Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978


Play
Learn
Play
You are in:  Holiday Gift Guide | Holiday Gift Picks: Over $100

Holiday Gift Picks: Over $100

Wishbone 3-in-1 Original Bike Wishbone 3-in-1 Original Bike
Ages: 1 - 5 yrs.
Wishbone Design Studio, $229.00

The Wishbone 3-in-1 Original Bike is a wooden balance bike made from plantation-sourced wood. It uses nontoxic glue products, comes in a recycled paper box, and consists of fully recyclable products. This beautifully designed tricycle to bicycle ride-on toy is sure to last through years of indoor and outdoor play. The bike begins as a sturdy stable, wide axle tricycle. Next, it becomes a balance (or "running") bike with a low seat. The frame can be flipped for the third stage, which is a balance bike with a higher seat. Assembly is easy, and is aided by clear instructions that include a photo for each step.

Moover Dump Truck Moover Dump Truck
Ages: 1 & Up
HABA, $116.99

From the minute we saw this at Toy Fair, we were eager to put this to the test. The careful box design is true to the elegant simplicity of the contents. Mom and Dad love the no tools required assembly. The proprietary click key makes assembly both easy and satisfying to complete. Younger children are able to practice gross motor skills driving the truck while transporting their smaller toys in the truck's special compartments. Older children can take apart and reassemble the truck at will to practice construction, sequencing, fine/gross motor skills, and endless variety of role playing opportunities.

Building Set Trapezoid Building Set Trapezoid
Ages: 3 & Up
Grimm's Spiel & Holz Design, $150.00

This heirloom quality set includes 84 pieces in 6 different colors of five geometrical shapes that can combine to create patterns, design, structures, or pathways. Putting all the pieces back in the tray is the changing puzzle that adds extra play value to this creative mathematical toy.

Master Carpenter Workbench Master Carpenter Workbench
Ages: 3 & Up
Hape International Inc., $119.95

This easy-to-assemble, wooden workbench painted in fresh, bright colors is perfect for the young master carpenter in the making. Five tools-hammer, screwdriver, saw, wrench and angle- along with wooden nuts, screws, and nails, are appropriately sized for little hands, and big imaginations. Carry the tools for the pretend building projects in the tool bag, stash them in the wearable tool belt, or store them in their proper places on the bench. While the play workbench is not a new concept, our testers were so taken with the quality and appeal of this product that the judges deemed it award-worthy.

Playshapes Playshapes
Ages: 4 & Up
Miller Goodman, $150.00

There is a power in PlayShapes, a toy that inspires free expressiveness and artistic exploration through its modern and playful design. While these are in its purest interpretation a classic building block set, the primary colors on a few pieces resembles eyes, and asymmetrical shapes really bring this toy a cut above the other building block sets. These very things make it an artistic architectural toy rather than just another set of blocks.

Timberworks Toys Timberworks Toys
Ages: 5 & Up
Timberworks Toys, $399.00

Timberworks Toys is an American made building set that is designed to last a lifetime. The King set comes with 98 pieces of hard maple timbers as well as four wheels. The pieces of wood include three, six, and twelve inch timbers, roof and bridge panels, triangle gables, square connectors, and hook and loop Ts. The types of things you can make are endless but include log cabins, airplanes, a covered bridge, and a car. Overall, this is an exceptionally well made building set that will foster every child's imagination. While they are expensive, they are made to last and could easily withstand generations of play.

Y Fliker Y Fliker
Ages: 5 & Up
Yvolution, $129.99

There are plenty of scooters to choose from, but Yvolution's Y Fliker transports the motion to a different plane. This unique three-wheeled scooter uses hip-swaying and shifting weight to propel and turn. It's as though skiers designed a scooter as an off-season training product. The sturdy, yet lightweight, steel scooter features a handbrake, anti-vibration hand grips and a handy twist-and-stow folding system for easy storage and travel. Fun, innovative, and reasonably priced. Don't forget the safety gear.

E-Rangers' Headquarters E-Rangers' Headquarters
Ages: 7 - 12 yrs.
Playmobil USA, Inc., $129.99

The Future Planet E-Rangers Headquarters by Playmobil is a super fun base with all of the usual high-design Playmobil appeal. It comes with 5 figures and a small vehicle for them to drive. The base itself is interactive, featuring cool opening doors and a well thought out "skylight" design that lets you see inside the base when you're not playing with it. It even features a working solar panel that makes a small fan blow. As imaginative as the product is, in a lot of ways its elements are inspired by actual technology. In all, the toy is hands down fun, interesting, and just plain cool.

Caroline Doll and Book Caroline Doll and Book
Ages: 8 & Up
American Girl, $105.00

Caroline is the newest American Girl Doll. Caroline's biggest dream is to one day captain her own ship-just like her father. But when the War of 1812 strikes her peaceful lakeside village and her beloved papa is taken prisoner, she must use her mind and heart to navigate the right course.

Descender Descender
Ages: 8 & Up
Rockboard USA, $120.00

The Descender is a skateboard deck mounted on four tracks of banded wheels that look like those on the bottom of an army tank. If you've ever watched your child (undoubtedly while shaking your head in disbelief) try to ride their skateboard across the grass, this may be product for them. Its sturdy wheels are clad in heavy-duty, tank-like tread that allow it to navigate nearly any terrain from grass to gravel alike. In a world where it seems that children are constantly bombarded by products that encourage them to exercise only their fingers and thumbs, it is always nice to see a toy that gets kids excited about active outdoor play.

Rockboard Original Scooter Rockboard Original Scooter
Ages: 8 & Up
Rockboard USA, $199.99

The Rockboard scooter is really two scooters in one. The scooter can be used as a traditional scooter where you propel yourself by pushing your foot on the ground. The novel "rockboard" scooter moves when a rider pumps his or her feet back and forth on the base of the scooter. In the Rockboard mode, your feet never have to touch the ground, and the platform of the scooter moves like a seesaw with a foot placed on each side of it. The transition from tradition scooter to rockboard scooter is easy and can be completed in seconds.

Spy Video TRAKR Spy Video TRAKR
Ages: 8 & Up
Wild Planet Entertainment, Inc., $129.95

Plug six AA batteries into the vehicle itself and four more into the remote control and you're off and running-down the hall, into other people's rooms, and into bathrooms. It's funny at first, even though the vehicle is a potential annoyance. While the Spy Trakr zips about (and it zips at a surprising pace), the small full-color LCD screen in the remote transmits color video and sound of what's directly in front of the vehicle's built-in video cam. The 'bot is loaded with a 2.4GHz wireless transmitter, an integrated video camera, an SD (secure digital) card slot for recording, and a built-in speaker and microphone that enable you to even record an audio message and let the robot vehicle deliver it. A USB cord is included for connecting to your PC. The Spy Video Trakr comes loaded with a night vision, cyborg vision, voice throwing and path mapping apps.


Share This

Stocking Stuffers

Portable Picks for Traveling with Kids

Award-Winning Products for Learning & Fun

Mailbox
Sign Up
Our news & features delivered to your inbox.