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What are you buying your kids for Christmas?

November 1, 2015
By Kristy MacKaben - For Mirror Moms , Mirror Moms

It's easy to get caught up in the Shopkins or Minecraft crazes. And, of course, American Girl and Star Wars paraphernalia are sure to top the Christmas lists of many children.

Parents, however, might want to look past the hype this year. Sometimes it's the things not on the lists that make the best presents.

"Parents are often for stuff that's educational and interactive, and fun," said Ken Plisinski, chief operations officer at Go! Games & Toys, a store at Logan Valley Mall that focuses on family entertainment. At Go!, customers will find unusual games and toys, but also family classics they might have forgotten about. "Our concept with our store is to bring out your intellect with your mind."

Before buying gifts this year, parents should do a little research to ensure the product is worthwhile.

Stevanne Auerbach, who has been dubbed "Dr. Toy", said parents should consider a toy's durability, staying power and adaptability. (Auerbach chooses and rates the best toys and games each year.)

Questions parents should ask themselves before buying a toy are "Is this product worth the price? Does it have lasting play value? Is it appropriate? Is it fun? Does it meet safety standards?"

"There should be basic play value that encourages the child to use the imagination and want to return and continue to play," Auerbach said.

With the help of local store owners and experts, as well as parents, Mirror Moms compiled a list of unusual gifts that kids will love - even if they're not on their lists.

Babies/Toddlers

Hand Socks

Available at Toys R Us and www.buybuybaby.com

Keep baby's hands warm with hand socks. Invited by a mom on a ski trip, these hand socks don't slip off easily like mittens. ($19.99)

Diaper Caddy

House all baby's supplies near the changing table while she's in diapers, and then use this diaper caddy for art supplies. ($60)

Little Balance Box

Available at www.littlebalancebox.com

This versatile little box can be used by babies just learning to walk or by toddlers as a table or drum. The top is clear and made of polycarbonate, so babies can see their feet, and also tap on it to make sounds. ($69.99)

Tubby Table

Available at www.tubbytabletoys.com

Little ones might not want to leave the bath with this bathtub toy. The table with interactive play features, suctions to the bottom of the tub so children can sit and play. ($39.99)

Preschoolers

World Village Playset

Available at www.wholewideworldtoys.com

Teach children about different cultures through play. Newly released by Hershey, this playset focusing on China includes a play mat, a chunky puzzle and a book about a family in China. China is the only set offered, but others focusing on different countries will be released soon. ($59.99)

Educational Tableware

Available at www.themultiples.com

While eating or drinking, kids can have fun, and become familiar with numbers. The Multiples is children's tableware (targeted to kids 2 to 10) based on 12 characters each with a favorite number. Depending on the child's age, the tableware will focus on different math skills, such as counting by 2s, addition and multiplication. (Price is $34.99 per set.)

Galaxy Play Tent

Available at www.pacificplaytents.com

Kids could play for hours in this dome tent with four connecting tunnels. The tent is adorned with glow in the dark stars. ($142.50)

Sleeper Hero Book and Doll

Available at www.sleeperhero.com

Perfect for little ones who fight going to sleep, the sleeper hero doll and book provides comfort. The little boy in the book doesn't want to stay in his bed at night until he is introduced to a doll that becomes his buddy and helps him to not be scared at night. Like the doll in the book, the super hero doll has a light to ward off bad guys. At night the light is red which means "stay in bed." In the morning, the light changes to green, signaling children it's OK to wake up. ($49.99)

Gradeschoolers

Bees Wax Candle Kit

www.beeswaxcandlekits.com

For the crafty kid, the bees wax candle kit offers a unusual activity set. Included in the kit are bees wax sheets that can be rolled into candles. ($38.99)

Invention Kit

www.makeymakey.com

Creative kids will get a kick out of the Makey Makey invention kit. The unusual gift allows kids and adults to turn almost anything into an input device. Turn a banana into a piano or create a photo booth for pets. The package includes USB cable, instructions and visual project start guide, and online documentation. ($49.95)

A Family Book to Read Together: "The Zealous Zebecs from the Midnight Ocean's Zenith" By Lisa Baker-King

Available at Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Amazon, zebecs.com

This unusual book about the adventures of a brother and sister allows children to read at their level, while parents or grandparents read a more detailed text. The pages on the left side of the book are written for advanced readers, while the pages on the right side are written for younger readers. ($10.95)

Melissa and Doug Geography Placemat

Available at Go! Games and Toys at Logan Valley Mall

Children can use wipe-able markers to write and erase on the geography placemat. ($3.99)

Disney Infinity 3.0

Available at Game Stop in Logan Valley Mall and other local retailers

Star Wars fans will love this new version of Disney Infinity where light sabers have been included in combat scenes.

Write Brain Books: Author's Kit

www.writebrainbooks.com

The budding author will love this kit which includes tools to write a book. After the book is written by the child, it is published and delivered to the writer. ($39.95)

Teen/Tween

Bike Speakers

www.audiblerush.com

Mix technology and outdoor play and you might make parents and kids happy. Jam-lite speakers attach to bicycles and can hook up to smart phones or other music playing devices. ($39.95)

Mini S'mores Kit

www.undiscoveredkitchen.com

S'mores don't have to be just for summer. This kit includes the makings for 10 gourmet s'mores, including skewers and hand-made chocolate-filled marshmallows.

Kitchen Table Passport

www.kitchentablepassport.com

Exposing children to different cultural experiences is one way to foster acceptance and ignite a passion for learning about the world. Kitchen Table Passport offers monthly packages featuring a different country each month.

 
 
 

 

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