Navigating the Wild World of Motherhood
Wondering what to get the little guys in your life this Christmas? Well, here’s my list of super-duper gifts for boys from toddler up to kindergartner. (I’m not being paid to tout these items, nor were any of these items freebies.) I’m compiling this list based on three criteria. First, these are toys my boys play with all of the time. Second, they are built to last and worth every penny. Third, I like these toys too. And that matters because they’re usually scattered all over the house, so I get to see them a lot. I like to think of toys as home decor, don’t you? Anyway, let’s get to it!
Oh, how I love the Leapster2. It was certainly created with little kids in mind. The colorful educational gaming device is chunky enough for small hands and it can withstand some serious bumps and bruises. Both of my boys have taught themselves how to play all of the games. The instructions are very easy to follow, even for toddlers. Both boys operate the controls with ease and the wand, which is needed for certain games, is attached securely – yay! The graphics are fantastic and if you take the time to download everything, you can see a summary of how long they’ve played (hours) and how well they are scoring in different academic areas. I love Leapster!
If these toys had been around when I was little, I would’ve begged borrowed and begged some more for them. I think these animated hamsters are hilarious! (And they don’t stink or poop.) I got my boys the Kung Zhu Pets because those are the rugged (boy) version of the girlie Zhu Zhu Pets. These guys are ninja warriors. In fact, you can buy them armor! See pic at top of posts for fierceness. See, I told you they were cool. They make the funniest little noises and bounce around at will. We often race the Zhu Zhu Pets on the Shake ‘N Go track I mention below. Now that’s entertaining! Besides, this is the closest my boys will ever get to owning hamsters.
Razor Rip Rider Castor Trike
This is the modern day version of the bulky Big Wheels we all had as kids. This Razor trike is the coolest toy we’ve ever purchased. It is lightning fast. I mean, this baby moves. It’s easy to control thanks to the Razor wheels and castors on the back. My son picks up serious speed on it, but he can easily maintain control. It’s so smooth and maneuverable, he can ride it around inside the house too. Much to his dismay, a helmet is required either way.
Another super toy/gift for toddlers! Both of my boys have their own Twlight Turtle (my older son has Twlight Sea Turtle) and we turn them on every single night. Twilight Turtle is one of the few toys that travels with us anytime an overnight stay is required. We’ve never used nightlights and I think it’s because of this innovative toy. The turtle illuminates the ceiling with tiny stars and a moon. You can choose blue, green or yellow stars, so it never gets boring. Plus, there is a self-timer so it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes. Love, love, love it.
I’m sure you’re like, “Come on, MommyQ, please stop talking about your love affair with Wheely Bugs.” No can do, folks. This is still one of my all-time favorite gifts for kids. I’ll go out on a limb and say a 2-year-old or 3-year-old might never stop playing with this ride-on toy. Everything about it perfection. The look, the design, the mobility. If you click here, you can read all of my posts about this speedy little critter.
Omg! What a super-terrific toy for little boys who love cars. This is definitely the most sturdy, functional and fun race track I’ve seen. Period. It comes with two shaker cars, but any shaker car fits. The cars require some solid shakes (we think 7 is the magic number), but they race around the track a lot faster than you might imagine. My boys also race their ‘Cars’ cars, HotWheels, NASCAR cars and even Zhu Zhu Pets around the track. We’ve decorated with our own stickers to make it perfect. This gift is great for toddlers and my kindergartner loves it too.
This guys is patiently waiting in the closet for X-Mas morning. You may have seen this tumbling monster on The Ellen Show, because he’s gotten a lot of attention this year. Much like a Kardashian, he’s always headed for trouble, so it’s fun to watch. He roars and pounds his fists, and then he takes off rolling around and walking. He walks forward and backwards and the six buttons are happy, angry, sleep, fun, ball, and exercise. He even throws a ball. A+ for amusing.
This is another toy we’ve had for over a year and the boys still love it. The Bat Cave has all sorts of trap doors and secret entries, but non of it operated with batteries. It’s all run on imagination and that’s why I love Imaginext. You can buy extra figurines and accessories to make it even bigger. (I highly recommend the helicopter.) There are a few small pieces, so if you’re giving it to a toddler keep that in mind. The Bat Cave folds into itself and closes, so your kids can pack it up and take it to different rooms with no major toy spillage. It’s very cool!
Jumbo cardboard blocks are a must-have for any child’s playroom. My boys absolutely love these blocks. We stack them, build tunnels, play games and more. The blocks are very easy to put together initially because they fold into themselves, so you don’t have to use tape. They can also withstand some serious abuse. I’ve seen a tower knocked across the room and the blocks survived without a scratch. Storing them can be a slight issue, because they take up a lot of room.
Well, I guess it just isn’t a post about toys for boys with something potentially dangerous, right? I have to admit, this Nurf gun is lots of fun. We have to make sure nobody gets hit in the face, of course, but it is a riot. My 3-year-old has a little bit of trouble getting it loaded, because it requires a pretty strong pump. My kindergartner has no trouble with it and is getting to be a good shot. Not as steady as a Sarah Palin hunting caribou, but he’s decent.
