While you get to see all the hot toy lists every year we have done something different and much more helpful. We have gone through each one of our holiday gift lists and picked out the toys that got played with the most. That means even if it was a hot toy, but didn’t get played with, it didn’t make our list. Same goes for some toys you might not have heard about either. Best part is that since these aren’t on this years hot toy list, you may be able to find them out in the store without too much effort and for a good price.
Now on to the bad thing, some of these products are no longer made. You may be able to find them, but don’t hold your breath. There may be something similar this year though so you may want to look at that, and as everything else, kids tastes change from year to year. Sometimes products are just ahead of their time, don’t have the best launch budget, as well as other issues, but we can say for certain they got played with a lot.
The other thing to note is there are a lot of good products from some smaller companies and you will see multiple products from companies on this list, especially games. The shock and awe of the hot new products are great and very worthwhile to see the kids play with a toy that they really wanted and have seen in commercials. There is nothing wrong with that and some of the best smiles have come from those toys during the holidays. These are just toys that have held up to the test of time in terms of playability for us.
Note: Anything with an asterisk next to it * comes highly recommended as the top of this top of list.
6 and 4 Year Old Boys – 2009
Labyrinth Game (wooden) – This is the wooden game, not the board game, and this still gets some play in our house now as it is truly a dexterity play. They had fun with it at this age, just make sure you know that the ball is a choking hazard with the little ones. It is also something that looks nice when it is on your table and many adults will play with this one as well
Think Fun Rush Hour Jr. – Our kids first logic game and it really got them excited to figure things out in a logical way. We consider this a must buy toy to help your kids.
Feed The Kitty by Gamewright * – So many funny stories with this game, our special sized mouse, lining the mice up in different formations while we play, all sorts of things. This game still get played with today as our kids are almost 14, 12, and 7. This is a dice game that is luck based, but a lot of fun.
7 and 5 Year Old Boys – 2010
LEGO Minotaurus Game – This may have been the first game we played with a bit of strategy and planning to it. The other part that we found fun was that you could sort of team up a bit.
Model T Rotary Rock Tumbler – We have found so many rocks we have tumbled this has been a great product. The other good part is that it taught the kids a bit of patience.
8 and 6 Year Old Boys – 2011
Jukem Football Card Game – One of our favorite finds at Toy Fair that the kids really enjoy playing. It is like a football game, in card form, but fun and easy.
HEXBUG Nano Racetrack Habitat * – This HEXBUG Racetrack got a work out from each and every child of ours, they just loved it. Something about racing just resonates with the kids and our daughter even had to get her own pink HEXBUG to race with. They got years of play out of it, and if I could find it after the move, they would probably play with it today.
Selk’bag – We got in on the wearable sleeping bag when they first came out and boys had a blast with them. Probably not all approved uses, but they slept in them, used them to scare each other, wore them as protection during Nerf Gun fights, and we believe had wrestling matches in them, but no one can prove that.
7 and 9 Year Old Boys – 2012
GOOOOOOAL SOCCER GAME (Wooden) – This is some sort of mix between a wooden pinball and soccer game, there are a few different names but should be easy enough to find. They kids loved this especially when we had a smaller house and had no room for bigger games. Again comes with choking hazard metal balls.
Bop It Smash * – This was picked up by kid and adult like for over a year as it sat out at our house. This is something that pre-dated the kids having phones but it was a twitch game that allowed you to try to gain the most points by being good and timing the smash.
8 and 10 Year Old Boys – 2013
Clubs by North Star Games – This is a fun card game, there aren’t enough of those around.
All Season Down Alternative Comforter * – We ended up getting the Amazon one, but anyone will do, the kids love them and use them all year 4 years later. It might not be the flashiest gift but the kids will end up loving it.
Anker Charger * – Anker makes the best chargers and we always need the smallest, most powerful, reliable ones for vacation.
Ping Pong table by Killerspin * – If we went by sheer hours spent with something on this list, the Ping Pong table by Killerspin would win hands down. Just played some games last night, the kids love it, it rolls away and folds up to take up very little room.
9 and 11 Year Old Boys – 2014
Monster Headphones – Monster was a great alternative for corded headphones at this age when we thought Beats Headphones would get broken or lost.
Crayola Sketch Wizard * – Again if we could give this multiple awards we would. This toy is fully responsible for my one sons love of drawing and helping out his technique.
