Monday, October 22, 2007

Classic Retro - Heirloom Kids Toys Still Popular At Christmas

Classic Retro - Heirloom Kids Toys Still Popular At Christmas
By Shannon Dean

Although merchants and advertisers would have us believe that kid's tech toys are king this Christmas, many parents, grandparents, and gift givers long for the simplicity of a low-tech Christmas featuring the classics that we remember from our own childhood - wagons, toy trains and transportation, simple building blocks, and high quality children's furniture that facilitates pretend play. Many adults want to give gifts that are made of high quality materials that will last, be loved for generations to come, and be passed down to the recipient's own kids.

Most classic, retro and heirloom quality children's gifts are made of wood or metal because both are high quality materials that lasts. Although more expensive than the plastic toys of today, metal and wooden toys are worth the investment because they hold their value and they don't break, fall apart or lose parts. Here are five classic toys that might fit the bill for folks seeking out nostalgic toys this Christmas:

1. Radio Flyer Classic Wagon: This is the classic red wagon that most of us remember from our childhood. It's flared edge is what stands it apart from competitors and makes it recognizable. (The design is trademarked). This item has been in production for over 30 years and is in the Parents Magazine Hall Of Fame. It retails for about $65. Considering it will be used for years, this price tag isn't a bad one.

2. Classic Wooden Train Set: Every child needs a classic wooden train set. Children love making trains go over the bridge and around the town while pretend-playing situations for the passengers. Most sets come with bridges, houses and people/figures to encourage pretend play. Prices vary depending on the number of pieces and accessories.

3. Classic Wooden Kitchen: You see these little kitchens in almost every preschool and nursery today, but unfortunately most are made of plastic that absorbs spills and debris and stains horribly. Look for a large, wooden kitchen with a removable sink (so it can be cleaned) Cabinet doors that open and provide storage for kitchen supplies or can function as a pretend oven is a huge plus. Wooden kitchens run about $150.

4. Classic Wooden Building Blocks: Wooden building blocks should be required in every playroom. Not only do they encourage mobility and fine motor skills, they are also wonderful for pretend play and role playing and the combinations and possibilities are endless. Blocks challenge children to make the visions in their mind a physical reality. This is important for both problem solving, troubleshooting and imagination. Basic wooden block sets start at about $30 and are priced based upon the number of blocks and how elaborate the set is. Some incorporate transportation or specialty buildings like castles or forts.

5. Classic Radio Flyer Bicycle: No matter how high tech our children become, they still love feeling the wind in their hair and the excitement of getting from here to there on a bicycle. This classic red, bike is the one you remember from your childhood and has the recognizable silver, steel bell as well as the stability training wheels. Retails for about $50.

Christmas and gift-giving occasions provide the perfect opportunity to share your childhood with the children you love. With just a little searching, you can find many suitable retro, classic toys to share with kids who live amongst ipods and gameboys.

S. Dean is a mother of two, researcher and freelance writer. Her "Best Kids Christmas Gift" website is

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