Dr. Toy’s Best 25 Holiday Gifts for $25 and Less © By
Stevanne Auerbach, PhD Having fun this holiday season just got easier with Dr. Toy’s timely best plaything ideas for gifts for children that provide plenty of good times and learning. These best products, are selected from the many dozens evaluated for Dr.Toy’s Guide, and the Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products. These are great gifts that are worthwhile to be considered by every parent and grandparent. These are terrific, affordable, and fun gifts that will also help children gain essential skills, and confidence, to benefit them in school and in life. The range includes science, math, language, music and creativity, and, of course, games and puzzles that build strategy and dexterity skills for everyone in the family to benefit and enjoy. Included are products that help children create, discover, and experience many ways to play with projects that are lots of fun to create together. The 25 gift ideas not only cost $25 or less, many are less than $10, but also offer new play experiences, and will help to light up everyone’s holiday spirit and continue to have long lasting value well into the new year. What’s hot does not always last after the wrappings are gathered up. But, you can always have lasting fun with a recycled cardboard box to create something new, plus imagination and adding one or more of the suggested gifts included for even more creativity, discovery and skill building. Play puzzles, games and take time to make fun things this holiday for enriched family time. For more gifts see Dr. Toy’s Guide www.drtoy.com and the new book Dr. Toy’s Smart Play Smart Toys: How to Select and Use the Best Toys and Games (4th edition) Also check Dr. Toy’s Best Gift Guide App for easy shopping anytime. Dr. Toy’s 25 best suggested gifts for under 25 include: 1. ALEX Brands Wood Wonders Ultimate Set $25. 5-12 yrs. www.alexbrands.com This ultimate craft includes everything needed to make wooden creations—from swinging monkey to personalized door hanger. Children can create fun characters, out of wood, they can paint and decorate themselvesm then play
with new creations. Ultimate craft set includes 495 total pieces 400 pieces of assorted wood shapes, eight acrylic color paints, two paint brushes, assorted craft materials for decorations, and easy-to-follow instructions. 2. b. dazzle Carousel Ponies Scamble Squares Puzzle $9.95, 4-12 yrs. www.b-dazzle.com Everyone loves Scramble Squares puzzles making these puzzles a great gift for any age. There are only two simple rules to follow when playing this 9-piece brainteaser puzzle; lay the pieces in a 3 by 3 square pattern as shown on the back of the package, and match the edges where the puzzle pieces touch to make a completed picture. Each puzzle comes in a clear vinyl pouch for easy storage. Great for a quiet time activity or to play together as a family. 3. Bananagrams速 WildTiles $14.95, 7-12 yrs.www.bananagrams.com Game includes six monkey WildTiles as players race to complete their grids, they pick up a WildTile and play it as many times as needed, standing in for any letter. The WildTiles change the game. Everything you need to play is included inside the banana.
4. Chronicle Books Press Here Game $19.99, 3-12 yrs.www.chroniclebooks.com Players take turns completing color sequences by placing red, blue, and yellow playing pieces on one of twentyfive designed game boards. What seems like a simple choice will lead to an animated discussion as players come to understand the visual logic at the heart of the game. With two levels of play this engaging game delivers hours of entertainment for the whole family. 5. Discover with Dr. Cool Real Meteorite Excavation Kit $11.99, 6-12 yrs.www.discoverwithdrcool.com Excavate real meteorite from outer space, as well as a real tektite, which is the impact glass formed when a meteorite smashes into the earth. Both are buried inside this meteorite shaped digging brick. This hands-on paleontology kit includes digging tool, brush, magnifying glass, and a wonderful full-color information guide to identify and learn about each specimen and activity booklet with 10 fun games, puzzles, and challenges to complete. 6. Dream Big Toy Go Go Sports Girl Read & Play. $24.99 5- 10 yrswww.gogosportsgirls.com
Fun, educational way to promote and benefits of daily exercise, smart eating and sleeping habits, self-esteem, and overall healthy life skills for girls. The books and dolls encourage children to dream big, and work hard to achieve goals—and have fun while doing so. Each 32-page book covers playing the sport and how to apply skills they learn to life. The books include facts about the sport, such as how sport started, rules, and equipment
to create moats and canals with. This miniature kit comes with 3 neon colors of sand orange, green, and purple.
