Things to Do - No Monsters 2015 "Sort-of" Toy Gift Guide (And A Give Away!!!! - NOW CLOSED!)

I've never done a gift guide before, as I have a love/hate relationship with the whole concept. On one hand, gift guides are such an in-you-face celebration of consumerism and the need to find new things to buy that you didn't even know you wanted (really, is it necessary to buy things you didn't even know you wanted?). On the other hand, well, they're fun. And pretty.

Now that the kids are growing past the toy stage, it's sort of fun and look back at which toys really stood the test of time and which were forgotten almost as soon as the wrapping paper came off.

So if you're looking for some ideas for you kid/niece/neighbor/etc. here are things that we've loved through the years and that, on cold boring days, I'll still find older kids re-exploring.


T's Favorite Toys; ages 3.5-6

1. Everything but the Dalmation Firehouse. Every time I suggest that (after 2 years) we finally move this out of the living room, T says no.

2. Magformers XL Cruisers Car Set (Colors may vary). For two years, T couldn't stop playing with these. So. many. cars.

3. Army Men Action Figures -soldiers of WWII- Big Bucket of Army Soldiers - Over 200 Piece Set. We take these on vacation with us, within seconds any hotel room can become a combat zone.

4. Wooden Play Cutlass - Made in USA We have a house full of toy weapons (yes, I'm THAT mom), I think this one is my favorite because it's tough enough for little boys but cute enough for sappy moms.

The Girls' Favorite Toys; ages 6-10

5. Pogo Stick. They continue to bounce. All of them. Year after year.

6. All Natural Spa Lab The spa lab was a huge Xmas success two years ago, since then we've mostly moved onto our own recipes (love the book - Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made from All-Natural Ingredients), but it all started with this kit.

7. Flip Fashion I love this book, everyone loves this book. It's pretty. And fun. And good for any age who is old enough not to try to eat the pages.

8. Spalding NBA Street Basketball Give a girl (even a girly girl) a basketball and she'll love you for life. Skateboards work too.


Everyone's Favorite Toys; ages 3-10

9. MagnaTiles. We've had these for 8 or so years now and the kids still play with them.

10. Just Dance 2016. I think everyone is sick of Just Dance, but if you have a house of bored kids, it works. Year after year.

11. Gravity Maze. We've played with this often since last Christmas, the challenges are fun to solve as a team. And it's crazy to see all the different ways you can put the parts together.

12. Toroflux - Kinetic Spring Toy. It is impossible not to love this toy/gadget/doodad. Plus it feels like a massage on your arm.

13. LED Foam Stick Baton Supreme. Cheap. Easy. Fun. for these long winter days. So much better than glowsticks.

14. Blutrack 25' Track Set. T received this as a birthday present 3 (4?) years ago and it is still going strong. The kids like to loop it over chairs, tables, stairs, boxes, etc. to make different racetracks. We've even brought it on vacation a few times. It's seriously one of those gifts that just keeps giving.

AS AN EXTRA HOLIDAY TREAT, THINKFUN WILL GIVEAWAY ONE GRAVITY MAZE GAME TO A NO MONSTERS READER!! (US addresses only). To enter please comment on this post, with your name and email address. Don't forget to write your email in the text of the message (so I can find you). A random winner will be chosen next Monday (December 14).



  1. We've had our Magna- Tiles for a couple of years now too. So glad your kids still use them. Great list!

  2. I already have a few of these on my idea list, but more ideas is always good! :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Love Think Fun! Mbooth underscore 98 at yahoo dot com

  5. I love that the Spa Kit branched out into more chemical/science exploring. So true about the basketball. My girl asks to help sort laundry so she can shoot the clothes into the bins.

    Think Fun makes great games for the entire family to enjoy.
    Margaret -- vbneone@hotmail.com

  6. Some favorites listed and some new ones for the amazon list. Thanks for the chance. I'm at kat (dot) lally (at) gmail (dot) com.

  7. This is a great list! Niam's only 2, but I think the MagnaTiles and the Dalmation firehouse would be a hit. Needed some ideas - perfect timing. =)


  8. are you kidding ME! this list is insane bananas fantastic!! You are the woman Who Knows Everything. :) juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com

  9. Nice! We really need a new Just Dance game. We have two, and I'm sick of them. ;) Gravity Maze looks so cool. silvershoesandrabbitholes at gmail.

  10. Thanks for those awesome gift ideas and great timing! Now I know what to get for the holidays -- ssong23 at gmail

  11. Thanks for the fun suggestions and ThinkFun is absolutely awesome! Laurenobrennan at yahoo.com



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