Timeless toys can run the gamut from baby boomer favorites to games children played with a century and more ago. Make room under your tree for gifts that don’t take a whole lot of tech savvy to enjoy, and are sure to spark the imagination.
The Radio Flyer Little Red Wagon – first available to kids in 1930, was created by Antonio Pasin. With its full sized all steel body to prevent any scrapes, those big black tires, white wheels, and extra long black handle, this wagon ought to be in every child’s collection of classic toys.
The Flexible Flyer Sled – the ultimate in downhill racing, in the snow, that is. Natural wood with that bright arrow down the center, and those sleek swift moving runners, all add up to a childhood’s worth of winter thrills. Samuel Leeds Allen patented the Flexible Flyer in 1889.
Building Blocks – you may go for the Lego or Duplo brands – both of which are great for kids and their parents. But you might want to look for those wonderful all wood blocks with the arches, triangles and other pieces to let the kids be junior Frank Lloyd Wrights. Or for the little ones, start out with the wonderful colorful A B C blocks. Who knows what future landmarks your child will first envision with a set of blocks. P. S. Lincoln Logs, created by John Lloyd Wright, fit into this category, too.
Classic Board Games – from first games like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, to Monopoly, Risk and Trivial Pursuit. There are literally hundreds of games to choose from, and sure to be a game just right for your child. Don’t forget those highly recommended, long-lived classics: Scrabble, Checkers, Parcheesi and Chinese Checkers.
Tap Tap Nagelspiel – by Lorenz, it’s one of those toys that if you had it or if your kids had it, you will put high on the list. It consists of a heavy duty corkboard, various primarily color shapes and a little tap-tap hammer and “nails” to create 3-D designs and pictures.
A Book – or better yet, many books. Go for the classics old and new, from the A. A. Milne “Pooh” books to Dr. Seuss, to anything by Madeline L ‘Engle for older readers. If play is childhood’s work and the result of play is to nurture the heart and mind, what better way than in a book that opens up a whole world of discovery and imagination.
Wooden Puzzles – include the ones for the tiniest of hands that have little handles for each puzzle pieces, to complicated masterpieces for the older puzzle solver.
Crayola Crayons – the world of color introduced by Binney and Smith in 1903, offers children of all ages the chance to be a Rembrandt or Picasso without the mess of paint. There are extra think crayons for little ones and then there is the eye-popping big box of 96 colors with built in sharpener. Full disclosure, your humble servant entered the contest-winning name “Wisteria” back when they introduced that color. (Someone else did too, first; so we did not win the big prize trip, but we did win a tin of crayons!).
Big Wheels, Trike or Bike – depending on the age of your child, they need wheels as much as you do, to make the world their backyard. Just plan ahead so that you have them assembled before the last moment. Skates and skateboards also fall in to the personal vehicle category, and no kid should be without several of these options for exploring their corner of the nation.