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Classic Children's Toys that Make Great Gifts

Updated on October 26, 2008

It is gift giving time and we are getting inundated with toy catalogs at my house. Most of these catalogs have nothing in them that I will buy though, so the kids like to look through them, but they quickly end up in the recycling bin. I am not a big fan of all the latest greatest toys that are being marketed these days. Most of them are so over stimulating and loud and noisy. It seems the toy manufacturers feel we can't be entertained without a toy that lights up and plays music or talks to us. Even Barbie talks to us these days.

Most toys seem to require batteries and are made to entertain us passively. I think that toys should be a source for kids to entertain themselves. Toys should require the child to play with it actively, create their own fun, and use their imagination. Not many new toys meet these requirements. I prefer the classic toys that have been around for ages, that have stood the test of time and that will continue to be lots of fun for generations to come - if we buy them instead of the new stuff.

One of the greatest classic toys out there is blocks. There are many different types of blocks, but I prefer Lincoln Logs and Legos or Duplos (the younger child's version of Legos). We have huge buckets of all three of these types of blocks and the kids spend hours playing with them each week, sometimes each day. We have even used them for school projects at times. Wooden blocks are something that we had when the kids were younger, the classic ones with letters and/ or numbers painted on them. Spend time playing with these with your child and your child will learn a lot as you talk about the letters and numbers and shapes on each block. You can spell, count, sort and build.

Girls love dolls of any kind. A child doesn't need a Cabbage Patch Kid's doll with hair that changes color (we were actually given one of these and it does NOT get played with) or a doll that cries when you push its tummy. Just a basic baby doll, smaller for little ones, life size for older children will do just fine. Doll clothes are easy to come by and a pack of baby bottles make a great stocking stuffer. Your child will be set to play for hours with her baby doll. I like things like dolls and blocks, because you can give a great gift that will build on something the child already has instead of buying something new that can't be combined with anything else they own. Those stand alone toys don't get played with at my house.

Outdoor toys make great gifts as well. Sidewalk chalk, a jump rope, sandbox toys, a pogo stick, bicycle, scooter, frisbee, football, basketball or just plain ball all are still lots of fun for kids these days. You can do so much with a ball or rope. Kids are a lot more creative than parents give them credit for many times.

Games are good classic toys as well. Checkers, marbles, Monopoly, Memory, Life, etc. are all games that my kids love to play. These games are just plain fun and they require the player to think and plan out strategy, which is a life skill that I think is essential for children to learn. Puzzles make great gifts too and are perfect to work on together on a rainy afternoon.

Basic cars and trucks still make wonderful gifts. We have a huge bucket of these, but the kids still love to receive more. These also make great stocking stuffers, they are cheap and small enough, two things that make my stocking stuffer search harder. Cars and trucks can be played with blocks or books as well. My kids love to build ramps and race courses for their cars and are frequently found setting up these courses.

Books always make great gifts for children. They can get lost in an imaginary world when reading. Especially if you can find a great series that your child would be interested in, this is a gift I am sure they will love. If you have a child that isn't a big reader try a magazine subscription that is about something they are interested in. There are so many to choose from and could get your child that doesn't really like to read interested in reading. An added benefit is that they will get the magazine every month or every other month all year and your gift won't be forgotten by January 1st.

Other classic toys that most kids I know love to get are army men, hard plastic animals (they love to play zoo or vet), paper doll sets, doctor kits, kitchen sets (kids love to copy what mom and dad are doing), craft sets, coloring books and crayons or markers and play dough or silly putty.

Kids do a great job of entertaining themselves with basic toys when they are allowed to use their imagination. All too frequently the toys that we buy our kids don't require a child to think or imagine anything on their own. Kids play with these types of toys passively and it does nothing for their brain. Trust me, your child does not need another video game or movie. This Christmas when you are buying presents for children you know, purchase some basic, classic toys for them. I am sure they will love them.

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