10 and 12 Year Old Boys – 2015
My Social Book * – Turn your Facebook feed into a book…this doesn’t sound like a kids toy or product. Here is the thing, the kids LOVE this book. They look at it all the time, we have it from when the oldest was like 2 and it is so much fun. You have two options, make your Facebook feed just about family or go into the feed and unclick the posts you don’t want when you make the book. Great way to save memories and fun times.
Dragonwood A Game of Dice & Daring by Gamewright – A fantasy card/dice game that we all enjoy playing.
Sushi Go! by Gamewright * – This would be one of the top games of all time and we just love it. It is a card collection type game of the pick and pass variety. The artwork is great and the gameplay make a family favorite.
Ravensburger Labyrinth Game – One of those games that is fun because you can thwart the other players.
11 and 13 Year Old Boys – 2016
Dromida Rally Car – The kids first serious R/C Car of their own. It has speed, is durable, has great control and looks great.
Beats Wireless Headphones – Once we lost the headphone plug in our devices when we upgraded we went wireless and they were old enough to have Beats Headphones.
Nerf Rival Khaos MXVI-4000 Blaster * – The kids play this in our house all the time even though that is not the intended use. They bring their friends over and everyone plays in the house. This upped the game by being able to hold a lot more ammo without having to reload. A game changer in their Nerf Rival gaming. The Rival line also allows for more accurate ammo and is much easier to store as they do not get destroyed like the darts.
2 Year Old Girls – 2011
Step 2 Up & Down Roller Coaster – Our daughter had so much fun with her friends in the neighborhood once she got this. The fact that the “older” brothers all got on it as well was just a burden or a bonus, we aren’t sure.
3 Year Old Girls – 2012
NO PLACE LIKE PLAYHOME COTTAGE – Land of Nod – This is a very high quality canvas playhouse that was in my daughter’s room for years.
4 Year Old Girls – 2013
Zoomer by Spin Master – This to me was the first mass market robotic dog that was fun to play with and didn’t cost too much. While it has been outpaced by newer models of the same product, we feel that anything in the Zoomer product line is a worthwhile purchase.
Doc McStuffins Get Better Checkup Center Playset – There as a time that if you could not find our daughter, she would be by this playset. We felt like she was physically attached to the seat.
5 Year Old Girls – 2014
LEGO Disney Princess 41050 Ariel’s Amazing Treasures * – The year our daughter started to love LEGO and all the sets that they had. Previously she enjoyed Duplo from time to time, but this set made her fall in love with the regular sized LEGO sets.
Disney Doc McStuffins Talking Mobile Cart – See above…this cart made laps around the house for over a year.
Lum Lums by Imperial Toy – Truly a toy that did not have enough budget to really take off. From a smaller toy company and we thought it was pretty awesome. They light up when touching each other via little magnets. My daughter really had a good time playing with these.
6 Year Old Girls – 2015
VTech Flipsies – A toy that was just too far ahead of its time. VTech had these Flipsies which had a level of interaction that was just unheard of at the time. Our daughters friends would come over and be amazed. If she had 200,000 more friends this might have been a huge hit. You really had to see them work in person. The only good thing is that they took this technology and put it in some other of their products.
Kinetic Sand * – It really does not make a big mess, that is the best compliment you can give a product like this. Plus it just feels nice.
7 Year Old Girls – 2016
Magic Sketch * – A drawing product that hangs around the house and always works. Never need to find pen and paper with this, plus it is great to take on vacation. The other nice thing has been that it does seem to be very sturdy, it takes a lot of abuse and its keeps going. The fact that you can trace things with it as it is transparent is a win.
Num Noms Lipgloss Truck – We are not yet to the makeup phase (we won’t allow it) so the closest thing is lip gloss. The Num Noms Lipgloss Truck allows her to make her own lip gloss to wear and the fact that is from Num Noms makes it even more fun.
Pom Pom Wow Decoration Station * – One of the easiest and satisfying ways to custom decorate items. We can still sit our daughter down in from of this and she will play for hours.
Mermaid Pillow – It is still in her room and even the boys will play with it when they come to visit her room. It is very relaxing and it has held up extremely well.
Sleeping Queens by Gamewright – Another card game from Gamewright that is good for kids that love the artwork of all the different Queens in the deck. The player that wakes the most Queens wins. Everyone has their favorite Queen that they want to wake up.
So there you go, that is our best of best lists from all of the Holiday Gift Guides we have done over the years. If you need any more ideas, please check out our Holiday Gift Guide list over at BSCKids.