Non-mainstream toys for mainstream children? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 59 Old 09-02-2010, 07:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by curiouscanadian View Post
I too grew up with and LOVED Legos, but he's got a 1yo brother (so choking hazard) and they already have a TON of the larger Duplo/Megablocks.
I don't think the toys you buy for the 4yo have to be safe for the 1yo. My DS is 5, and his very favorite thing to play with is the tiny Legos, and we absolutely let him have them, even though he has a 2yo sister. He just has to play with them either in his room or on the table so that they stay out of her reach, and he's fine with that. I can't imagine that your nephew's parents will restrict his toys to only things that are safe for the baby.

Just wanted to throw that out there in case you really wanted to get him a big-kid Lego set.

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#32 of 59 Old 09-02-2010, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Molliejo View Post
We have a stomp rocket. It is pretty darn kick ass.
Ok, seriously, where can I buy these in Canada?! Never mind the kiddos, I want to try one!

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When I buy for my nieces and nephews (I have 5 total-3 nephews and 2 nieces, ) I always just call my siblings and ask, or in the case of the 8 and 10 year olds, I just ask them what they want. And, we are all fairly close together, and see each other multiple times a week. When I ask, I usually get a list of ideas, and just pick one.
I did ask for suggestions a while ago, but never heard back about it. We only see them about once a month (if we're lucky) and DN has fairly severe speech delays so I can't really ask him.

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#33 of 59 Old 09-02-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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I think I would get legos or Playmobil

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#34 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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I saw a commercial today for Weebles and I'm wondering if my four year old is too old for them. I ADORED Weebles when I was a kid.
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#35 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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I know you already bought a gift (those cars are awesome! My DS would love them), but I wanted to tell you about The cardboard box book. It looks like loads of fun, and I think it definitely has the appeal for all kids, flashy toys or no flashy toys. It might be a little advanced for him to do by himself right now, but maybe in a year or two.

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#36 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 01:23 AM
 
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PS Canadians can search "stomp rocket" on amazon.ca and there is a book that tells you how to make them yourself, as it claims, for less than $1.

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#37 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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For future ideas: Playmobil have great play value. Right now our house is a kid magnet because of our playmobil collection. It's really sweet to see my 9 year old and his 11 year old (very media and tech savvy) friend making up games with playmobil. They come in a gazillion different themes (knights, castles, rescue, zoos, farms....).

Cranium games are easily found and a lot of fun.

Zingo is a great game for this age.

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#38 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by curiouscanadian View Post

I too grew up with and LOVED Legos, but he's got a 1yo brother (so choking hazard) and they already have a TON of the larger Duplo/Megablocks. I am thinking maybe larger Magneatos or Wedgits though.
I had rules for Legos. No playing with Legos where the baby could get ahold of them. So they were played with on the table or when the baby was asleep. Or in the bedroom with the door shut (in the case of Dylan when his nephews/niece lived with us). And not all toddlers put things in their mouths. My 18 mo nephew wants to play Legos with his 5 yo brother (Legos) and 3 yo sister (Duplos). So Joy will be sending some of the Duplo back to my house for him.

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#39 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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Yup, go for something that is "acceptable" to pretty much everyone, but is a more open-ended toy. Like a ball of some sort, books, etc. What I do if I can though is ask for a list of toys and pick one off of that and then maybe include something along with it like a book that is more my style.

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#40 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Okay, so I haven't spent much time with him lately, but the two things that aren't electronic that I know he's interested in are Bakugan (I know NOTHING about it) and sword-fighting (he already has foam swords). Besides that??? I don't know. I'll wait to see what SIL can suggest.
I have a Bakugan fan here, too. Yes, they are a battle toy, but I've come to really appreciate them - they are quite intricate and the way some fold together is just ingenious. They remind me a little bit of a 21st century, mass-produced version of those antique boxes with hidden drawers. The artists who design them are very talented! ETA: The nice thing about these as a gift is that you really can't go wrong with the warriors as a gift, even if you don't know which one the child has. At least in my son's circle, they trade the cards and balls, so if they get a duplicate, it is still valuable for trading with someone else.

