourages kids to build a door bell, a burglar alarm and more. This activity has won various prestigious awards. This introduction to electronics is not just for boys, girls enjoy working with the 60 colored circuits too! This toy is recommended for ages 8 and up.
As educators we liked the board game Quarto Classic Game for teaching deductive reasoning. Playing pieces have several attributes which must be considered in play and this makes the game challenging. Each of the 16 pieces has 4 different attributes. The aim is to line up four pieces that share the same attribute (round or square; light or dark; tall or short; solid or hollow). Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Abalone is a board game that our male students especially loved to play. This game of strategy is very popular in many countries and is easy to learn. Pushing the large black and white marbles is fun, especially when you push your opponent’s marble right off the board! Recommended age is 7-15.
Chess is one of the most intellectual games and we made sure all of our students were introduced to this game. Not all students took to chess and that’s ok. However, if you want your child to have a good first experience with the game, we recommend, No Stress Chess as an innovative way to teach chess using a deck of action cards. Each card depicts a chess piece and how it moves. Once you become comfortable with the moves and powers of each chess piece, you can flip the two-sided board over and play standard chess. Recommended for ages 7-12.
For older adolescents to teens, check out the game, Forbidden Island, an award winning game of strategy.
Additionally, if your child is either already up to their neck in toys or outgrowing toys, a gift of an experience or adventure is a great idea. A family trip or a day alone doing something special with a parent or other adult can be just the ticket. Perhaps it’s not what they wrote on their list to Santa, but this is something they actually need and will surely enjoy.