Christmas toys that will actually go the distance, and not just wind up at the back of the closet.
The catalogs have arrived and the wishlists are long. But which kids’ toys will actually go the distance, and not just wind up at the back of the closet?
Here are some ideas for toys that are loads of fun, get them moving and are even, yes, educational.
Magformers Log Cabin Building Set ($60 for 48 pieces at Target). Little builders who are ready to advance from blocks will enjoy the stability of these magnetized sets, and the specialty pieces that form a classic log cabin, complete with tree and balcony pieces. Ages 3 and up.
Crayola Fashion Superstar ($20 at shop.crayola.com). Fashion Plates for the advanced designer, this kit includes a design book with clothing outlines, plus 24 colored pencils and 18 fine-tipped markers. Once they’ve created their designs, the pieces can be uploaded to a virtual closet for sharing with friends and mixing and matching. Ages 8 and up.
Candylab Toys Woodie ($35) and Green Camper ($30, both at candylabtoys.com). Toy cars get ultra-cool with this solid-beech station wagon — complete with walnut-paneled sides and a magnetized surfboard — and an accompanying camper. They’ll develop their imaginations and their aesthetics. Ages 3 and up.
Play Impossible Gameball ($100 at amazon.com). You may think that an app-enabled ball is a bridge too far, but this lightweight toy is incredibly addictive, with a super-easy setup and nine games that can be played alone or with friends. Developed in Seattle, it charges in just 20 seconds as needed. Ages 9 and up.
Toys that sneak in a little STEM learning are hot, but many require an app and tablet or phone. These teach the same skills without the screen time.
ThinkFun Rover Control Code Programming Game ($15 at Target). Kids will think like programmers as they try to guide their Mars rover along a pathway. Challenges introduce computation skills such as decision points and loops in a fun and interesting way. For one or more players. Ages 8 and up.
Primo Toys Cubetto Playset ($225 at primotoys.com). Younger kids won’t be able to resist the cute Cubetto wooden robot. They use a simple board to input commands, such as moving the bot forward and or turning it, and mats and books help guide play. Ages 3 and up.
Brackitz Pulley Set ($40 at Annie’s Art & Frame, Ballard, and amazon.com). Kids can build zip lines, bucket lifts and other contraptions with this set that teaches the engineering uses of pulleys. Ages 4 and up.
Green Tones Endangered Animal Shakers ($24 at amazon.com). Made with eco-friendly rubberwood and finished with a water-based, nontoxic clear coat, this adorable set of shakers teaches kids about endangered species, with the pieces shaped like a long-eared owl, Amur leopard and leatherback turtle. Ages 1 and up.
Green Toys Dough Meal Maker Set ($25 at Whole Foods and greentoys.com). This new set includes four tubs of all-natural dough made with organic flour, along with extruders to make pastas, stamps to make cheese, tomatoes and bread, and more. Ages 2 and up.
Under the Nile Fruit & Veggie Toys ($14 each at underthenile.com). They may not be nutritious, but these 100 percent organic, formaldehyde- and fragrance-free stuffies are definitely safe to chew on. And they’re adorable, with little faces, caps and collars. All ages.
The Manhattan Toy Company Forest Adventure ($32 at manhattantoy.com). Inspire dreams of summer camping adventures with this sweet set that includes a wood family and its gear, plus a felt pond and yurt-shaped storage case. Ages 3 and up.
Wishbone Bike Recycled Edition ($229 at shopwishbonedesign.com). This three-in-one trainer goes from a trike to a low balance bike to a tall balance bike, and is made from 100 percent recycled plastic made from shredded residential carpet. Ages 1 to 6.
Swinging Monkey Fabric Saucer Swing ($60 at swingingmonkey.com). Provide a place to swing, indoors or out, with this unique saucer-shaped fabric swing that comes with adjustable ropes and hardware (tree-mounting hardware sold separately). Ages 5 and up.
Plan Toys Mini Golf Set ($30 at Clover, Ballard, and target.com). Bring the putt-putt to your own backyard with this set that includes two wooden clubs and balls, plus three track pieces, a hole and a carrying bag. Ages 3 and up.
Jetson Jupiter Scooter with LED Lights ($30 at Target). This disco-tastic scooter not only looks cool, it also adds a whole lot of LED-lit safety to dim evening rides. But mostly it looks really, really cool. Ages 5 and up.