Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Favorite Toys

It’s the big weekend… the last weekend before the jolly ole fat man breaks into your house to eat your cookies and milk and  take credit for all the toys you bought the kids! Silly Santa! To help you navigate your toy list for all the littles this year… I’m here to help. I’ve rounded up my favorite toys for this season… toys that are great for all ages and will keep kids playing for years to come!   As with all my recommendations, these are all toys I have reviewed at home through this sweet blog or through my awesome job playing with toys all day… at TTPM.com. These toys are the a step above the rest and have some pretty amazing features.

I hope you find this list helpful. Merry Christmas!!!

Favorite Toys for Holiday 2015

 

Snoopy Railroad G-Gauge Set Lionel Train sets have been a favorite in our home since as long and I can remember. Thomas has the latest Snoopy Express and loves it. This is a G Gauge train that goes forward and back with a remote control unit. It also has some conductor phrases and a choo choo whistle. This is a large toy and has some pretty fantastic details!

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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best STEM Toys for Kids

The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guide - Best STEM Toys for Kids

Toys that inspire the science mind are really great for kids on many levels. This year there is no shortage of really awesome toys that look like toys but function on a MUCH higher level than STEM themed toys of last year.

Lily helped me put this list together and even helped design the layout. She said, “Mom let’s tell people about the good toys not just the ones everyone talks about”.

So here ya go… the GOOD toys. These toys are sitting around our house and the kids love them. Thomas and Lily both get a lot out of each of these pieces. And Matt and I are usually tinkering around with them as well!

Best STEM Toys for 2015! 
  1. ROOMINATE TownHouse – Roominate is a building toy geared toward girls (because of the colors) but once you over look the gender specific colors there is a lot more to this toy. These kits come with basic circuitry motor units that allow kids to build fans, doors that open..etc. Additionally there is a whole crafting component to this. Stickers, cutouts and colored stock paper are all included so you can decorate the walls and floors of your fab townhouse. There are tons of kits in various sizes.
  2. LITTLE BITS – OMG you guys. If ever I could sing the praises of a toy… this would be it! Again, it’s simple circuitry for kids with colorful pieces that allow kids to make flashlights, cars that move, buzzers, basically anything that moves. This toy teaches the order of circuitry and setting up a pattern and knowing what circuit makes what this go and the order of placement. It’s pretty neat and if you have a tinkering kid at home, this is for them!
  3. MAKEY MAKEY – this is the toy that could… and should… and the best thing i have seen all year! Can bananas make music… yes they can! can a tree make music… yes! ANYTHING can make music and  Makey Makey is going to teach you how to do that! You can make game boards, banana piano… there is a Makey Makey board, cables, connector wires, alligator clips… OMG you guys… the inventions are waiting! This is a REALLY COOL toy!
  4. BEGINNER SCIENCE LAB – This is Lily’s favorite! we’ve already gone through 2 of these kits and she’s getting another for Christmas. This kit has all the basic mad science gear you need, Test Tubes, volcano kits, potions and a book that teaches you all of it. Give your kids a corner of the bathroom or basement and let them have at it!
  5. WONDER WORKSHOP – This is the new kid on the block this year. Definitely swing by their website to see what piece work for you. Basically you have DOT and DASH … two robots that help kids with coding… yes.. coding. again, they won’t be developing apps when they play with this but it’s the basic order of -what comes after what -for coding that is being reinforced. These little robots have tons of accessories that include a xylophone for music, a camera mount and lots and lots more. read all about it on their site! 
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Holiday Gift Guide 2015 – Best Building Toys for Kids

Building Sets for Kids

 

