As busy parents, you don't have time to research toys with the best play-value and quality—especially since most of them are not widely advertised! TDmonthly has compiled a series of alternative holiday shopping lists by age to take the guesswork out of finding unique, fun toys for that special boy in your life. Keep this page on your SmartPhone when you shop. Click on any item to learn more about it, or simply scroll to the end of the list—please be sure to double-check age recommendations.
"Dingalingaling", our little heroes won't zip round the corner like the real fire brigade but this walker wagon helps them to start walking. They can push themselves up on their feet, find their balance and take their first steps. Special elements stimulate their curiosity: the flashlights turn when the wagon is pushed. The wagon of course comes with a fire fighter in the form of a cheerful glove puppet, which can be removed for play. Material: birch plywood, wheel treads made of silicone, cotton glove puppet. Dimensions: l60 x w 35 x h 52 cm.
Big fix-it fun for the smallest fixer uppers. Encourage imaginative play with chunky tools made from durable, soft plastic. Includes saw, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, drill (with sound) and tool box measuring 9"L x 5½"H x 3¾"W. Launch date: January 2012. Awards: 2012Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Best Toy Gold Seal Award
A classic starter set for the 2 year + child with all wooden details. Take the classic inspired engine out on an adventure along the tracks. Stop by at the all wooden station and continue along the tracks passing by trees and a crossing bridge. Lots of fun for the youngest drivers. Launch date: August 2012.
This long-necked plant-eating dinosaur lived during the Jurassic Period, in western North America. Authenticated by the paleontologists of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, this licensed scale model is designed to reflect the latest scientific research. Finely hand painted with up to 25 steps, this model is phthalate and lead free. The scale of the Brachiosaurus is 1:50 and measures 18.5”L x 7”H. Suggested ages 3+. Educational information in 5 languages is available. All products are 100% guaranteed and phthalate and lead free to ensure children’s safety. Launch date: April 2012.
The EZee Glider from Glide Bikes allows children to gain confidence, improve motor skills, increase coordination, and learn balance at their own pace all while having fun. Balance Bikes do not have training wheels and pedals to get in the way, so children learn the important first step in riding a bike- BALANCE. Pushing off with alternating feet as if the child were running from a seated position, the child can learn balance and control. Once the child becomes more stable they begin to glide with their feet off the ground. Glide Bikes also incorporates a unique foot peg system to allow kids to have a place to rest their feet while gliding. These pegs can be locked into place with one simple to use, tool-free pin allowing the foot pegs to be installed or removed in seconds. Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval — As of 10/5/2012 this product had 4.6 out of 5 stars from 14 reviews on Amazon.com. Pros: Air tires glide smoothly; bike is light enough for kids to handle; durable.
The attractive colors and grinning conductor on this train set are sure to impress. Train cars connect via magnets. Toot, toot, the locomotive arrives at the station with its three wagons transporting an interesting load: two small stacking games and a drum with a little bell. The conductor and load are removable. Material: PEFC certified beech wood. Non toxic, water based stain. Made in Germany. Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy Best Green Toys — Wooden trains and block sets were mention by two retailers surveyed by TDmonthly in February 2013 as best selling wooden toys.
Ahoy Mates! Walk the plank! Arggggg! are just a few of the play sounds children will be uttering as The Sevi Buccaneer play set occupies their imagination. This 23 piece set comes complete with Captain, mates, grain, anchor, crow’s nest and of course, a treasure chest with map. Designed to be played with on the floor, this ship really rocks to provide realistic learning and fun for the child. Did we mention that Sevi is Europe’s’ oldest wooden toy maker? Since 1831 Arrr… well, shiver me timbers!
We have combined our beloved, premium European-made art supplies with these easy-to-clean canvas travel cases (canvas coating is BPA free). Includes: 10 hexagon colored pencils, a pad of bright white paper & a playful carrying case.
With 10 classic Tegu blocks, a signature magnetic styling top, and 4 magnetic wooden wheels, Dart is a member of the Compact Line of Tegu Mobility. Deconstruct Dart and click the wheels on and off to create any number of mobile creations. Magnetic connections make racing and crashing as fun as building. Dart integrates seamlessly with the existing line of Tegu blocks.
With a simple click, wheels, cockpits, wings and panels attach to the magnetic bars. 48 magnetic pieces provide building variation and fun that reaches the finish. 18 medium bars, four long bars, two cockpits, four pairs of wheels, ten metal balls, two ramps, two containers, and four panels. Giant, non-swallowable 1.8 inch diameter metal balls.
