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Versatile Family Toys

I have to admit to having way more fun shopping for an anonymous family than I’ve ever had in shopping for my kids. Part of what I’m doing with this campaign is picking out toys for a displaced family due to Hurricane Sandy and giving their children something to keep them busy with while they are dealing with picking up the pieces (literally) of their lives.

When I started this shopping journey, I thought a lot about the ages of their children and what they’d be interested in getting that they could possibly use for a Christmas or Hannukah toy. Maybe their children don’t have anything to play with right now and this would just be a nice distraction. Either way, I’ve been thinking about the long-term play life of the toys and mostly about the kids. For this shopping trip, it was all about what the parents could possibly play with, too.

My children loved Bop-It! when they were younger. It was one of the toys that lasted in our house long after the recommended age on the box. When my daughter left it out on the couch, I’d pick it up and play with it. When my sons were fighting over it I would take it away from them and have a go at it myself. Friends that came over to visit ended up making a tournament out of who could play it the longest. We played with our Bop-It! until I took it away one day (from all the bickering) and then forgot where I placed it. A total of 4 years passed until I found it again and then my children acted like they just got a new toy because they hadn’t seen it in so long.

Pro-tip for parents: keep two sets of toy boxes for your children. One stays out and they can play all they want. In about 6 months, trade it out for the other box of toys. Your children will think they’ve gotten new stuff and gained a new appreciation for the toys that have been “hidden” for a while. I happened upon this genius bit of parenting by accident when I took a whole box of toys away. Still, highly recommended for young children.

Pro-tip for parents during the holidays: before your holiday celebration, be it Christmas or Kwanzaa or Hannukah, take a few toys from the kids’ toy box (while they’re not looking, of course) and hide them in the attic or garage. When the big holiday comes the kids will be surprised by their new toys and distracted enough to forget about the toys that are missing. This is a good time to try this little trick.

Bop-It! Smash is the newest version of the Bop-It! game. It’s got a sleeker design than the older version (yay for upgrades!) and even has new sound effects. It features 3 game modes: solo, pass it and a multiplayer mode.

Solo mode – play by yourself, smashing the lights as they appear slowly at first, then faster with every round.

Pass it play – pass the toy between 2 to 6 players. (Great for dinner parties! I’m not even kidding.)

Multiplayer mode –  challenge others to put their skills up against your own.

Mason went with me on this shopping trip and made the suggesting for Bop-It! Smash because he remembers playing with his as a kid. He’s almost 21 now and stood in the aisle at Target for a good 20 minutes playing with their display model. See what I mean? This is a versatile toy for the whole family especially if you have teenage and almost-21 year old boys who have so much fun with it that you have to buy another one. It’s also pretty cheap for under $20 and makes a fantastic stocking stuffer. It’s the perfect size and you can take it out of the package and put it right in there.

So far, we’re really happy with all of our Target toy purchases and keep finding new ways to think about buying them for a family. We also have a Bop-It! Smash that will be in the family stocking this year. Because we really couldn’t resist.

Do you know a deserving family, school, or charity this holiday season? We’re giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target, including those mentioned in this post! To nominate, simply comment and tell us why you’ve selected them! 

A special thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

Read more from Kelly at her personal blog, Mocha Momma

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