I see you ended up with Automoblox. My sons have several, and they are a lot of fun. They don't play with them a ton, but when they do, the boys seem to enjoy them. I hope your nephew likes them!
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#41 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 02:08 PM
 
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So what kind of toys do you buy for the mainstream kids in your life?
It varies. I've just given up on a couple of my nephews and buy them gift cards to EB Games (they're 10 & 11). Up until last year, they got building toys - Lego and such. Their sister (also 11) got craft items of various kinds - she's really into the girly-girl "princess" thing, so we tried decorate-your-own flip-flops and a couple others we thought would appeal to her. My other nephews and niece have had...a math game (one nephew is almost certainly profoundly gifted, and loves math - wasn't us pushing it), a toy microphone (electronic - she had her heart set on it), a fairly cheap children's accoustic guitar, subscriptions to National Geographic Kids...umm...PlayDoh...can't think of what else.

I don't like to buy blinky flashy stuff. My nephews and nieces like that stuff. I try to find things that play to their interests outside of that, but it's become really hard with a couple of them (the nephews above) and I gave up. I don't want to get them something they won't like. I avoid anything with batteries for my sister's kids, because she's really broke, and that just adds batteries to the list of stuff she "needs" to buy.

Generally...craft supplies, books, puzzles, games...check out Klutz books - they have some fun rocket and airplane ideas.

Oh - four might be too young (I don't think so, but maybe), but PlayDoh makes an ice cream shop set. It's plastic, which I don't like much, but my kids love it. They've played with it for 3 hours straight, without any squabbling, requests for snacks or anything. This qualifies as a miracle toy...seriously. It might be worth a shot.

And, he may be a bit young, but I bought one of thsee for a nephew who loves to read a few years ago, and it went over really well:

http://www.iseeme.com/oriveownna.html

...and I'm thinking of getting this one:

http://www.iseeme.com/piratebook.html

for ds2 this year.

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#42 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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He seriously has NO interested whatsoever at all in anything that doesn't have an on switch? I honestly have never met a child like that.
I have...not many, but a couple.

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Just because the parents have made a choice to allow plastic/electronic toys (or rather, to not try to avoid those things) that doesn't mean that parent isn't equally open to non-electronic or more open ended stuff.
This is very, very true, but sometimes the kids aren't open to non-electronic.

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#43 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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Ok, seriously, where can I buy these in Canada?! Never mind the kiddos, I want to try one!
Check out Grand River Toys and Mastermind Toys. I do a lot of Christmas shopping at those two places. They're not exactly Waldorf-y, but they have a neat assortment of stuff.

I just read through the rest of the thread. I can't believe I didn't think of bug catching stuff. On a whim, I threw a small bug catching/examining jar into dd1's birthday present when she turned six. She, ds2 and five of their cousins spent most of the rest of the party hunting bugs, and they had a blast.

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#44 of 59 Old 09-03-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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I didn't know there were "values" attached to toys other than the price sticker. If someone gave my child a gift that was not like the others she has, I would be much more concerned to know there was some kind of attitude attached to it.
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#45 of 59 Old 09-04-2010, 12:42 AM
 
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I suggest going with what interests the kid. For instance my DS loves dinosaurs and he would simply love to recieve dinosaur books, dinosaur stuffed animals, dinosaur figurines, electronic dinosaurs, dinosaur board/electronic games, dinosaur clothes.... you get the picture. He even recieved dinosaur themed moon sand one year that he thought was super cool.

And he might surprise you too. There have been a few gifts that my son recieved that I thought for sure he would have no interest in but wound up being one of his favourite toys.
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#46 of 59 Old 09-04-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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You realize they sell Waldorf toys at Toys R Us. Does that make them mainstream?
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#47 of 59 Old 09-04-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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I think classic toys are the way to go. Tops, jack-in-the-box, yo-yos, train sets, tinker toys, etc. are all recognizeable, fun, and yet not mind-numbing.

http://www.amazon.com/Channel-Craft-...593466&sr=1-17

Kids love tops. I am always amazed at how well my children's tops are received. I will literally have ten kids from ages 6 months to ten years sitting around having me spin them again and again. I can never have enough tops. But still, it's not like people think, "Oh, crunchy!" They just ask where I got it. "Oh, I remember that! Where on earth did you find one nowadays?!"