9. Fashion Angels Enterprises It's My Biz $19.99, 8-12 yrswww.fashionangels.com New line of activity kits designed to help tween girls build self-confidence by becoming the SHE-E-Os of their own entrepreneurial businesses. Helps to cultivate the skills, knowledge, and passion for girls to create their own businesses through creative activities 7. DT Learning Products they are already interested in like Body Amazing Puzzle making jewelry (Bead Boutique), $23, 4-9yrs.www.discoverytoys.com decorating cupcakes (The Cup-Cakery Fun introduction to anatomy. Explore Bakery), designing t-shirts (Vintage Tkey layers of body with beautifully Shirt Shop) and painting fingernails illustrated layered wood puzzle. Each (Laquer Lounge). Each kit provides layer reveals bones, organs, muscles, essential tools and materials needed to skin/hair, and the body. The pieces create, sell products or services to numbered by layer on the bottom aid in family and friends, as well as a useful assembly. The wood base includes guide won book-keeping, merchanthumb nail-sized dising, and images of all 5 layers marketing, for easy reference. plus the It’s Have fun learning My Biz more about our Ultimate amazing body with Business the cool body facts in Guide. the included guide. 10. Galison Publishing / Mudpuppy Dinosaur Planet Shadow Puppet Set 8. DuneCraftSlick Sand Mini Kit $ 16.99, 3-12 yrs. www.galison.com $4.99, 3-12 yrs www.dunecraft.com Illuminate a prehistoric world with the Great for sand and water tables Dinosaur Planet Shadow Puppet Set. A andmakes for hours of fun. It will not mighty T-Rex, bubbling volcanoes, a get wet, so when you pour water on it, dino hatchling, and more come to life the water will stay on top and flow with a flashlight and imagination. The instead of wetting the sand and sinking storybook-style box includes 8 laser-cut, down like ordinary play sand. It’s great
high-quality shadow puppets as well as a storytelling guide to help families create their own larger-than-life bedtime tales. Each of the eight laser cut puppets are attached to wooden sticks and easy for children to maneuver. 11. GameBrotherZ MimiQ $6.99, 4-12 yrs www.gamebrotherz.com MimiQ is designed like Go Fish, but instead of calling out the numbers on your cards to seek a match, you must make the facial expression on your card. Don’t have the card you’ve asked for? Stick out your tongue! Win cards from your opponents by “MimiQ-ing” the faces on the playing cards. When you have three identical cards, you have a trump. The winner is the player with the most trumps. Children will love “MimQing” the faces on the cards in this expressive game that is sure to leave you laughing. 12. Green Kids Club Gorilla's Roar Cartoon $8.50, 3-12yrs.www.green-kids-club.com This cartoon is about the Green Kids’ travel to Rwanda, Africa, where they meet their friend Enaya. The kids embark on a trip to return a baby gorilla back to a troop of Mountain Gorillas. There are only 850 gorillas left in the world and the kids want to ensure they are safe. As they travel Enaya drinks water from the magic spring and can
talk with animals. Along the way they encounter poachers, and they realize that the poacher is Enaya's father. The kids convince her father to become a mountain ranger and help to save the gorillas. 13. Horizon Group USA My First Wood Shop $9.97 6-9yrswww.craftprojectideas.com Unique build and paint set for young children. This kit includes 3 wooden projects that are pre-cut and presanded Racecar, Plane, and Birdhouse. Each project can be built using the easyto-follow, step-by-step instructions. The included paint applies easily with the specially designed screwdriver paintbrush. Projects can be detailed with the Watercolor Saw Palette that allows children to create a “Woodstained” finish on their completed projects. 14. InRoad Toys PlayTape $1.99, 3-10 yrs. www.inroadtoys.com PlayTape is the fastest, best way to creatively play with the many toy cars and trains children already own because it lets them build roads and tracks anywhere. PlayTape is repositionable tape that mirrors the look of roads and train tracks, and it comes in a variety of colors, designs, and sizes. PlayTape sticks to any flat surface, is easy-tear, repositionable, easily removed without any residue, easily stored and transported, disposable, and recyclable.
PlayTape is 100% Made in the USA.
15. Kiwi Crate Tinker Crate $12.95, 9-12 yrs www.kiwicrate.com Tinker Crate delivers all the materials and instructions needed to explore a new STEM-based topic each month with cool hands-on projects, plus a 16-page Tinker ‘Zine, chock-full of at-home experiments and amazing science stories to extend the learning opportunities. 16. Learning Circle Kids Reader Bee and the Story Tree $1.99 3-6 yrs. www.readerbee.com Reader Bee is a game-changing app that helps children learn to read at the simplest level. Silly stories and characters spark curiosity, keeping children engaged in the fun games.The app features 30 games that move children from sounds to letters to words. Making learning easier and more intuitive, the app puts child in charge of the learning process and builds effective path to fluency. Reader Bee is perfect starting point for creating confident readers and instilling a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.
