Midday Fix: Chicago Parent Magazine’s 50 Under $50 Toys For The Holidays

Data pix.

Ericka Polanco Webb, mom coach and writer for Chicago Parent

http://www.SinkingHeelsOfMotherhood.com

Chicago Parent has scoured Chicago area independent toy stores in search of the best gifts of the season.  They shopped at:

Building Blocks Toys in Lakeview in Wicker Park and Lincoln Park

*play in Logan Square and Lincoln Park

More Toys & Gadgets in Wheaton

Becky & Me Toys in Evanston

http://www.ChicagoParent.com

Toys:

Tobbles Neo

Maker: FatBrain Toys

Best for: Baby

What it is: Stacking cup toy that wobbles, yet still stacks and nests.

What it does: When the cups are by themselves, the cups wobble on the ground and are great for bath time. When they stack, they stack as a tower and can lean as a tower. Great for spatial recognition and fun as a multiuse toy.

Where to find it: Moore Toys, Play

Cost: $30

Light Up Cubes

Maker: Glo Pals

Best for: Special Needs & Babies

What it is: Cube that lights up only when in liquid.

What it does: Created by the mom of a special needs child to convince her child to take a bath, these are great for any kid – and parent – who needs or wants a little help being coerced into a bath. They come in five colors and can work in any liquid, so also fun for kids who are trying to learn to drink milk or from a straw.

Where to find it: Moore Toys, Play

Cost: $12

Heads Talk Tails Walk

Maker: Think Fun

Best for: Preschool

What it is: Interactive card game

What it does: The inventor of the game is from Logan Square and the gist is that kids are given two cards, like a cat head and a chicken body, and they have to walk like a chicken while meowing and the other players have to “guess” what the two animals are that the child is demonstrating. It’s a great interactive play game when you’re stuck inside in the winter.

Where to find it: Play, Moore Toys, Building Blocks

Cost: $14.99

4D Chef

Maker: Professor Maxwell

Best for: Early Elementary and older

What it is: Augmented Reality kit.

What it does: The glasses connect with any smart phone and the free app teaches kids about science, in this case cooking. Kids learn about why yeast works, where gluten comes from and gives recipes and tools to help them cook. Also comes in 4D Chemistry and 4D Science.

Where to find it: Building Blocks

Cost: $39.99

Ultimate Putty Challenge

Maker: Crazy Aaron’s

Best for: Late Elementary and older

What it is: Board game from the makers of Crazy Aaron’s Putty

What it does: Great for families that already have a few sets of Putty around, but it also comes with putty and includes instructions for 25 games to play using the Putty.

Where to find it: Becky & Me, Building Blocks, Play

Cost: $24.99

Eraser Animals

Maker: Klutz

Best for: Late Elementary

What it is: Molding art clay

What it does: Make your own animals or shapes using the clay, then bake it and the shapes can be used as erasers for pencil or other art.

Where to find it: Play, Building Blocks, Becky & Me

Cost: $12.99

Pigasus

Maker: Brain Games

Best for: Late Elementary and older

What it is: Card game

What it does: Players have to find “matches” of animals that don’t look at all alike, like a giraffe and a crocodile (one card has a long neck with a croc head, the other has a giraffe face on a croc body). Winner finds the most “matches.”

Where to find it: Building Blocks

Cost: $14.99

Just One

Maker: Repos

Best for: Late Elementary and the young at heart

What it is: Cooperative game like pictionary

What it does: A team is given a word, like chocolate, and has to help the member who doesn’t know the word figure it out using only one-word clues: like Milk or German, but any duplicate clues are thrown out.

Where to find it: Moore Toys

Cost: $28

Gumball Machine Maker      

Maker: Thames & Kosmos

Best for: Late Elementary

What it is: Engineering set

What it does: Don’t let the name fool you, kids are making the machine, not the gumball. Using parts like a spinning wheel or a trampoline they create an obstacle course for a gumball to fall through.

Where to find it: Becky & Me, Moore Toys, Building Blocks, Play

Cost: $39.99

Escape Puzzle

Maker: Ravensburger

Best for: Tweens/Teens and young at heart

What it is: 759-piece puzzle

What it does: In addition to putting together a puzzle, you have to figure out clues like you would in an escape room to put parts of the puzzle together. Fun not only for tweens and teens who love escape rooms, but for adults who have grown beyond the typical 1,000-piece puzzle.

Where to find it: Becky & Me, Building Blocks, Moore Toys, Play

Cost: $19.99

Hacker

Maker: Think Fun

Best for: Tweens/Teens

What it is: Board game

What it does: This logic board game is great for kids who are STEM minded as it requires on-board coding and fixing of lines of code.

Where to find it: Building Blocks, Moore Toys, Play

Cost: $24.99

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