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#48 of 59 Old 09-04-2010, 08:38 AM
 
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Books.

I give books (along with a non book gift.) When we go to birthday parties, NO one else gives books. So, there... I guess it's not a mainstream gift.

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#49 of 59 Old 09-04-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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This is a really useful thread for us, too. I love the cardboard box book. I can see giving that with a couple of big cardboard boxes and some art supplies. This will be perfect for dd to do at Christmas as the day progreses, presents are over and everyone's talking and hanging out at our (fantastic) in-laws.

We go to lots of "mainstream" birthday parties for dd, too; who is 6. It's true it's sometimes hard to know what will go over well from the local toy/book store; but in my experience, the parents and kids are usually delighted with what we buy. Often, our gift gets a pretty lukewarm reception at first; but after the other toys have been put down, it's a different story.

We've bought:
-DIY cartoon books
-face paints
-organic popcorn
-fimo with instructions
-fun, personalized stainless-steel water bottles
-nontoxic nail polish
-alphabet bracelets, so the kids can spell their name and wear it. Jewelry goes over especially well with boys, since people almost never buy it for them

OP, I think you did great!
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#50 of 59 Old 09-05-2010, 02:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I "lost" this thread for a bit (I only get a few notifications in my email to new posts and then nothing, and I don't know how to change that )

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Originally Posted by nashvillemidwife View Post
I didn't know there were "values" attached to toys other than the price sticker. If someone gave my child a gift that was not like the others she has, I would be much more concerned to know there was some kind of attitude attached to it.
This gets back to the other half of my post (beyond just the "what should I get him" part). I was (am?) concerned that people would percieve an attitude attached to it. I want to give something I'm comfortable giving, but don't want to come off as holier-than-thou, or whatever it is they might think. I do think though, that there's been lots of suggestions for items that are middle ground on the issue that will allow me to avoid that pitfall.

Quote:
You realize they sell Waldorf toys at Toys R Us. Does that make them mainstream?
They sell a few wood/cloth organic toys, but at least up here in Canada they don't sell anything I would really think of as Waldorf-specific.

Quote:
Quote:
Just because the parents have made a choice to allow plastic/electronic toys (or rather, to not try to avoid those things) that doesn't mean that parent isn't equally open to non-electronic or more open ended stuff.

This is very, very true, but sometimes the kids aren't open to non-electronic.
Thanks Storm Bride, that really is the crux of the matter. Also thanks for the store suggestions. I just found out today that some american relatives will be visiting before Christmas, so I might ask them to do a bit of shopping for me first!

BTW SIL's reply to my query for suggestions? "I really don't know. He likes batman, spiderman, (he already has batman figure). We bought him a remote control car (yellow like bumble bee)."

So DaughterOfKali while generally speaking I totally agree on books (LOVE Barefoot books!) from that and other things I've been heraing DN isn't really into books right now unless they involve Batman or Spiderman.

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#51 of 59 Old 09-05-2010, 12:04 PM
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You could get the kid a game. Some good ones he might enjoy at that age and still would allow room for growth include Sequence for Kids, Tiddly Winks, Bandu / Bausack, Don't Break the Ice, Topitop, Clever Castle, Hot Spot, Rush Hour Jr., Blokus, Connect Four, Carcassonne, Logic Links, Chinese Checkers, Connect Four.

