Happy Black Friday friends, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I got up extra early this morning to scope out the on-line sales and promptly sent my best finds off to my newsletter readers (sign up here to join).
Normally, I don’t share newsletter bonus material here on the blog but thought I’d make an exception today so you guys can get in on the deals too. These are 2013 Ultimate Toy Gift Guide selections that are on special Black Friday sales – which seem to be going on past Black Friday – so get ’em while you can!
(Now I’m back to bed for just a bit before getting up with the kids to make gingerbread houses with our extended family – yay!)
From our gift guide: “Best Toys for Fostering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Skills in All Ages“.
Of all 250+ toys on our gift guides, this one has been in the top 3 every year!
Snap Circuits $45.07 (8 – 15 years) and Snap Circuits Jr $20.55 (5+ years with parental help, 6 or 7+ for independent play) – This clever kit is another multi-award-winner that takes advantage of kids’ natural interest in building toys like LEGOs to teach the principals of electricity. The components aren’t intimidating, snap together simply, and can be used to create a bunch of cool projects. The standard set comes with over 60 pieces to create over 300 different electronic projects.
The pieces include snap wires, slide switches, an alarm circuit, a music integrated circuit, and a speaker and are numbered and color-coded to make identifying them easy. These components combine to create working circuit boards just like the ones found inside televisions, radios, and other electronic devices. For bigger kids, you’ll definitely want to check out Snap Circuits Lights.
Just connect any MP3 player and be amazed as your music creates a mesmerizing light display. No two songs will ever produce the same light show. Includes prepunched patterns for motor, strobe light, and color-changing LED, lighted and glow-in-the-dark fans, strobe integrated circuit, color organ controlled by MP3 player, voice, or finger. Builds over 175 experiments.
LEGO Architecture: The White House
(12+ years) – More architecture than engineering, I still had to include this fabulously open-ended LEGO set. Described by some as “not really a toy, more a beautiful design set”, reviewers rave about these beautiful sets.
The point of this entire kit is to teach about architecture and then inspire users to take apply what they’ve learned to make their own creations. I love the endless possibilities for innovation grounded in solid architectural principals here.
Crayola Light Designer
From our “Best Art Supplies for Open-Ended Creativity” gift guide.
(6+ years) – This is the next generation of those light brights we all cherished as kids (that wasn’t just me was it? No, I know it wasn’t). The round dome responds to the touch of a stylus to display up to seven colors.
Plus animation options allow kids to make their creations move and they can create six-frame movies with the Movie Maker activity. How cool is that? The best part? No cleanup and no endlessly stepping on little pieces strewn about the house.
From our gift guide: “Top Picks for Family Game Night“…
This is another of our top 5 most popular picks every year we’ve done the gift guide!
(5+ years) – My son got this strategic domino and scrabble-like game for his 5th birthday and asks to play it during our one-on-one time or as a family several times a week. Although we’ve altered the rules and points system a bit to adjust for his age, this Parents’ Choice Gold Award and Mensa National Competition winner is still fantastic for working on shape and color recognition as well as pattern perception and spatial and critical thinking skills. This is one that our family is sure to be playing for years to come.
Spot it! and Spot it! Jr Animals
Spot it! (4 years – adult) also there’s a junor version for 3+ on sale, Spot it! Jr. Animals – An award-winning game that centers around visual perception and speed. The goal is to be the first to identify a match on a pair of cards and to call out out the name of the figure in common. This is the type of game that quickly becomes addictive and will cause lots of laughs and (hopefully) friendly competition.
(4 – 8 years) – This is another super popular game with families with young children and it was another of our family’s first games. A lot like BINGO, players get picture cards and try to fill them up. There is a speed component too that we use about half the time with our 5 year old and skip with our 3 year old. We have both the standard version and the numbers version and both are regularly requested by the kids.
Leapfrog Read with Me Scout or Violet
This one barely missed the cut for our “Best Dolls for Girls & Boys” gift guide AND our “Best Learning Toys for Quiet Time” gift guide but i thought I’d include it because it’s on sale and we’re getting it for S this year!
(2 – 5 years) My kids have the regular versions of scout and violet and have loved them for years. Their new “read with me” cousins talk and sing just like the original but also read from 5 included books, asks questions to engage kids and deepen comprehension.
The dogs feature 5 interactive touch points, 70+ comprehension questions and 5 illustrated board books to teach comprehension, early vocabulary and book and print basics.
From our “Best Building & Construction Toys” Gift guide…
(4+ years) A friend from toddler group recommended these to me when I mentioned what a big fan we are of magnatiles. They work in the same way but are a cheaper introduction to the magnetized block building set.
Because they join together using magnets, kids can create elaborate structures (often taller than they are) without becoming frustrated by crashes. They’re also great for use with other toys. They can be used along with blocks and LEGOs to make elaborate structures, with marbles and cars to make tunnels, bridges, and marble runs, or even with dolls to create doll houses.
LEGO 3-in-1 Creator Series: Construction Hauler
(4+ years) – The Creator Series are another series of kits, much like the LEGO City collection (also on sale today here) with the difference being that each kit can be used to create 3 totally different things. My son thinks this is especially awesome and will probably ask for some of these instead of the LEGO city kits from Santa this year.
Kidkraft Vintage Kitchen
From our “Best Toys for Quality Dramatic Play” Gift Guides…
(2 – 8 years) – The play kitchen is a quintessential play toy that I would recommend for every child if you have the space and budget. There are so many different ways kids can play with them – cooking at home, setting up a restaurant, having a tea party, going shopping and unloading the groceries, etc.
We bought this one for the kids two years ago when they were 1 and 3 and couldn’t be happier with it. I really like the look of the thing and I think the vibrant red is nicely gender neutral. Despite a small footprint, this kitchen still has all the amenities and both my kids enjoy regularly playing at it simultaneously even now at ages 3 and 5.
(Side note: people sometimes ask if kids will get too big for this smaller kitchen – mine are 95% in height and haven’t had an issue). If you’re looking for a big wow gift from Santa, this could very well be it!
Melissa & Doug Shopping Cart
(3 – 7 years) – A shopping cart isn’t totally necessary for shopping play but if you have the space, kids absolutely LOVE it, both for playing store and just for pushing their dolls and other pals around in. (This optionbundles the cart with a wooden pantry food set and a fridge food set.)
Melissa & Doug Dress Up Sets
(3 – 6 years) – A big box full of dress up clothes was the kids’ big present two Christmases ago. I filled it with lots of random items (shoes, jewelry, masks, hats, boas, etc) as well as a few complete outfits. For that, Melissa & Doug’s selection has always been my favorite. The veterinarian, police officer, pirate and chef sets are on Black Friday sales.
Also, don’t forget as you’re shopping the sales that we’re giving away a $100 Amazon gift cardhere. Good luck!
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Finally, if you’re in the market for some kid clothes along with the toys, MPMK favorite Polarn O. Pyret is offering up free shipping through December 2nd using the code: GOBBLEPOP!
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