With all of the fantastic new toys and games out there, it’s hard to know what’s actually worth buying. Luckily, BC is here to help sort the magnificent! from the meh. Check out our top 10 gifts for kids of all ages — all available locally!
Dinoroid Walking & Roaring T-Rex
Move over, Legos! With this do-it-yourself dinosaur craft kit, your kid can assemble a fully functional T-Rex with no tools, glue or other tricky materials. Once finished, the dino will respond to sounds by walking around and letting out a great roar.
$30, available at Wee Chic Boutique
Fidoodle Story Blocks
We know what you’re thinking —blocks? The toys may seem a bit basic, but these beautiful story blocks from Canadian brand Fidoodle take the classic to the next level. Available in a variety of patterns, from “City” and “Country” to “Fairytale Mashup” and “Wildlife in Sweaters,” the sets each allow imaginations to run wild on one side and form a puzzle on the other.
$36 per set, available at the Historic Annapolis Museum Store
What’s better than coloring? Coloring on a tee shirt — without getting in trouble. Enter Bizzy Teez, a Maryland-based brand of tees with designs from dinosaurs to flowers, complete with a set of fabric markers for kids to create a wearable masterpiece.
$25, available at bizzyteez.com and locally at Shananigans Toy Shop
First available in 1985, singing and storytelling bear Teddy Ruxpin is making a comeback. The remastered version of the classic furry friend is predicted to be 2017’s hottest gift (Think: Hatchimals of 2016) and features a whole host of new bells and whistles, including LCD eyes with more than 40 built-in expressions.
$90, available at Target and target.com
Thames & Kosmos CHEM C2000
STEM is all the rage these days, and this chemistry set from Thames & Kosmos is the ultimate gift for scientists to be. The set includes tools and materials for 250 experiments, exploring everything from chemical compounds to environmental science. And unlike previous sets from the company, the CHEM C2000 comes with a (safe!) burner to conduct experiments requiring heat. As cool as it is, though, be sure it’s only in the hands of kids 11 and up.
$160, available at aMuse Toys
According to Shananigans’ Flora Stelzer, old-school games are all the rage this year. Board games like Clue, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland and more offer an appeal to nostalgia and a positive alternative to screen time. In fact, even-older-school playthings are again having their day; Stelzer names yo-yos, jacks, marbles, and pick-up sticks as a few types of toys that are trending once again.
Prices vary, available at Shananigans Toy Shop
No, not the potatoes (which is not to say they’re not nice to have around the holidays!). Fingerlings are the buzziest new animal toys around: little monkeys, about the size of your child’s hand, that can clutch and hold onto kids’ fingers, as well as swing by their tails, respond to touch and sound, blow kisses, blink, and “monkey babble.”
$15 each, available at Target and target.com
Dressing up isn’t just for Halloween! Kids’ costume company Liontouch offers a wide selection of outfits and accessories for little knights, princesses, kings and queens (among others). Let your children’s imaginations run wild with dresses, crowns, capes, shields, swords and more for a fun fantasy experience.
Prices vary, available at Wee Chic Boutique
Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty
2017 has been the year of slime — fluffy slime, glow-in-the-dark slime, glitter slime … the list is endless. So it’s no surprise that its close relative, putty, is making a comeback. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty is the cream of the ooey-gooey crop, with over 40 colors, textures and effects (including magnetic, color-changing, and iridescent putty).
$11-$15, available at puttyworld.com and Shananigans Toy Shop
Moonlite Story Projector
This fun new gadget (another that’s predicted to sweep the nation) brings new meaning to the phrase “digital storytelling.” The device clips directly onto your smartphone and operates using story reels, which are projected onto the wall using the flashlight function of the phone and connect to an app that includes the words to the story and background noises. Bedtime just got a whole lot techier.
$25 for the starter pack, available at mymoonlite.com and select Target stores
L.O.L Surprise! Big Surprise Doll
Who can resist the element of surprise? Apparently our kids, who will spend hours on YouTube, watching someone unpack a new toy from its box. Baffling though it may be some parents, L.O.L. Surprise! dolls provide kids their own chance to get in on the trend — and the latest, the Big Surprise doll, promises 50 surprises inside. What they are is not entirely clear, but kids are sure to love it.
$60, available at Toys R Us and toysrus.com
BONUS: The Gift of Reading
Books make the best gifts!
Young Readers “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut” by Derrick Barnes
In this charming picture book, Derrick Barnes shows how much a haircut can change a boy’s sense of self.
$18, available at the Ivy Bookshop
Middle-Grade Readers “The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” by Mark Twain and Philip Stead
Inspired by a bedtime story he’d told his daughters, Mark Twain wrote some notes about the tale that were later turned into a full-length book by author Philip Stead.
$25, available at the Ivy Bookshop
Young Adult Readers “The List” by Patricia Forde
In a dystopian society, citizens of the city of Ark can only speak using a language of 500 words called List. But heroine Letta knows the whole scope of human language — and when she becomes Wordsmith, everything change …