17. Madame Alexander Doll Co Travel Friends Play Doll, Bonjour From France $19.95, 3-12yrs. www.madamealexanderdoll.com Bonjour! means “Hello” in French! The girl friends love to get croissants at the bistros in Paris and have a picnic at the park near the Eiffel Tower or shop at the famous flea markets. The 7” doll has chestnut eyes, blonde hair hair and light skin. She wears a red and white, horizontally striped dress, which is embellished with an iron-on applique of the Eiffel Tower and the word “Bonjour.” Black leggings and shoes complete the French look. 18. Music Together All Around the Kitchen Singalong Storybook $13.95, 1-8yrs. musictogether.com/storybooks Dance “All Around the Kitchen” with a singing rooster, pots and pans, potatoes and pancakes—and see peanut butter and jelly fall in love. Picture book inspires singing, pre-literacy learning, and imaginative play between children and their favorite adults. Available in hardcover and board-book formats, the book includes free song-download card and fun activity suggestions designed to stimulate learning and music-making at home and in the classroom. 19. Paper Punk Urban Fold-Build Your Own Paper Block City $24.95, 6-12 yrs. www.paperpunk.com All inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds. Punch out shapes, fold them into blocks, customize with stickers, build and play, put away, build
and play again, etc. Everyone’s an architect with this construction/craft activity that promises endless creative fun and open play. Includes 48 punch-nfold shapes, 697 cool stickers, poster with instructions and planning grid/mat, display worthy storage box, and of course, unlimited fun and creativity. 20. Seedling USA Design your own Superhero Mask $23.99, 4-12 yrs. www.seedlingusa.com Move over Superman. With this highquality craft kit, children can create their own superhero disguise using the readyto-wear mask and craft materials. Superfun for boys and girls, this kit encourages children to use their imagination. Includes everything a superhero needs to get creative; a superhero felt mask base, precut felt shapes, felt sheets, glitter glue, pens, white craft glue, and instructions. Once the mask is made, children can use it again and again in pretend play. Makes a great gift for the super kid in your life. 21. Tactic Games, Junior Alias $14.99, 4-12 yrs.www.tactic.net This is the children’s version of the word explaining game Alias. The game idea is to explain words and pictures to your teammates without actually saying the word that is being explained, but by using synonyms, opposites, hints, and sounds instead. The teams try to guess as many pictures as possible before the time runs out. This game is fast, frantic,
and funny and helps little ones expand their vocabulary and practice simple interaction with others. It can even be played by children who cannot read as the picture shows the word.
22. TREND enterprises, A to Z Dot-to-Dot Dino-Mite Pals Wipe-Off Book $4.99, 3-6 yrs.www.trendenterprises.com Connect the dots from A to Z to complete the pictures. Reusable activity book is filled with incomplete dinosaur pictures or objects or shapes associated with dinosaurs, waiting for children to connect the dots. Bright images and easy-to-follow directions capture children’s attention and motivate them to complete the picture on each page. Both uppercase and lowercase letters are used. Perfect for school, childcare, home, and travel this book helps to prepare children for school by reinforcing foundational skills such as ABC order and letter recognition, eye-hand coordination, problemsolving strategies, pre-writing, & concentration. 23. Upside Down Games Yoga Spinner $15.99 5-12 yrs www.upsidedowngames.us Spin your way to healthy play. Just spin the spinner, draw a card of the matching color and perform the pose shown. If you held the pose, keep the card. There are other squares on the
spinner that change the gameplay the smiley face square lets you take a card from any player and the sad face square means you lose a card. Be the first to collect a card of each color to win. Yoga Spinner enhances coordination, increases flexibility and physical strength, inspires teamwork and cooperation. Includes 1 spinner with card storage for 54 yoga pose cards. 24. Whistlefritz Sabor! $14.99 0-12 yrs www.whistlefritz.com Fabulous fusion of world music styles, including cumbia, calypso, salsa, and merengue that teach children Spanish. This festive new collection of interactive Spanish learning songs places the emphasis on being active, whether it's making animal noises, playing games, calling out responses, singing, or dancing. Get ready to be immersed in irresistible rhythms and pulse-pounding beats, and get ready to shout,
"¡Sabor!" with lyrics and translation guides for Spanish (French is also available).
25. Wild Republic Creations $2.99, 3-12 yrs. www.kmtoys.com A wide variety of jewelry made from different materials include metal, wood, plastic, stone, and shell with vibrant colors, nature inspired designs, unexpected sparkles, and sophistication. Includes animal pendant necklaces, bead and knot and braided thread necklaces and bracelets, charm bracelets & necklaces, gemstones, icon necklaces or bracelet & ring sets, icon hair bands, clips and hair ties, large jeweled necklaces, mood animalprint necklaces, mood circle or heart necklaces, bracelets and necklaces, and many more styles. ##
Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/aka Dr. Toy® offers many play, learning, and toy suggestions from baby to older children in the new 4th edition of Dr. Toy’s Smart Play Smart Toys, available in book and toy stores and onlineAmazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads. The author of three books on toys, she evaluates toys and children’s products on Dr. Toy’s Guide www.drtoy.com and for the Dr. Toy’s Best Gift Guide App. You can find more articles by Dr. Toy on The Huffington Post. © 2014 Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, San Francisco, CA Dr. Toy ® is trademark of Stevanne Auerbach
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