I thought I would share with everyone what some of our favorite toys are right now. All of these would make excellent holiday gifts for any kids on your list.
D is really into games now so I'm always on the look out for ones that are fun but don't take forever to play. I found Make Me A Cake at West Side Kids my favorite toy store in my neighborhood. All of the girls (5,8 and 11) love this game. Each cake you finish gets you a certain amount of ribbons based on the cake's height. Who ever has the most points at the end of the game wins. This is not a new idea but building the delicious looking cakes takes it to a new level.
I once read somewhere that kids don't fully understand winning and losing until they are 7 years old and I have found that to be true (well at least with my kids!). I have been hearing about cooperative games for ages but had not bought one until a few weeks ago. Cooperative games are games where all the players work together to achieve a common goal. Recently, I was on Bella Luna Toys looking for a baby gift when I clicked on the Cooperative Games link and decided to finally buy one. I ended up choosing Harvest Time. It is an engaging game and a pleasure to play with all my kids, especially my 5 year old who doesn't totally understand winning and losing yet.
Play Silks were the baby gifts that I was looking for when I found Harvest Time at Bella Luna Toys. The kids make everything from outfits to tents with them. The best thing about them is that your kids will use them from the time they are old enough to play peek a boo until they are at least 11!
Obscenely expensive? Yes. The toy that your kids will get the most use out of? Yes. The things I love most about Magna-Tiles (also available at West Side Kids) are that they keep my kids occupied for a long, long time and are loved by both boys and girls. My girls like to design homes and decorate them with Polly Pocket furniture and my 14 year old son will still play with these (OK, OK. He will only play with them on Shabbat and they already have to be out!). We actually have 4 sets of them bought at different times for different occasions.
I don't know what it is about Sharpies but kids love them. There is just something about drawing with them that is fun. Be aware that these are very permanent so make sure that if your kids are not old enough to understand what that means they should only use them when they are supervised.