Am I the only one thinking Christmas?
I guess I’m unusual, but I like to get my Christmas shopping done early. And I’ll confess to having a bit of the ‘adult-kid’ gene. I don’t want a new 18v Milwaukee drill for Christmas – I do want one, but not as a ‘gift’ – I’m impressed by the impractical, whether it’s a slot car race set or the newest monster Lego kit.
Macleans is out in front of the curve with a report on the trendy toys for the upcoming season: http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/09/19/tablets-for-tots-retro-brands-make-up-toys-r-us-hot-toy-list-in-2012/
Apparently technology and retro brands are the big things this year. I dig the latter, but I’m a Luddite when it comes to the former. I don’t want a tablet, I don’t want an iPod, I don’t want a digital camera. I keep waiting for the technology to become truly intuitive and user friendly, rather than each new gadget requiring a day-long seminar just to learn its basic functions. I’ll be impressed when a single device smaller than a matchbox can surf the Internet, download movies, phone the Moon, answer any question immediately, instapay at stores and drive my car, all by voice commands that require no learning, and all for a dollar a day.
When’s that coming?
Back to toys.
Boardgames are high on my list. No, not Clue or Life. Some of the classics are good – like Risk and even Monopoly – but there’s a whole generation of new boardgames out there – awesome games you’ve never heard of: http://boardgamegeek.com
Start with Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride.
Lego is always awesome. Who doesn’t want to find the Death Star under the tree (http://shop.lego.com/en-CA/Death-Star-10188)? On a smaller budget, this one’s a fun build: http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Creator-Street-Rebel-7291/dp/B005VPREI0/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1348064631&sr=1-1&keywords=lego+creator+motorcycle
Trains are classic, of course. Wooden Thomas sets are just flat-out awesome, or go electric with a model train set. I dig N scale or even T: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_transport_modelling_scales
Of course, if price is no object, this might be an attractive option: http://www.trainsofamerica.com/rail.html
Science presents are cool. A six- or eight-inch Dobsonian reflector will let you view the moons of Jupiter.
Or you could go upscale, and install a home observatory: http://datscope.wikispaces.com/20+inch+Telescope+and+Observatory
Steam engines are another cool science toy - http://www.mamod.co.uk/product-category/stationary-model-steam-engines - but don’t let the toddlers loose on them, or social services may be paying you a visit.
Speaking of retro, what about the classic Hot Wheels? Dinky cars remain one of the best toy values out there, and some of the track sets they’ve brought out are awesome: http://can.hotwheels.com/toys/product.aspx?name=mega-loop-mayhem
If you’re gonna go hi-tech, skip the Kobo (fake books suck) and step right up to a real, live robot. This one is really awesome, especially with the optional grenade launcher: http://www.robotshop.com/superdroid-hd2-swat-eod-tracked-robot.html
And I like this one because you can imagine it going berserk: http://www.robotshop.com/kumotek-vision-4g-advanced-humanoid-robot-3.html
Maybe this is a more reasonable option, though. You could call it R2D2: http://www.robotshop.com/white-box-robotics-extreme-914-pc-bot-6.html