I’m a Wheely Bug junkie! If any of my friends ask me for a great gift idea for little kids, this is at the top of my list. I seriously think it’s one of the BEST gifts you can give a child age 2-5. If you’re still trying to find that hip, fun, lasting Christmas gift, you’ve found it! Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug – Bug – Large
Last year, I even wrote an ode to Wheely Bug on MommyQ. Yes, I’m that obsessed. And so are my kids. Our Wheely Bug is a constant source of fun and learning. I say learning because it really helps toddlers develop motor skills and balance.
The Bee and the Lady Bug are cute, but you just can’t beat the Cow. There’s something about those little wooden horns that makes you grin. Make sure you buy the large Wheely Bug. Your children will outgrow the small one way too quickly. Even if your kiddos are little, buy the big bug because they will grow into it in a flash.
As the mommy to a four-year-old with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), I’ve discovered many wonderful mainstream toys that are both fun and therapeutic. Toys that improve language development, sensory and motor regulation, build core strength, muscle tone and coordination. Toys that spark my son’s inner drive, encouraging more engagement and child-lead interaction.
Here are five of MommyQ’s favorite toys, from $18 – $300. Most of them are eco-friendly, which I personally love. I’m not speaking as a medical expert here, just as a mom. If you’re the parent, relative or friend of an autistic child, maybe this list will make your holiday shopping a little bit easier. I hope so!
Wheely Bug – If you haven’t seen these cute little ride-on critters, you need to check them out. I bought the cow for my boys last month and my ASD son loves it! (Also available in bee and ladybug!) It really helps him with coordination and balance, while building his core. We he first started riding it, he was wobbly. Now he can lift his feet and maneuver it around every corner. It has helped him adjust to motion that had bothered him in the past. In my opinion, this is one of the best gifts for an ASD child. Make sure you buy the big Wheely Bug to get the most use out of it. Eco-friendly! $70
Breakfast Menu Set – These types of wooden toys are great for a variety of reasons. Many autistic children have issues with food due to textures. By incorporating pretend food into playtime, it seems to make real mealtime easier. You can ‘prepare’ the pretend food together and takes turns ‘tasting’ it. That way your child is more open to the idea of trying different foods. Manipulating smaller toys, like shaking the salt & pepper shakers, improves fine motor skills too. Plan Toys is a wonderful green company and makes a huge selection of incredible wooden toys. Eco-friendly! $18
LIKEaBIKE – This is a unique eco-friendly bike sans pedals! That’s because this bike was designed to boost your child’s confidence and comfort in riding a bike, while building their balance, core strength, etc. They start out slow, usually walking with it and then as they improve, they can go much faster. Obviously this is not great for hills or steep surfaces, but on flat streets, in the driveway or at the park, it’s a wonderful (and fun) toy. Our OT therapist has mentioned it multiple times. Eco-friendly! $300
Haba Ball Track Master Builder Set – Many autistic children love toys that spin and roll. My son does a variety of activities at OT therapy involving marbles, which is why I love this toy from Haba. Your child can build the track and then watch the marbles spin through it. This is the big set and Haba also makes a smaller set for $43. This toy is perfect for fine motor skill improvement and development. It also gets the imagination and interaction rolling. Eco-friendly! $200
Hopscotch Puzzle Mat – Another great toy for improving balance, motor skills, interaction and organizing thought processes is this cute Hopscotch mat by Alex. First you put it together like a puzzle, then you play the game. This gives you child a great opportunity to practice hopping on one foot and then jumping with two feet. It’s also a good game for ASD kids to play with their friends or siblings. $23
Read Ode to a Wheely Bug to see the cow in motion!
Cute as a button;
As enjoyable as a hug;
No child should go without a ride-on Wheely Bug!
The bee is bright and cheery;
The lady bug is extra-sweet;
The cow, oh my goodness, is an absolute treat!
Scoot, spin and roll all over the house;
And thanks to special wheels, it’s as quiet as a mouse.
Evoking laughter, giggles and smiles as wide as the sea;
No critter is better than the one known as Wheely!
MommyQ is obsessed with this wonderful ride-on toy! Can you tell? I was driven to write poetry about it. Now that’s love! And I’m no stranger to this toy either. I’ve seen all three Wheely Bugs in person at least a hundred times, but now I know personally, why they are award-winning toys.
My youngest son turned one yesterday and his big gift was a Cow Wheely Bug. (Not an easy feat to wrap it, but MommyQ improvised and it looked cute enough.) The little birthday boy loved it, but my older son who is almost four, was completely enamored with it. He rode around the house on it, I pushed him around on it, he put his stuffed animals on it and pushed them around the house — What a simple, yet innovative toy!
The Bee and the Lady Bug are cute, but you just can’t beat the Cow. There’s something about those little wooden horns that makes you grin. My boys weigh 25 pounds and 45 pounds, so we opted for the large Wheely Bug. After seeing the boys play with it I encourage EVERYONE to buy the large Wheely Bug. Your children will outgrow the small one way too quickly. Even if your kiddos are little, buy the big bug because they will grow into it in a flash.
If you’re trying to find an extra-special toy for that extra-special baby or toddler in your life, get a Wheely Bug! You won’t be disappointed. Promise! Oh, did I mention it’s eco-friendly too? $69.95 at BabyEarth.