Barefoot in High Heels

Toys and Things Your Kids Will Love

Posted on: November 5, 2008

I can’t wait to check out all the links on this week’s Works For Me Wednesday post.  It’s a themed edition — Toys Worth Buying. 

Well, considering I have a bunch of big, plastic-y toys (none of which I have bought personally!) that I do NOT want cluttering up my living room, I’m all for some good ideas.   And I have a few of my own. 

Here’s the thing.  Listen up aunts/uncles/grandparents/in-laws:  STOP BUYING THE PLASTIC BATTERY-OPERATED JUNK!  We had a birthday party for both of my girls this past weekend — one turned 3 and Baby turned 1 — and I swear the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes were just as fun as some of the toys!!  And, I’m all about creative play, imagination, art sets, no batteries needed.  So here are some good ideas from my own personal experience:

1.  Barefoot Books.  I know, I know, if you read this blog often, I can expound on how much I love Barefoot Books!  So much so that I started selling them last winter.  You can NOT go wrong.  And even better, if you’re buying for kids that are not your own, you never know what books are already in their library.  Since Barefoot isn’t as well-known as some of the big publishers, and WITHOUT LICENSED CHARACTERS (yay!), my guess is that MOST kids don’t already own any of these.  Check it out.  You WON’T be disappointed.

2.  Stacking/nesting blocks.  Two years ago I purchased a set that featured artwork from Eric Carle’s Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?   


We.  Love.  This.  Toy.  I love that each side of the block features something different (an animal, a number, a touch/feel side, etc.  I love that it matches a book that we know.  And I love that the blocks are nesting, too, so they fit inside each other, and when put away don’t take up much room at all! 

3.  You can’t go wrong with some outdoor-fun toys.  As simple as it sounds, sidewalk chalk and big bubble machines or wands are a huge hit! 

4.  I’m buying one of these for my girls and my nephew this year:  Kids Busy Box.  How cool is this?  A whole set of arts & crafts supplies, complete with the glue, scissors, tape, felt, glitter, etc.  With instructions.  For me, who is woefully inadequate in the craft department, I have no more excuses when I shy away from crafts with the kids.  It’s all in here for you.  I can’t wait to try it!

5.  I bought my nephew a magazine subscription last year for his birthday.  His second birthday.  That’s right — there’s a few companies out there who cater to kids that young, but I chose the National Wildlife Federation and their Animal Baby magazine.  Every month he received a board book/magazine in the mail, and it was perfectly age-appropriate!  I want someone to buy this for my kids.  It’s educational, it’s fun to get mail, and you can throw it away recycle it when you’re finished.  No mess, no junk.   Love it.

6.  Now I’m not one for DVDs.  But I make an exception for one:  The Laurie Berkner Band.  My friend bought this for us when my daughter was 18 months old, and 18 months later, we still love it!  The 1/2 hour DVD is like a music video for a bunch of songs, and the kids will get up and dance.  The tunes are catchy, and the kids love it!  It’s great for a 30 minute diversion when I need to blog cook dinner.

7.  OK, OK, so I’ll add one brand of battery-operated toys here.  My daughter has really loved the Parents brand cell phone and the Parents microphone.  She sings her little heart out on her “stage” (the fireplace hearth) and she loves that she can record a snippet of her voice on both toys.  They’re small, they’re cheap, so again — they won’t take up much room!

8.  We also bought my 3-year-old a kitchen this year (but I spent about $35 instead of the uber-expensive sets.  I mean, it’s all pretend play — I don’t NEED the best out there.  She’d play with the $300 one the same way as the $35 one!).  We’ve had it for 2 weeks now and it’s a big hit.

So there you have it, folks.  Shop away.  But if I could offer some advice for you — wrap the gift in some fun shiny paper.  Because your kids will still probably have more fun with the wrapping and bows than what’s inside the package.  🙂

2 Responses to "Toys and Things Your Kids Will Love"

Hi Lori,

Your Blog is really fun and cute and I want to send you my new cd for kids. I’ve got 2 daughters and my girls love the record (OK, well, when you hear your mom sing – it’s kind of cool I guess).

If you send me your address ( and I”d be happy to send you a cd. You can let me know how they like it!

Happy Blogging!

aka: Didi Pop

My sentiments exactly on the packaging, new plastic junk junk junk and wrapping paper! We are all culprits of such a major problem! What a great list this is!

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