When you give a toy as a gift, you give the gift of play.
Play is something kids and adults do voluntarily, for the sheer pleasure of it. It’s creativity. Wonder. Engagement. Innovation. And of course play is educational, too. As children, we learn through play how the world works and how to engage with it. As adults, we learn through play how to look at the same old thing in a whole new way, and we grow from it.
Play is the antidote to stress and the solution to being stuck in a rut. Play brings people together across cultures, differences, languages, and backgrounds. Play captures our attention and holds it. When we play, we practice delight, joy, and focus.
We are Matt & Sarah, co-owners of Ruckus & Glee. We encourage you to shop for toys this year with these ideas of play behind your purchases. We also encourage you to shop your local toy retailers, which can provide you with individualized suggestions, an opportunity to try toys out, and sometimes even free wrapping!
Morphy is a game of change. Move the ball from disc to disc by changing only one attribute. Strengthen pattern recognition, and the SAT-worthy skills of linking patterns. It’s like a puzzle, in game form! No reading required! (except for instructions). Age 8+.
Whozit? At Ruckus & Glee we love cooperative games where everyone works together to try to beat the game. Whozit? is a hilarious new cooperative game for ages 8+ that encourages conversation, guessing, and creativity. A great party game!
Y’Art happens when yarn and art come together. An oops-proof craft that is great for building fine motor skills. Age 8+
Journals. Kids still love writing their secret hopes and dreams in journals. That’s right, paper journals, not phones or tablets. They especially like to write with fancy pens, and they also love decorating their journals, so consider a DIY Journaling Set.
Dinosaur Habitat. In the winter months it’s great to grow something green, AND get crafty at the same time. The Dinosaur Habitat kit combines botany, history, and art into a craft that can easily take up an afternoon, and then some!
Roly Poly Koala. This little koala packs a powerful learning punch for babies. Teaching cause and effect, every time this little koala goes down it bounces back, makes a tinkling bell noise, and moves its face.
Trains, trains, trains. Preschool age littles are all about pretend play, and train sets are a great way to encourage the development of communication and spacial reasoning skills. Go with a classic set or try out a “smart tech” add on that combines classic train play with RFID technology!
JUST FOR FUN
Classic skill toys are hot this season. So refresh your fine motor skills and try your hand at a yoyo, diablo, kendama, or desktop pinball, Shuffle Shot, or Disc Dash.
Remote Control Cars. Girls and boys alike will love Remote Control Marble Racers — they’re simple to operate, can take turns precisely, and light up so they can be raced in the dark! Ages 5+.
Foodie fun. The Great British Baking Show and other popular baking shows are creating a generation of kids that know their way around a kitchen. Encourage their passion with kid-geared baking supplies, like space-themed cookie cutters!
Puzzles! Sure, puzzles are an amazing way to teach kids color and pattern recognition. But they’re a great gift for adults, too. Want a way to unwind without scrolling on a little screen? Work on a puzzle. Want something to do with friends at a dinner party besides just drinking wine? Drink wine and work on a puzzle! Want something to ward off the winter doldrums? Work on a puzzle!