So you’ve brought home a great toy for your kids, but secretly, you can’t wait for them to go to sleep so you can take it for a spin. You know you’ve bought a great toy when you can’t wait for your little ones to go to sleep so you can try it out. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone. Besides, the best toys are the ones that appeal to everyone, not just children. Here are some great toys to buy for your kids that will help you teach them how to share.
This one is easy. Kids with Nintendo DS and 3DS consoles are everywhere. We see them in daycares and we see kids playing them on the morning public transit commute. Walking down the street, it seems like nearly every little pair of hands is busy mashing 3DS buttons. Nintendo handhelds are incredibly popular among kids, but there’s a lot for adults to like here as well. There’s an entire library of DS and 3DS games you’ll love just as much as your kids do. Pick up the games that are sure to be favorites with your kids, but don’t forget to add in a more mature game for yourself.
There are many excellent games that were released for the handheld console in 2012. New Super Mario Bros. 2 is an excellent addition to the 2D side-scrolling games in the franchise. Kid Icarus: Uprising is a modern take on a classic game that both you and your kids will enjoy. If you’re into old-school survival horror, Resident Evil: Revelations takes the series back to its roots, and if you’re looking for family friendly puzzles that can stump adults just as well, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will have you puzzling for hours.
Remote Control Cars
Remember the remote control cars you had as a kid? Well, these are just like those – except much, much better. Go ahead, pick up one of the recent stylish RC cars for your kid and try not to speed it around when they’re not using it. Good luck resisting the allure of the impressively responsive high speed racer. Better yet, pick up two and race against your kid’s car. Once your you and your kids get bitten by the RC bug, there will be no end to the wondrous gizmos whizzing around your house.
There’s a reason kids have been building LEGO sets for generations. You never grow out of the timeless urge to imagine and create, and the desire to build something with your own hands is a primal human instinct. Even if you don’t take to building like a duck to water, there’s nothing more liberating than letting your creativity run free. Giving your kids the tools to create a tiny world of their own or getting down on the floor with them to create something together will help them grow into creative and collaborative thinkers.
What kid doesn’t want to be a train conductor when they grow up? Model trains can be surprisingly fun, even for adults, as long as you sit back and let yourself enjoy the experience. Running a train set can be surprisingly calming, and there’s something magical and exciting about trains that’s difficult to capture or understand without having tried it. The barrier for entry isn’t as high as one might think, though more elaborate sets can definitely enhance your fun. Spice it up with some stories about local train hoppers, and you’ll have an even better time.
Model trains can be a great way to bring together the interests of both you and your children. Do you love Harry Potter? You can build a miniature Hogwarts Express with Lionel’s 0-27 model. Have kids that are into Thomas the Tank Engine? The Bachmann HO-scale model set can let them (or you) re-create the series in model train form. Half the fun lies within building the environmental set pieces for your trains, and while many people revel in making their own unique terrain, it’s a great bonus to be able to build Platform nine-and-three-quarters or Shining Time Station if you so desire.
Here’s an interesting thought: What do you do with all those children’s board games and a bottle of booze? The answer is obvious: put the kids to bed and throw a party! Get a group together around a Sorry! game, which, as it turns out, is surprisingly hard to win. Any fantasy or board game is even better with good drinks and good grown-up company. Make a night of it by adding arbitrary rules to Connect Four Hangman, Battleship, Operation or Guess Who and your favorite adult beverage. The more things you have to try and remember in your game, or the more dexterity required, the better it gets.
Many people have been snatching up these puzzle games for their kids. Here’s the secret, though: they’re just as addicting for you as they are for the younger crowd. These puzzle globes are incredibly hard to put down, and you’ll often find yourself fighting over control of them, just to try it one-more-time. There are currently four different versions of Perplexus, each one increasingly more difficult than the last, but they all have you and your kids trying to get the marble through the maze of challenges. Perplexus Rookie is great for your kids to start on, while Perplexus Epic will keep even the most hardened puzzle enthusiast stuck on its 125 near-impossible barriers.
This last one is a personal favorite idea of mine. Power Wheels are awesome. Why don’t they make these for adults? I’d drive mine around everywhere, shrugging off disapproving glances from other adults as I went. Heck, I’m tempted at times to drive one around now, even if it is too small for me. I’d just put my knees up and look incredible while doing it. If power wheels become an obsession for you, there are online communities of power wheels enthusiasts who specialize in modifying them for adults to play with. Some tutorials and forum discussions can be found at http://www.modifiedpowerwheels.com/.