You could also get him a computer game that is better than the video games he may be playing. Not all computer games are bad. My son loves to play Zoo Tycoon, for example. That may not be "crunchy" enough for your requirements, , but in my opinion the main thing that's important with little ones is to keep them thinking and growing.
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#52 of 59 Old 09-05-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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Not sure if this fits your situation, but my mom is so tired of getting the "lame" gift or a duplicate gift for my niece who seems to have everything that her gift from now on is going to be a gift card and a shopping outing WITH MY MOM to pick out a gift. So basically the present is time with grandma, but with a present at the end.
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#53 of 59 Old 09-05-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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So DaughterOfKali while generally speaking I totally agree on books (LOVE Barefoot books!) from that and other things I've been heraing DN isn't really into books right now unless they involve Batman or Spiderman.
That's why I tend to go with 2 gifts. One is a book and the other is something you have a good feeling the child will enjoy.

My son was only into disney characters for awhile but I just kept exposing him to cool and/or funny books. What got him back into books were the books that come with a cd. Made a huge difference.

For toys, I always try to go with something that invokes creativity and/or imagination.

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#54 of 59 Old 09-05-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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BTW SIL's reply to my query for suggestions? "I really don't know. He likes batman, spiderman, (he already has batman figure). We bought him a remote control car (yellow like bumble bee)."

So DaughterOfKali while generally speaking I totally agree on books (LOVE Barefoot books!) from that and other things I've been heraing DN isn't really into books right now unless they involve Batman or Spiderman.
You've already got the gift, so no worries, but you can work with this. My oldest is a Spider-Man fanatic. A former co-worker of mine nicknamed him "Spidey" when he was about four, and he's 17, and has never lost interest. He watches the movies and plays the videogames...but he also sketches Spider-Man, works out storylines (he and another fan are putting together a small fan comic right now...the other guy developed the base story and ds1 is illustrating and adding to it), tries to master some of Spider-Man's moves during gymnastics workouts, works out costume variations, etc. I'm not as down on licensed characters as many here (probably because I'm an old school comic fan, myself, and Batman, Spider-Man, the X-Men and a couple dozen others are a valued piece of my childhood/adolescence), but I've also seen a fascination with licensed characters turn into a long-term launch point for a variety of interests.

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#55 of 59 Old 09-06-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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Dd is 4, so we've been to a ton of 4-yo-birthdays this year.

Our go-to gift is Playmobil stuff, which all the kids around here seem to love. We've also gotten:
*legos
*interesting/unusual board games (Zingo, Animal upon Animal, Haba Princess and the Pea, Sequence for Kids, Take the Cake, stuff like that)
*puzzles (often we'll do a theme gift around a puzzle--so it might be a space puzzle with a space coloring book and a space flashlight or something)
*toy cars of various sorts (matchbox, build-your-own, etc.)
*craft kits--we love the Alex craft kits, for example

We don't spend a ton of money on birthday gifts, but we try to make them special by getting a few little extras--stickers, a coloring book, a mini eraser--that match the theme of the gift.

By the way, we were at a BBQ yesterday and there was a stomp rocket set there. The kids went CRAZY for them.
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#56 of 59 Old 09-06-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I'm so glad somebody posted about the stomp rocket. DS is having a rockets and robots birthday party, AND I think it makes a great go-to gift when you don't know what to get somebody.
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#57 of 59 Old 09-11-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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Sure, both boys would be happy getting an age appropriate video gamee...but they would also be totally happy getting some wooden planes and cars that they can crash into each other. Because that's stuff they like,
My friend likes to give the kids at her son's preschool binoculars. My go to gift is a wooden bathtub boat. I mean most kids take baths and have bath toys, so I know it will get played with, and it fits with my toy "values." I would not want to give something that I didn't think would get played with. Vehicles are a safe bet I think.

Oh yeah, books are great too. I like to find books we love (and already have) at the thrift store, and save them for presents.

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#58 of 59 Old 07-07-2014, 10:43 AM
 
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Smile Joe's Bow

My two girls (3 & 5) watched Brave and wanted a bow and arrow. Rather than buy a cheap-plastic one at the store, I told them we would go out into the garage and make one. This idea has spiraled into a whole new adventure for me.

Last edited by cynthia mosher; 07-10-2014 at 08:16 AM.
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#59 of 59 Old 07-10-2014, 08:17 AM
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