100 piece GLOW IN THE DARK building block set. The building fun doesn't have to stop when the lights go off. Safe and non-toxic glow paint adds a new dimension to block building. Set includes 70 glow blocks and 30 natural color blocks. Building guide included. Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
Little builders with big ideas can work right at this professional-looking station. Shelves and storage keep all the tools and supplies in the 38 piece set within easy reach. Includes an "adjustable height counter that grows with a child," Robin Lehnert, Marketing Manager for Hape North America, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2012. Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
Kids can get in the driver's seat with the Inflatable Sports Car for iPad and enjoy turning the steering wheel tablet mount as they race around corners in their favorite racing games. The super bouncy and comfortable seat covered with images of playful Nickelodeon characters is designed for children of all ages supporting up to 230 lbs. The car is very easy to set up, just pull out and pop open the air valves around the car and inflate with the included foot pump. This model not only is compatible with the iPad, but sports design choices between 3 different beloved Nickelodeon characters that you won't find on our previous versions of the kart: SpongeBob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Launch date: September 2012.
A hand trampoline for balls: throw, catch, bounce. RAQ combines the ease of the other OgoDisks with the added power of a handle. Features the new Flux ball, with adjustable speed, for tailored fun. Bounce any ball; for summer fun, try it in the pool with water balloons. Each set includes one yellow and one OgoOrange RAQ disk with one Flux ball. EVA foam ring. Nylon-spandex membrane center.
Kids can create useable, meaningful wood projects with these real tools. Sized to be fully functional, yet easily used by children. An inter-generational gift that builds skills and relationships. 14 impeccable, real tools, including a hand saw, hammer, gimlet, sanding block, plane, pliers, mallet, chisel, Phillips screwdriver, flat screwdriver, c-clamp, ruler, square ruler, and spirit level, stored in a beautifully printed wooden tool box. Please note that this is a working tool kit with sharp-edged pieces. It should only be used under direct adult supervision.
The LaQ Dinosaur T-REX is a clever and creative 4-in-1 kit with 300 standard parts, and 4 specialized parts. Build a ferocious looking T-REX searching for its prey, or an Ankylosaurus, Deinonychus, or Pteranodon. Clear instructions to make each of the dinosaur models are offered in a colorful 24-page instruction guidebook. A Starter’s Model building instruction page is included for beginners. This is a very simple, yet highly creative construction toy block set, which offers an infinite possibility of creation from just 7 types of block parts, including 2 types of base parts and 5 types of joint parts. Awards: 2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Toys
This ferocious dinosaur head is the perfect place to store and play with the Tyrannosaurus Rex that's included. Unzip the backpack to reveal a prehistoric jungle, tar pit, volcano and lava filled gorge. When it’s time to go, kids can pack-up the dinos, zip up the backpack and throw it over their shoulder. Includes 1 dinosaur. Colorful, Durable, wipe-clean surface. Awards: 2012 TDmonthly Top Toy Award. Why it Won: This dinosaur shaped back pack unzips into a colorful, durable playmat. The playmat features prehistoric scenes like a tar pit and an erupting volcano. The backpack comes with one toy dinosaur, and kids can add their own collection as well. They can even have fun with the zipped-up backpack, which resembles the face of a fearsome green dino. The material is durable and easily wipes clean, and the zippers run smoothly, securely holding dinos and other toys until kids are ready to unzip and play again.
The Yardboard is the ultimate down hill slider for dirt, grass and snow. Unlike a snowboard the YardBoard is for ALL surfaces and requires no boots or bindings. Virtually indestructible and Made in the USA.
Enjoy the joy of skateboarding as a family with Zippy Flyer. Zippy Flyer comes in Blue or Orange. A fun and simple way to enjoy skateboarding with the whole family the way that skateboarding got started in 70’s, when everyone rode a plastic skateboarding with the newly invented urethane wheel, a special plastic that is uniquely perfect for a skateboard. Compact design makes it easy to store or throw in a bag. A perfect option for a first skateboard or a nice addition for any skateboard collection. Fun for kids of all ages. Includes: Reinforced injection molded propylene deck with hexagonal traction grooves; 59mm soft 80A durometer wheels for smooth riding on most surfaces; high quality diecast aluminum trucks; 90A durometer trucks bushing for easy turning; trucknut safety nylon locknuts; star patter steel deck bolts for maximu, support from board to trucks; and deck/truck safety nylon locknuts.
The ultimate large scale battleground for all HEXBUG Warriors students comes with two fully-armored collectible HEXBUG Warriors, eight Battle Stadium Pieces (compatible with Battle Arena) and 12 standoffs. There are two assorted HEXBUG Warrior Battle Stadiums available for fans to collect. Each features a different opposing pair of Warriors. — "Super easy to snap together...my son gave it a huge thumb’s up!" - Review from Kathy at DetroitMommies.com. Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
A rugged, four-wheel pedal kart with air-filled pneumatic tires and a wide wheelbase. Riders can pedal forward, backward, and brake without taking their feet off the pedals. Thanks to an adjustable seat, kids can continue to ride as they grow older.
