Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smart toys for kids (and the parents who can't stop buying them)

The scene of the crime. The crime: Buying our kids too many damn toys!

With the holidays coming, and Max's birthday next month, and the fact that I just wasted a half hour of my life matching up scattered Polly Pocket pieces (a phenomenon known as COCD—Cleanup Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I have toys on the brain. Like most kids, mine have way too many. I think this is because, in part, the minute a therapist recommends something to us, we rush to buy it. We overcompensate, as if getting Max therapeutic and educational toys will make his brain all better.

So, of course, I asked his therapists which toys they think he'd enjoy, and they had some great suggestions.

The Aquadoodle Wall Mat: Good for hand-eye coordination and getting kids to lift their arms. Maybe I should get Max into modeling, he's just as cute as this kid. Could be helpful for supporting my toy-shopping habit.

Parents My First Remote Control Car: For fine-motor control. Rumor has it that it's one of Max's favorite toys at school.

Hullabaloo: It encourages communication and teaches colors, shapes and words.

Catch N Stick Mitts: Good for coordination and strength training. Hey, Sabrina's even cuter than this little girl! She could be a child model, too!

A shout out to Therapro's Whistle Kit, which we recently got. It's a bag of whistles of all shapes and sizes to inspire blowing (breath control is critical for speech). It's just plain cool for any kid and is a good deal, to boot.

So, let's just ignore materialism and the economy and obsess about what we're getting our kids for the holidays. What's on your list?


  1. Those are all great ideas!!! I'm adding some to our list, thanks!

  2. A new attitude...for both boys!

    All seriousness here...when we did playgroup everyone wanted it at my house because we had ALL the toys. We currently have 6 LARGE boxes packed with toys in our basement, and they boys still have plenty to play with. 1 toy this year...that is it. Jonathan wants the Lego Batman game on the Wii...

  3. I too am a victim of overcompensating with too many "therapeutic toys".

    Don't know what we are getting her yet, but it will only be 3 things! 3 wisemen, 3 things...

  4. I am another compulsive 'gift' buyer. As soon as a therapist suggests ANYTHING, I am on to it, straight away.

    I love your suggestions!

    We got BC a toy lawnmower for his recent birthday which I weighted down with exercise weights. He can push this around our house instead of using his walker (kinder to the walls!).

    We also got him a remote control car, which he LOVES.

    We're getting him an easel from Ikea for Christmas. They are a really good height and he seems to be balance quite well standing and using the one they have in the waiting room at his chiropractor's.

    And finally, another GREAT toy to promote communication and also develop literacy is the Leap Frog 'Fridge Phonics' which my son LOVES...

    Oh, and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS new puzzles and books ;-). I am mid way through a blog about some of our new fave books.

  5. Mmmmmm. . . the therapists actually make fun of me because Charlie has so many toys. I can't help it!!!! If I think he'll use it then I buy it. Ack! AND, just today I was wandering around Walmart taking mental notes for the holidays.

    and Max is cuter than that kid.

  6. Dianne, we had a toy lawn mower, it was great! And we have the Fridge Phonics (OF COURSE)! :) And an easel! I completely agree with you on always getting new puzzles and books, which is why I'll be psyched to read your blog with book recommendations (and add to it). Bird, I will relay your compliment to Max and hope that he doesn't get too big of a head. Which might not be a bad thing because he's microcephalic. Ha HA!

  7. It is so hard not to go overboard when buying toys for our kids. I love the idea of three gifts-three wisemen for the holiday. One thing that I do is keep toys in diffent places in the house and switch them around often then they are always like new when Carson goes to a new room to play (my son is two). I also focus on educational toys- these are a lot more interactive. I believe that kids learn through play. Of course that fact that I have an on-line toy store that sells educational toys makes it harder for me not to give Carson new toys all the time. It helps that the stock is not in our home. Check us out if you are looking for some more ideas for the holiday. We sell lots of fun, eduational toys and 99% of them are made in the US. Our site is www.GiggleFliggle.com.

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Max is adorable! I'm looking forward to spending some time here as I see our boys struggle with some of the same things.

    This toy list is great! I'm going to look into getting some of the things you listed.

  9. Thanks for the post on our blog. Yes I do suffer that same toy buying difficulty always thinking that this toy will be the one that helps her balance, coordination or whatever we are working on.I do like the Doodle Mat though it might be another toy to add to her Christmas list.
    Do you still do Medek with Max? I think Elizabeth may be doing Medek until high school (haha).

  10. Hi! We stopped doing Medek maybe two years ago. We think it was a REALLY amazing thing for helping to get Max walking.

  11. Great ideas! Giving Greetings offers custom personalized name stamps made with Boardmaker picture symbols. The stampers are self-inking and large size so they are easy for our kiddos to handle. They can be personalized with first and last name so our kids can "sign" their art work or school work.

  12. Wow, those are super cool ideas. I will have to buy them and get them shipped over here to Germany for my Kelly. They do have cool stuff here but I swear, the stuff in America is cooler! Thanks for the ideas.


Thanks for sharing!