Thursday, December 07, 2017

#HGG2017: Gifts for the Kids

I'm starting a series of holiday gift guide round-up posts with this guide to some of my top picks for the kids on your list. These are toys we've received for review, played with at events, or just come across in our travels.  Here we go!

Playmobil Ghostbusters Ecto-1
Playmobil is a mainstay of childhood, and a reliable, much-loved brand that brings sturdy, well-built toys fit perfectly for young children's curious (and sometimes rough) hands. They have such a huge range of toys and themes, but I'm drawn to the Ghostbusters Ecto-1 for the cool factor and movie tie-in.

With original sounds and functioning lights, this vehicle is set for ghostbusting action. Playset also includes Ghostbusters characters in their official uniforms with detachable proton packs and lasers and many other accessories.

This one is available at Toys “R” Us, Mastermind Toys, Indigo Stores and Hudson’s Bay Company, with an MSRP of $59.88. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Awesome Little Green Men
I fell for these guys at a media event. These are not the little plastic green army men from our childhoods (although those are fun too). Awesome Little Green Men are tiny, 2 inch high soldiers, each with its own name and distinct look. I love that they come in both male and female, and in a variety of skin tones. Names are cute too, with gems like "General Direction" and "Private Porkchop." These are both collectible, and part of a battle game as well. Awesome Little Green Men come in either blue or green uniforms to indicate their team, and you can find the battle game rules online (I won't get into them here.) Each figure comes with a dog tag, and you can purchase them in 4 packs (one team), 8 packs (2 teams), or blind boxes (perfect for the stocking!) I'd recommend starting with the Awesome Little Green Men  Deluxe Battle Pack (MSRP $34.99-$39.99) if you think your child would want to battle, more than just collect and free play. The Deluxe pack comes with 4 ALGM from each team, plus their dog tags, and three rare vehicles. Availability: Toys “R” Us, Indigo Stores and other major Canadian Retailers. Recommended for ages 6 and up.

Maplelea Girls
There is so much about these dolls that I love. Maplelea Girls is a Canadian company, started by a Canadian mom, and the dolls promote healthy, active lifestyles, with a focus on our Canadian heritage. The line-up a includes 24+ dolls with different hair, skin, and eye colours, reflecting our nation's diversity. Each comes with a 64-page , bilingual journal, filled with tons of information about Canada's culture, history, and geography, plus prompts and blanks so your child can participate in creating their doll's unique character.

New this year is Saila, from Iqaluit, Nunavut. Saila was developed through 2 years of research and collaboration with local communities. She hopes to be a fashion designer one day, and her personal style is a mix of modern fashion and traditional Inuit clothing. Her traditional jacket (amauti) and Pang hat are actually made in Nunavut, by the experts. This both keeps the authenticity and provides employment. Love it! Saila's journal is trilingual - English, French, and Inuktitut.

These dolls are 18 inches, with soft, huggable bodies and eyes that open and close. They all retail for $99.99 (same price since 2003!), and are available only online at, through their mail order catalogue, or by calling 1-800-668-4339.  Recommended for ages 6-12, but safe for children as young as 3 years old.

Books make great gifts for kids of all ages. From picture books for pre-schoolers to chapter books and novels for the older set, there's something for everyone. When Michael was first reading, his favourite books were non-fiction, or "fact books" as he called them. He loved to learn about animals and insects and how things work. So, consider giving the gift of learning by choosing a book about a topic the child loves - dinosaurs, bugs, trucks, whatever it may be, you'll find one at your local bookstore.

For a real-life story of adventure and friendship, try Finding Gobi, by Dion Leonard. Dion is an ultra-marathoner, and this is the story of how he met, fell for, and eventually, after so many trials and tribulations, adopted a stray dog who became his best friend. There is a picture book, told from the dog's perspective, for the little ones, and a chapter book for older kids. We loved it! It's a feel good story, and tells a wonderful tale of friendship and the importance of animals in our lives.

And there's the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! books as well, for the kid who likes oddities and amazing stories. Try their new Shatter Your Senses, which is filled with incredible people, events, animals, and more.

For more ideas, please have a look at these other gift guide entries:

NERF, Lil' Live Pets Little Ladybugs, Disney Emoji CollectiblesReady to Race Lightning McQueen, VTech GearZooz Roll & Roar Animal Train, Lil' Live Pets My Dream Puppy, Frosty, Vex Robotics, Worry Eaters

Disclosure: I received complimentary review product, or tested/played with these items at a media event. No financial compensation was received. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own, or those of my family.

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