Aero Flixx is an indoor action disc game. The 4 inch discs contain cool 3D images on 1 side and a foam backing on the other. Initially, there are 40 discs to collect and trade. A rubber band powered target is available at which the discs are tossed and a direct hit propels the target 5 - 6 feet in the air. Play indoor disc golf, H*O*R*S*E, shooting gallery, or other precision games using Aero Flixx' 3D throwing discs, target and target launcher.
Avast ye, matey; there's hidden treasure in this Playmobil Pirate Adventure Island. Find the 5 magic coins and use them to unlock a secret cave where the treasure lies hidden. Sound & light effects activate when the cave is opened. But beware of danger. The island also has hidden stairs and falling rocks. Set contains 210 pieces, including 3 figures, exotic creatures, rowboat, working cannon, and many other accessories. There's even a colorful poster for little buccaneers to put on their wall. Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
Features 4 modes, Smartphone control mode, maze navigation mode with infrared obstacle detection and demo mode and battle mode. Recharged from USB port by integrated USB flip out USB connector. Fast and furious control using a Smartphone for drift and power slide maneuvers. Shoot at an other Carbots and hear the machine gun sound as your phone vibrates and your opponent. Carbot does spins and swerves from side to side. Shipped with dual transmitter iDesk Pet Universal Remote Control Smartphone adapter (Android and iOS) for increased control distance. Each Carbot three different user selectable frequencies (A,B,C) allowing for up to three Carbots to race and battle. Launch date: August 2012. — "This little guy not only runs rings around their TankBot from earlier, but continues to give you the choice of autonomous control or letting your smartphone (iPhone/Android) take the lead as to where it can go and how it’s going to get there...the little guy moves so fast (good set of wheels working) that I started to run after it at one point...the CarBot is an affordable cool little RC vehicle that you can control or let go off on its own. The battery lasts for plenty of time before a quick USB recharge is needed too." - Review and 4.5 star rating from Marshal Rosenthal at GadgetReview.com.
96387 Jada Toys Bigtime Kustoms - 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Pickup Truck. 1:24 scale diecast collectible model car. This Ford F150 SVT Raptor Pick-up is an 8.5"L x 3.25"W x 3"H die cast with openable doors, hood & tailgate. This Ford F 150 SVT Raptor Pick up is manufactured by Jada Toys. Individually packed in a window box WB. Box size: 10"L x4.75"W x 4.75"H. 6 pcs per inner box in assorted colors. Launch date: March 2, 2012.
Build 30 Amazing Erector Models. Designs include Dune buggy, lawn mower, crane, speedboat, tractor, forklift, motorcycle with rider. Kids can make their own masterpiece with a 6 Volt Motor (Requires 4 AA batteries not included). Set has 352 Parts and includes instructions and illustrations for 18 models. — Joe Berardoni Jr., owner of Puns Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly that Erector sets are one of their top selling hobby items.
The Sbyke is a rear-steering scooter that is self standing and weight shift controlled, making it easy for both children and adults to ride. It features interchangeable stem lengths so it can be used by short and tall alike. The front wheel, a standard bicycle wheel, makes the Sbyke more durable and able to cover rough terrain than a traditional scooter. Holds up to 250 lbs. Awards: Dr. Toy 2012 Best Green Product, Dr. Toy 2012 10 Best Active Products, 2012 Dr. Toy 100 Best Children’s Products, Parenting Magazine Best in Play award at Toy Fair 2012, and ISPO 2012 Showcase Winner. — As of 9/21/2012 this product had 5 out of 5 stars from 1 review on Amazon.com. Pros: Well made; glides smoothly; fun for kids and adults.
Electric motors and generators are in countless devices, appliances, and vehicles we use every day. They are an essential technology in our modern world. With this kit, kids can conduct 25 experiments to learn how an electric motor converts electricity into motion, and how an electric generator does just the opposite, converting motion into electricity. The electric motor is made of transparent plastic to show how the inside components work. Set up the motor to run on battery power and learn how a motor works. Then reconfigure the device to work in reverse as a hand-crank electric generator. Experiment with magnets to learn about the force of magnetism, and how magnetic fields relate to electric current. Build simple circuits consisting of the motor or generator, wires, and a light bulb to learn about the flow of electricity. Learn about gears and drive-trains and how they work to effectively convert kinetic energy into electrical energy and back again. The full-color, 48-page manual guides your experiments with step-by-step instructions.