 Alright… toys for the holidays. It’s time folks. we need to buckle down and get this done. I love building toys, I love making things and so I’ve hand picked my most favorite and REALLY well built building toys for kids.
  1.  LEGO – i mean… it’s LEGO so it’s classic and we know it’s great BUT … did you know that LEGO has a whole CREATOR series that has the COOLEST builds. Not just for kids… for adults. You know how ADULT COLORING BOOKS is a thing… you go check out LEGO CREATOR and get back to me… ADULT BUILDING is going to be a thing for sure. Look at that camper!
  2. KNEX – Knex are for kids who love a challenge. The new MIGHTY MAKERS line is geared toward girls (which i’m not into) but they do have great building themes. It takes time to build these and it’s a whole investment. But for tweens and teens this is so fantastic because it’s a challenge!  So give them a corner of the house to just build and create their awesome structure.
  3. LINCOLN LOGS – These are simple building toys that have totally taken on a hipster vibe lately. Lincoln logs are classic wooden build toys shaped like logs. The themes are mostly ‘cabin in the woods’ based but we love it!
  4. TINKER TOYS – These are great free play building toys where there really aren’t any rules! Pieces bend, wheels attach to make cars, you can make swings for your dollies and so much more. all pieces are plastic and lightweight and easy to attach together with connectors.
  5. MECCANO – The newest kid on the building block. The MECCANO toys are so fun and for all ages. They have various sets for toddlers all the way to this robot set for tweens and even adults. This MECCANO Meccanoid Personal Robot stands about 4 feet tall and has various motors that enable it to move. Of course you have to build it all and attach the motors which makes this even more fun!
  6. PLAYMOBIL – We love Playmobil toys because of their attention to detail in the build. Lily has this fairy building set and absolutely loves it. Playmobil has various levels of build to fit all ages so find the one that’s right for you kiddo!

Have fun shopping! I always think a building toy is the perfect gift for all ages!

 

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MOST WANTED Toys for Holiday 2015

That’s right folks! Tis the Season for gifting. This year let’s avoid getting into a brawl with the other last-minute parental shoppers – over that hot toy that you child just MUST HAVE under the tree. I’ve got you covered with all the top toys, the hottest trends, the new stuff, the specialty stuff and all of it! We start this massive gifting coverage this season with one of my most favorite events in NYC every year! TTPM Holiday Showcase.  

full disclosure, i work for this company and personally review toys and baby gear. TTPM has their finger on the pulse of the toy space. Also this is not a sponsored post. Just sharing the gifting knowledge. 

The most anticipated toy showcase in NYC took place last week in Chelsea. TTPM hosted their Fall Toy Showcase for a select group of national media. The ‘most wanted’ toy list was released and some of my favorite brands and toys made the cut.

I’ve been covering toy trends for a few years and I think that this years the toy industry has hit it out of the park. The toys are smarter, better, gender neutral. The market isn’t saturated with dolls whose proportions are completely ridiculous and tech seems to be prominent but not in a – sit on the couch and play- sort of way. The TTPM Holiday Showcase had an entire ” boutique” toy section for the specialty toys. What a brilliant idea. I love speciality toys, The wooden toys, the creative DIY kits, the eco friendly toys. I love the specialty market and it was really great to see them in the showcase this year. Something for every gift list!

Thomas was my little assistant for the day and immediately took to all his favorite finds.

Lionel Trains had the classic christmas tree set up with one of their trains circling and Thomas loved this. Lionel Trains are a great brand and make quality, detailed trains for collectors and toddler. We love this brand and have an older set that we use under our tree. 

Thomas’s latest obsession has been Hot Wheels. Anything and everything Hotwheels. So imagine his excitement when he saw this huge and very impressive HotWheels garage. It holds a ridiculous number of hotwheels with all the curving racing action we expect from Hotwheels playsets. 

Don’t look behind you Thomas!

The Go Go Smart Wheels display from VTech was probably his favorite… well beside the choo choos. The PR person was so sweet with Thomas and showed him all the features. Thomas at 2 Years Old, took the remote and without so much as a prompt started making it work. He is so in tune with technology but mainly because toy companies are making it easy for little kids to handle remote controls and tech toys. 

We spent some time oohing and aaahing over the KidTrax ride on toys. Thomas was asked to drive the fire truck around the showroom…we declined eeks! . And probably saved a few lives in the process!   The DinoTrux themed toys were really cool. with lots of moving parts and changing parts and well they are dinosaurs and trucks all in one. It’s a little MOTO dream come true!

There was so much to cover at the TTPM Holiday Showcase. Thomas worked up an appetite and then circled the lunch tables until it was time to eat. Whew… all in a days work.

Here is the TTPM 2015 MOST WANTED LIST. I agree with all of these choices!

          INNOVATIONS IN CLASSIC PLAY:  

          TOYS FOR BIG KIDS: 

There ya have it!!

Also look for more The New York Mom Holiday Gift Guides coming up on the blog. I have this massive coverage planned because I know how challenging it is to navigate the world of toys. Good news is that this is a great year for innovative toys, DIY kits, toddler toys… all of it. Even the tweens and teens have a great selection this year!

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