BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED
Kids! They’re what the holidays are all about, but they're also a pain to buy for. Stop freaking. Here are the gifts that’ll earn you the kid cred you so rightfully deserve.
By Holly PevznerShopping for kids seems like it would be a total blast, but it’s a tough job. A lot of the stuff that you swoon over (Hand-crafted wooden dolls! Woolen finger puppets!) leaves kids thinking, “Um, no thank you”. And some of the toys that kids are 100-percent obsessed with can give you a headache just by looking at them. But here’s the thing: It’s not about you. You want to make a child’s head explode? These are the top 15 gifts that everyday kids actually love to play with. They may not top a Developmental Expert’s list, but these gifts–and a healthy stockpile of trusted Duracell batteries–will have you winning the season.Best Pretend Play ToysKidK
raft Ultimate Corner Play Kitchen with Lights & Sounds,$163If you can emotionally handle a play kitchen that looks better than your real one, this is the toy to splurge on. “Ours was consistently used by my three kids for 10 years,” says Julie Schwetlick in Shelburne, Vermont. While, yes, there are a couple of higher ranked kitchens on Amazon, this is the #1 wooden kitchen, for those who want their playsets to blend with their home’s decor. Kids heart the stove and icemaker with realistic lights and sounds—and the phone for ordering pretend pizza when pretend dinner sucks.Don’t forget the Duracell! 9 LR44 batteries requiredMelissa & Doug Fire Chief Role Play Costume Set, $24.99Feed the innate preschool need for costume-play-lite with a getup from Melissa & Doug, who have four out of the top 11 most wished for costumes in preschool role play on Amazon. “My son is all about costumes right now. He’s dressed up about 40 percent of the time,” says Marny Kinrys, mom of two in Los Angeles. “And we both love Melissa & Doug.”LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Set, $21.99 Nevermind that dainty tea set you’ve been eyeing. Rock a kid’s world with this one that lights up with six colors and sings seven songs. “It comes with matching tea cups and a 6-piece cake that fits on a puzzle-like tray. My 2-year-old adores it,” says Alli Wittbold in Amherst, Massachusetts. “Surprisingly, I’ve actually grown to love it, too. It encourages so much open-ended, imaginative
play.” It’s currently 5-stars strong on Amazon and—bonus—it has an off switch.Don’t forget the Duracell! 4 AAA batteries requiredBest Get-Your-Wiggles-Out ToysMunchkin Mozart Magic Cube, $24.99Before plastic maracas and kid-size harmonicas beat a parent down, there was the Munchkin Mozart Cube. “Both of my kids loved it. Each side plays a different instrument,” says Emily Farrell in New York, New York. (Sounds include the harp, French horn, piano, flute, and violin.) “It’s loud and heavy, but it made my kids dance so much,” she says. Even though the cube has been out for years, it’s holding strong as the #10 best-seller among Amazon’s baby musical toy